5 Best Opening Lines in Literature

5.) “It was a pleasure to burn.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

-Simple is the best word I can think to describe this. My favorite part about this quote is that it’s a paragraph all on it’s own. One simple sentence that says a thousand words about the protagonist. For him, it’s an enjoyment to be destructive. And this one line will play an intricate and pivotal role in the story.

451

4.) “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” – J.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

– This line tells you that you’re in for a classic fairytale, but with a twist. It’s something original, but still familiar. A typical “once upon a time” opening, but not the one you’re expecting.

hobbit

3.) “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” _ George Orwell, 1984

– The mention of a thirteenth hour makes this line stand out. Also, for some reason I can picture a bright cold day in April so well. There is something so ominous about this picture. It made me want to dive further into the story’s world in a matter of seconds.

1984

2.) “One summer afternoon Mrs. Oedipa Maas came home from a Tupperware party whose hostess had put perhaps too much kirsch in the fondue to find that she, Oedipa, had been named executor, or she supposed executrix, of the estate of one Pierce Inverarity, a California real estate mogul who had once lost two million dollars in his spare time but still had assets numerous and tangled enough to make the job of sorting it all out more than honorary.”

– Thomas Pynchon, The Crying of Lot 49

I love this quote because it tells you so much and yet nothing at all. It gives the reader a good sample of Pynchon’s writing style and a quick slice of Oedipa’s life. I remember reading this for the first time and thinking, “okay, this is going to be fun.”

crying of lot 49

1.) “When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.” – S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders

– As you may have guessed, this is my absolute favorite opening line. I first read this book when I was in 7th grade and I still quote it. It’s hard to explain exactly why I love this one line the most. I guess it always felt real to me. I believed this character. He seemed like a person I would/have met. And the wording is specific enough to stand out without being overly artistic or striving to say something. It simply is. I adore it.

outsiders

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3 thoughts on “5 Best Opening Lines in Literature

    1. Thank you! It’s a great book, there’s a movie of it to that was made in 1966 which is, well, interesting? haha But worth a watch.

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