First Lines offer First Impressions

July 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Listing through Life

The first lines of books are profound.  Either they provide a foreshadow of the events to ensue, a poignant statement to digest, a comedic crack to grab attention, or a startling statistic or fact to open with.  Go ahead . . . open to the first pages of some of the books you own and you’ll see.  Even the non-fiction reads seem to offer a fun first line.  Here are just a few examples. . . do you have some?

A Few First Lines in Literature

~ “It was a pleasure to burn.”  Fahrenheit 451

~ “If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.Catcher in the Rye

~ “The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship.Stiff

~ “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

~ “I felt like I was trapped in one of those terrifying nightmares, the one where you have to run, run till your lungs burst, but you can’t make your body move fast enough.New Moon

~ “It’s hard to be left behind.” The Time Traveler’s Wife (I can hardly wait until the movie adaptation comes out!!!)

~ “A man’s alter ego is nothing more than his favorite image of himself.” Catch Me if You Can

You get the idea . . . I could go on and on.  Each line is so characteristic of each book’s particular theme.  Each line grabs our attention.  Each line makes us think.

In the book I am currently reading, Jodi Picoult’s Handle with Care, not only is the first line compelling  but the first paragraph carries through the plot’s theme in a poetic way.  Here is GG’s mix of Picoult’s opening words from her book:

Things break all the time.

Glass and dishes and fingernails.

You can break a record, a contract, a dollar.

You can even break the ice.

There are coffee breaks and lunch breaks.

Day breaks, waves break, voices break.

Silence and fever breaks.

Chains can be broken.

Relationships break.

Promises break.

Hearts break.

Things break all the time.

Yes, things do break but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all.  When something breaks, we pick up the pieces and create something new! Period.  Looking back at what I typed, I see an ice cream sundae formed by the layout of the words.  Clever that it turned out that way.  See the good in all things.

Stay tuned for a future post in which GG reviews Handle with Care.

  • Winsor Pilates

Comments

2 Responses to “First Lines offer First Impressions”
  1. dmarkette says:

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….

    it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

    • GradingGirl says:

      Ah yes, A Tale of Two Cities . . . one of the most famous first lines of all. We can apply it to today as much as Dickens was able to apply it to the 19th century. It’s so true. Thank you, dmarkette, for adding this. So profound!

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