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Draft Your Conclusion

Include a Quotation

Quotations can help add authority to your argument or may present a nice summary of your paper. Use a quotation only if it directly relates to your paper’s thesis. A quotation cannot stand alone for a conclusion though. Quotations are typically used in conjunction with another technique, such as summary.

 

The quotation strategy can be a tough strategy to do effectively. Let’s look at an example from a paper about the role of conscience versus the perfect crime in Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”:

Ultimately, in the "Tell-Tale Heart" we discover the narrator’s crime was indeed perfect but his conscience resulted in his ruin. With every imagined beat of the victim’s heart, the narrator’s sanity slips further and further from him. He goes mad, and his story ends with his hysterical cry: “ ‘Villains!’ I shrieked, ‘dissemble no more! I admit the deed!-- tear up the planks!-- here, here!-- it is the beating of his hideous heart!’”

In the conclusion above, you can again see a combination of strategies. The first part of the conclusion summarizes the paper and reaffirms the thesis statement. Then, the paper ends dramatically with a quote from the main character—the narrator’s admission of guilt in his hysterical cry. In this case, the writer did not comment further about the paper, wanting the reader to leave the paper with the narrator’s shriek; however, many times you’ll want your words to end the paper. After all, it’s your paper, why turn it over to someone else at the end? You can find another example of the quotation technique in the final paragraph of this handout.

 

If you use a quotation, make sure that it does not introduce new information into your argument. If it does, it may be better to include the quote within the text of your paper where you have space to comment on its importance to your discussion.