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Understanding Quotes (Quote Analysis) (chapters 1-5)


An author can describe important events in a story by telling you about them: Griffin and Ben
sat cross-legged on their sleeping bags in what had once been an elegant living room (p.2).
This type of telling is called ___________________________________.

But sometimes what a character says (and how he says it) is just as important as what
happens. It can give us clues about that character’s identity, or it can hint at what has
happened in the past or what will happen in the future.
When characters talk to each other in a story it is called ______________________________. A
single line is usually called a _______________________________.

You can learn a lot from a quote by explaining it in four parts using a "quote analysis:"
1. Write the quote and the page on which it appears. Put it in quotation marks.
2. Explain who said those words, and to whom they were speaking.
3. Paraphrase the quote. That means put it in different words that mean the same thing.
(Don't use quotation marks because quotation marks would mean that you are writing
exactly the words that were said).
4. Explain what this quote tells you about this character or the plot of the story. What kind
of person would say these things? What traits are revealed? Why would they say it?
What would they have to know, or be thinking about, to say it?

Example from Swindle:


Quote: “Sometimes you have to prove to yourself that you’re more than just a slab of meat
under the shrink-wrap in your grocer’s freezer.” (p. 19)
Characters: Griffin says this to Ben at the sleepover.
Paraphrase: You have to prove to yourself that you matter by standing up for what’s right.
What does it tell you? Griffin feels that adults do not take kids seriously, and they ignore what
kids have to say. Kids need to put their words into action to prove that they’re serious.

Analyze this quote from Palomino: "A word to the wise: The world is a big fat scary place filled
with people who’ll chew you up and spit you out if you give them half a chance. Consider this
your first life lesson." (p. 38)
Characters: _____________________________________________________________
Paraphrase: ____________________________________________________________
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What does it tell you? ___________________________________________________

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