Monday, May 13, 2024

Week 20 – Animal Farm by George Orwell

Last year on Mondays we had fun with books. This year, we'll look at most of the same books but also some new ones, and see if the first line [or first paragraph] met the goal of a first line which is ==> to hook the reader's attention.

Here are some tips on writing a first line

Week 20 – Animal Farm by George Orwell

First published: August 17, 1945

Here's what the story is about: A political satire and allegory of communism, a group of farm animals rebel against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals are equal, free, and happy. The rebellion is betrayed, and under the dictatorship of a pig named Napoleon the farm ends up worse than it was before.

First line/paragraph:
Mr. Jones, of the Manor Farm, had locked the hen-houses for the night, but was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes. With the ring of light from his lantern dancing from side to side, he lurched across the yard, kicked off his boots at the back door, drew himself a last glass of beer from the barrel in the scullery, and made his way up to bed, where Mrs. Jones was already snoring.

This story starts in what appears to be omniscient POV. We are introduced to a farmer, married, a bit of a drunkard and actually drunk at this time. He may or may not be the main character, because the next paragraph introduces us to animals who are gathering to hear a story from Old Major, a 12yo pig. The setting is a farm, in the evening. The plot is underway with the farmer drunkenly locking up for the night. This is somewhat amusing to me because we are advised not to start with someone waking up, and here is a story where we are starting with someone going to bed.

Does this first line/paragraph hook your attention? If you had never heard of this tory, would you buy this book in 2024? Knowing the story, would you change the first line? Tell us in the comments!

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