Using quotes from the text is an important way to support your ideas. In most papers, I would expect at least 3-4 really strong quotations used to prove your topic. The important word in the last sentence is “prove.” You do NOT use quotations to establish facts from the story. You use quotations to PROVE something.
For example – I don’t need a quotation from the book to tell me that Tom Robinson is found guilty. I have read To Kill a Mockingbird and I know that he is found guilty. Be sure you are using quotations not to pad your paper, but to strengthen it.
There are a few different ways to integrate quotations from the text into your writing. Without them, it simply looks like you are just talking off the top of your head.
DON’T FORGET THE THREE “I’s” WHEN INTEGRATING QUOTES: Introduce, Integrate, and Interpret. You start by setting up (introducing) the quote (In the early part of the novel, Joe says…); next, you integrate the quote by setting it off using a colon or a comma (see below for examples); finally, you interpret the quote (When Joe says this, what he is really indicating is…). NEVER LET A QUOTE “SPEAK FOR ITSELF.” Notice, “interpret” does not necessarily mean “restate” or “repeat”; “interpret” means to explain the significance of the quote in regards to your paper. Also notice that you want to avoid using phrases like “This quotes shows” or “In the previous quote.” The exception to the three “I” rule: a hook does not need to be introduced, and a final thought does not need to be interpreted.
Here are some examples:
Scout is constantly complaining about being left behind by Jem and Dill. Never is this more evident than when Jem and Dill are sneaking out to see Boo Radley and she says, “You never let me go anywhere. If you don’t let me go this time I’m gonna tell Atticus on the both of you.” She says this to Jem intending to get him to bring her along.
-Colons can also used to set off quotes. ...