Monday, May 27, 2024

Week #22 – Charlotte’s Web by EB White

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 #22 –  Charlotte’s Web by EB White

First published: October 15, 1952

Here's what the story is about: The story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. Wilbur is being fattened to be slaughtered by the farmer. Charlotte writes messages in her web praising Wilbur – Some Pig, Terrific, Radiant, and Humble – to persuade the farmer to let him live.

First line/paragraph:
"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast. 

"Out to the hoghouse," replied Mrs. Arable. "Some pigs were born last night."

This is another famous first line in literature. We have third person POV, the setting appears to be the kitchen of a farmhouse, and the main character appears to be a young girl who still lives at home and helps with chores [setting the table for breakfast]. We also have the first hint of conflict – Fern's father is going out to the hoghouse with an ax because some pigs were born during the night. Why would he need an ax unless he planned to kill one? And how would a young girl feel about that?

Does this first line/paragraph hook your attention? If you had never heard of this story, 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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