MAKING A QUOTE SANDWICH
--M. Harutunian, College of the Canyons


Probably not the most appetizing dish ever created, the quote sandwich nevertheless serves a very useful purpose: It helps tie evidence to the main point or thesis. The quote sandwich begins with a very basic ingredient--and introduction:
 
The introduction is like the top layer of a sandwich; it helps to organize the whole mess. In the introduction to a quote, the writer provides some context and background for the quote. Here is an example:

In discussing the role of movies in shaping the American public's view of the Vietnam War, H. Bruce Franklin makes this telling statement:

Notice that the introduction to this quote gives the reader quite a bit of information. It tells who the quote is by and what its context is.

Once the quote has been introduced, it's time to give the actual quote itself. An important point to remember when quoting is that the quotation marks need to be nearly ignored for punctuation purposes. Read your sentences without the quotation marks. If they don't need punctuation, they will not need them with the quotation marks. Let's see the actual quote now:

In discussing the role of movies in shaping the American public's view of the Vietnam War, H. Bruce Franklin makes this telling statement: "The manipulation of familiar images [about the war]... was blatant, though most critics at the time seemed oblivious to it" (Franklin 860).

In this case the quote is set off by a colon. If it were not, the quote would not begin with a capital letter. Also, note the use of the brackets part way through the quote. The brackets announce either an addition or a change in the quoted material. Here they've been used to clarify the images. Finally, note the use of ellipses (...) to mark deleted materials.

Once the quote is completed, its significance must be explained. Let us say that our main point for this essay was that the media created the public's perception of America's wars. Having given the quote, we would now explain how the quote supports the point:

In discussing the role of movies in shaping the American public's view of the Vietnam War, H. Bruce Franklin makes this telling statement: "The manipulation of familiar images [about the war]... was blatant, though most critics at the time seemed oblivious to it." The manipulation of these images created an image in the minds of most Americans, who now pictured helicopters, the music of Wagner and the Doors, and Russian roulette as substitutes for the reality of the war. The media created a different Vietnam in the minds of Americans.

Note that the explanation for the quote ties it specifically to the unifying element for the essay--the media creates the public's perception of America's wars.

There you have it; one bona fide all-American quote sandwich:

In discussing the role of movies in shaping the American public's view of the Vietnam War, H. Bruce Franklin makes this telling statement: "The manipulation of familiar images [about the war]... was blatant, though most critics at the time seemed oblivious to it." The manipulation of these images created an image in the minds of most Americans, who now pictured helicopters, the music of Wagner and the Doors, and Russian roulette as substitutes for the reality of the war. The media created a different Vietnam in the minds of Americans.

Bon Apetit!