Using Excerpts from Sources in Your Writing

1) Introduce the excerpt so that it flows from a sentence of your own.

2) Include the actual excerpt with a proper MLA citation.

3) Explain how/why details in the excerpt support your analysis.



The following documents provide examples and further explanations of including and synthesizing excerpts.








Here's an exemplary example of synthesis from a literary analysis paper:

The last leg of Foer’s commentary on grief regards the healing process that should ideally be strived toward in the face of loss; he shows us he tunnel that the grieving can use to escape from their six-feet-deep prison back into the world of the living. At the outset of his quest to find a lock that fits his key, Oskar comes across an old man named Mr. Black. The purpose that Mr. Black fills is, true to the color of his name, as an allegory for the blackness of loss and the healing process that comes afterward. The initial depiction of Mr. Black paints this in the reader’s mind straight away,” He was kind of weird-looking, because he had on a red beret, like a French person, and an eye patch, like a pirate.”(Foer 152) the purpose for the inclusion of the red beret in the old man’s depiction is to draw a parallel with Oskar, who studied the French language. The eye patch is another parallel, but it hints at the grandfather in the story rather than Oskar. When regaling Oskar with the story of how he had lost his eye, Mr. Black says,” We were ambushed one afternoon, toward the end of ’44! I bled my eye all over the page I was writing on, but those sons of bitches couldn’t stop me! I finished my sentence!”(Foer 153). The ambush that took his eye away from him is reminiscent of the loss of a fiancé that the grandfather underwent in that, when the grandfather’s heart bled all over the pages in his daybook, but he still couldn’t stop writing. The parallels to other characters in Mr. Black’s physicality serve to link both the individual grief processes of the grandfather and the grandson, but also to universalize the commentary that Mr. Black makes on the process as a whole.


The last leg of Foer’s commentary on grief regards the healing process that should ideally be strived toward in the face of loss; he shows us he tunnel that the grieving can use to escape from their six-feet-deep prison back into the world of the living. At the outset of his quest to find a lock that fits his key, Oskar comes across an old man named Mr. Black. The purpose that Mr. Black fills is, true to the color of his name, as an allegory for the blackness of loss and the healing process that comes afterward. The initial depiction of Mr. Black paints this in the reader’s mind straight away,” He was kind of weird-looking, because he had on a red beret, like a French person, and an eye patch, like a pirate.”(Foer 152) the purpose for the inclusion of the red beret in the old man’s depiction is to draw a parallel with Oskar, who studied the French language. The eye patch is another parallel, but it hints at the grandfather in the story rather than Oskar. When regaling Oskar with the story of how he had lost his eye, Mr. Black says,” We were ambushed one afternoon, toward the end of ’44! I bled my eye all over the page I was writing on, but those sons of bitches couldn’t stop me! I finished my sentence!”(Foer 153). The ambush that took his eye away from him is reminiscent of the loss of a fiancé that the grandfather underwent in that, when the grandfather’s heart bled all over the pages in his daybook, but he still couldn’t stop writing. The parallels to other characters in Mr. Black’s physicality serve to link both the individual grief processes of the grandfather and the grandson, but also to universalize the commentary that Mr. Black makes on the process as a whole.