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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (October 7, 2007)
 


Using Story Quotes in a Short Paragraph

My English 12 students are currently studying the Dorothy Canfield Fisher short story, "The Heyday of the Blood." During their study students are learning to use short quotes to help them make a point about a literary term (plot, theme etc.)

Here's a demonstration paragraph written to illustrate how quotes can be used to make your points in a way that help a reader to understand your ideas. The paragraph is based on questions about theme taken from a guide to literary terms.

If people are good-What good do they do? If people are flawed, how and to what extent are they flawed?

Learning from the Madcap

In Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s “Heyday of the Blood,” characters are presented as flawed to some extent, but the good outweighs their flaws. Flaws are most evident in Gran’ther Pendleton, portrayed as a “rebellious, unreasonable, whimsical old madcap,” seemingly unafraid of danger, even if it results in conflicts with Professor Mallory’s “anxious, dutiful father.” Despite being “naughty,” the old man has a positive effect on young Joey Mallory, teaching him to live life with a “whoop.” Clearly, Fisher intends to demonstrate that, in life, being careful may not always be the best; in fact, being incautious might be more fun!—99 words; first draft

See also a tip on writing about literature that includes student examples with teacher comments.

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