Note: This page has been put together using David McClean's revision notes on VCE English, with Victoria University.
Here is a guide for using quotations in your essays.
P A R T I : I N T R O D U C E
Never have your quote just 'floating' in your paragraph, you need to introduce it by setting up the context and the argument you are trying to create. e.g. For the text, From the Masque of the Red Death: The partygoers’ lack of social conscience is clear from their description as “a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court.”
P A R T I I : I N T E G R A T E
You don't need to quote the entire sentence. Pick only the relevant parts. e.g. Prince Prospero is positioned as the prince only for the rich; a “happy”, “dauntless” and “sagacious” prince who believed that “the external world would take care of itself.”
P A R T I I I : E X P L A I N
Do need merely reword a quote. Look behind the quote and ask yourself, 'what ideas or meanings do the words convey?'
What does it tell us about a character or event in this context?
How does the character change?
Is the author trying to comment on a bigger theme?
Can we contrast this evidence with other evidence from the text?
Can we extend this evidence by commenting on other evidence? It may be a recurring idea (a motif).
e.g The Masque of the Red Death is primarily a commentary on the follies of the wealthy. The Red Death is devastating the country, with thousands dying “by the half hour” but Prince Prospero’s vanity and selfishness in believing that he and his kind can be spared death while the poor suffer is clear in his thought that “the external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve or to think”. This reveals that it is a luxury of the wealthy to assume that death is not something they need worry about, for they have been blessed.