Quotation Development

My Brit Lit I students are writing their research papers, and I find them struggling with quotation development. They either choose evidence that doesn’t actually prove their claim, or they choose quotations that don’t actually merit further development.

So today I gave them a short quotation from Book II of Paradise Lost, a six line excerpt of the devil Mammon’s speech. Here’s what we came up with.

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Quotation Development

The Demonic Debate

When we cover Paradise Lost Book II, I like to focus on the hellish debate that begins the book. It gives us a chance to examine Milton’s rhetorical skill and his gift of characterization. I assign four groups one devil apiece, ask them to defend their devil’s cause and come up with the weaknesses of the other three (note: Milton already has Belial, Mammon, and Beelzebub do that). We then follow up our informal debate with an exploration of how Milton shows each debater corrupting a cardinal virtue. We save the Sin/Death/Satan triad for the next class when we discuss the council in heaven.

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The Demonic Debate