What is the MLA form to use quotes in this instance? Tom goes back to the camp and breaks the unhappy news to his Ma. It is now, that even though the Joad’s definition of family is changing to...

What is the MLA form to use quotes in this instance?

Tom goes back to the camp and breaks the unhappy news to his Ma. It is now, that even though the Joad’s definition of family is changing to include the migrant people, it is obvious that blood runs deep and losing a part of her most valued treasure, her family, is severely painful. “Family’s fallin’ apart,’ she said. ‘I don’t know. Seems like I can’t think no more. I jus’ can’t think. They’s too much.” (278).

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What has been stated above is correct about the period going on the outside of the parentheses only. If you have written she said as the words to introduce the quotation, these two words should stay in the sentence you have composed. For example, let us consider that you are describing Ma and how she has had to assume the role of matriarch because Pa has lost his position in the family. Ma worries that because of their dispossession, the dynamics of the family are crumbling. [Remember also to use the present tense when discussing literature] You write as follows:

She says, "Family's fallin' apart....I don't know. Seems like I can't think no more. I jus' can't think. They's too much" (278).

After looking up this quote, she said are the words that have been left out, so it is apparent that you have written she said as part of your own paragraph. Therefore, you should use the present tense, she says. Put a comma after says because it is a verb. Otherwise, use a colon when a quotation follows directly. e.g. The men joined together: "As they looked at one another, it was with hunger and intensity."

Also, you do not need the brackets [ ] around the ellipsis dots. Just put three dots for words left out. If the words left out end the sentence, use four.

aishukul | Student

The period should only go after the page number. There should be no period before the ending quotation mark. Also, since you want to say "she said" you can put it before the quote instead, and add [...] to show that you are going to talk about a different part of the quote.

She said, "Family's fallin' apart [...] I don't know. Seems like I can't think no more. I jus’ can’t think. They’s too much” (278). 

Hope this helps!

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The Grapes of Wrath

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