When you start any Literature essays, it is always a good idea to have a note pad handy. Notes are the difference between getting good grades and getting great grades. Every now and then, you are going to see snippets of texts that are important. A quick note here and there can add up to the subject opening up into a goldmine of good points and point scoring arguments.
Feel free to cite any portions of the books you read for your Literature essays. Just try to keep the quotes under five lines. If your quotes are five lines or longer, then possibly summarizing or paraphrasing the text will work a little better for you. Sometimes, if people quote too much in their Literature papers, it is seen as a sign that the writer is unable to put the various points into his or her own words. It may be an indication that the writer of the Literature essay /Book report does not really understand the text; even if the same writer has filled the rest of his or her Literature exam with fine and poignant points.
Why would your examiners think that a paper with long quotations shows a lack of understanding? Some people will argue that (if anything) a Book essay / Literature paper with lots of quotes shows that the writer has read the literature. This is a misunderstanding of a basic principal. The principal of proof. Every essay for an academic work should show that the written text is not conjecture. They should be able to show that the facts stated and the points drawn are all stemming from fact and not fiction. Writers can do this by adding quotes. This is not the only way it should be done though. A person is also supposed to reference their facts as they go along. Quoting/citation is a form of referencing, but there is little need to over rely on it.
If you have just pulled a bunch of figures from a research essay, you can simply state the numbers and then reference them. You can even write that you read the numbers in such and such a place, and then reference them as you make your analysis statement.
The people who are marking your work are well aware that you can pick up handy hints and tips on your text off the internet. They know that you are able to skim the text of your books, pick out a few quotes, match them to the tips and hints you found online and hand in the work. This is why an over reliance on citation will make you lose marks on your essay.
Even if you are trying to prove a point through the words of other people, you can simply say that they agree and then give the reference details of the speech they give where they agree with you. You do not need to add their speech into your text via citation/quoting. Just add a reference at the end of your argument sentence and that is all you need.