In this class, we will be using MLA in-text citation for quotations and U.S. conventions of punctuation. This means that periods and commas are placed INSIDE quotation marks; all other punctuation marks are placed OUTSIDE. See the below examples and also the relevant sections in the MLA handbook, The Bedford Handbook, and the use of quotations in the sample papers on reserve.
The poem’s title, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” is actually an ironic commentary on Prufrock’s failure to develop any sustainable relationships and his own recognition of his failure to act: “I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker” (Eliot 596).
[The author’s name and the relevant page number go inside the parentheses--note that there is no comma between the author’s name and the page number and there is no use of ellipsis. Also, the period follows the closed parentheses.]
Eliot’s use of repetition, such as the refrain “In the room the women come and go/Talking of Michelangelo,” demonstrates both the passage of time and Prufrock’s ineffectiveness to make decisions or pursue his desires (594).
[When the author’s name appears within the sentence of the quotation, you only need to include the page number within the parentheses.]
Futility appears as a theme in many of Eliot’s poems, demonstrated by Prufrock’s constant rhetorical questions, “And should I then presume?/And how should I begin?” (“Prufrock” 595) and images of death: “In this decayed hole among the mountains/In the faint moonlight, the grass is singing/Over the tumbled graves” (“Wasteland” 609).
[If you do not refer to the specific poems within the body of your analysis, you will need to include them within the parentheses—you would also need to include the author’s name within the parentheses if his/her name does not appear within the sentence. Also, note that the titles, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” has been abbreviated to “Prufrock” and “The Wasteland” has been abbreviated to just “Wasteland.”
Unbeknownst to her, Mary’s assertion to her husband that “‘I am of no more use at home than you are’” reflects all too well on her ineffectual domestic abilities (Austen 58).
[If you are quoting speech or any other type of quoted material from a text, encase single-quotation marks within double-quotation marks.]
A similar social caste arrangement exists at Lovey’s middle school, where possessions define a popular clique of girls known as the Rays of the Rising Dawn:
They all have the same Japan pencils in Japan pencil cases. And the same bubble-
gum-smelling erasers. They all smell like Love’s Baby Soft . . . They all have
straight, long black hair with long bangs behind the ears. And all kinds of clogs,
not from Kinney’s but from Robins . . .tiny purses they carry and their pink plastic
folders . . . their glossy lips full of Kissing Smackers roll-on lipstick. And everyone of them with lilac eye shadow. (Yamanaka 190-191)