Your Argument Part Two: Integrating
meat and potatoes of your body paragraphs will be a mixture
of textual summary and your analysis of it.
you've done your close reading and structured your topic
sentence for a paragraph, go back and pull out the details
putting these details into your paper, it is absolutely
imperative that you balance each one with YOUR
analysis of their significance. It might help, at least
until you're used to the idea, to maintain a mental ratio:
three sentences of your interpretation for every one concrete
detail of the text.
The concrete detail - Paraphrase the gist of the
actual textual information as CONCISELY as
possible. It is important for your reader to understand
what you're talking about, but only as an illustration for
your own ideas.
The interpretation - Go back to the questions you've asked
yourself during the close reading. What answers have you
found that you can explain here? As always, remember that
good interpretation avoids both summary and opinion - your
arguments must be original but crafted from actual evidence.
Example: "Coleridge opens his poem
with an immediate statement of locale: ‘In Xanadu’. This
fable-like invocation makes the reader immediately conscious
of distance, as well as the mystical connotations of the
Orient in the context of Victorian imperialism. By choosing
a setting with such dual reverberations of reality and
fantasy, Coleridge creates a landscape parallel to his
view of the imagination - vast in breadth, yet potently
how very little textual detail was necessary to come
up with quite a bit of interpretation.
Keep an eye on the big picture -
As tempting as it is to fill space with any interesting
idea you come up with, do not put a single thought onto
the page that you cannot relate directly to the proving
of your topic sentence.
your paper must act as the impetus for an idea, not
merely a description of your sources, however subtle
that description might be.
Integrating quotes - Sometimes the textual
details you include will necessarily take the form of direct
quotation, particularly when analyzing language. It is always
best to do so as inconspicuously as possible. The quotes
should serve only to prove your ideas, not to supplant them.
Rather than using big block quotations, wherever possible
include only that which is specifically necessary to your
point, within the framework of your own sentence.
Bad Integration: Keats
describes the Grecian urn as follows: "Thou still
unravish'd bride of quietness; Thou foster child of silence
and slow time; Sylvan historian who canst express; The flowery
tale more sweetly than can rhyme.".
Good Integration: Keats
begins by personifying the urn in terms of human innocence,
as an "unravish'd bride" and a "foster
child of silence and slow time".