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The SQuEES Technique What is the SQuEES technique?

It's simply a mnemonic device to remember what goes where in a paragraph -- and why. It's probably not significantly different from how you were taught to write paragraphs before, but the acronym "SQuEES" makes it easier to remember. S = Topic Sentence This is the opening sentence of the paragraph and it states the main idea that your paragraph will be about. If you're writing a paragraph about a work of literature, it will include the author, the text, and the main point. Example: Shakespeare's Twelfth Night reveals a deeper message behind its bubbly comedy: that love may be far more blind than we think. Qu E= Quotations and Explanation Quotations (or paraphrases) are the heart of your paragraphs, but before and during your quotation, you have to give some explanation. What does this quote mean? (Restatement is a good idea!) Who's saying this quote? When does s/he say it and to whom? What's going on in the plot when this quotation occurs? Why does this character make this statement? Example: In the beginning of Poe's "The Cask of Amontiallado," the narrator introduces the main conflict of his life: his supposed friend Fortunato has apparently committed "a thousand injuries" against him. What the narrator means by "a thousand injuries" is not clear. Does he mean physical, mental, financial, or personal injuries? Does he literally mean a thousand of them? It's clear that the narrator believes he's been injured, but it's difficult for the readers to sympathize with him without fully knowing the extent to which he's been hurt. E= Elaboration Now that you've given a quote with context (the "explanation"), you have to elaborate on that quote -- why is this quote so important? What would an intelligent person not understand about it? If you haven't restated what the quote means already,

do that now, especially if it's difficult to understand. Let the reader in on what you're thinking and go into detail. Tell your reader what the quote has to do with the larger message of the story. Some techniques you can do for elaboration: Restate what the quote means and restate it again from a slightly different angle. Investigate the dictionary definitions of the words in the quote. Make a comparison to something familiar. Use a simile or metaphor. Discuss what the quote suggests or seems like or reminds you of. Tell what the statement reveals about the author's point. What was the author's reason for putting in this quotation? Elaboration needs to be about 50-60% of your paragraph and it needs to be many, many sentences long. Example: What's odd about this statement is that the narrator never specifies what even one of those "injuries" was, and it's not even clear that Fortunato has any idea he's offended the narrator at all. This statement about the "thousand injuries" suggests that the narrator may be one of those people who harbors a grudge and magnifies it far, far beyond any actual resemblance to reality, like the kind of person who remembers how a guy in a truck cut him off on Summerlin Parkway years after it occurred. Poe's reason in putting in this quotation was to pull the reader away from the narrator. Even though the narrator has suffered "injuries," we end up distrusting him, not feeling sympathetic to his claims. S = Conclusion Sentence In the conclusion sentence, you return to or restate your main idea. Don't use exactly the same words, but do hit the main idea and its key words.