At The Heart Of Kellman’S Argument, He Attributes Three
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At the heart of Kellman’s argument, he attributes three responsibilities opening lines must undertake; the first being that it must be attention grabbing. All writers are taught or told this at one time or another. If the beginning of a text is not engaging, the reader will likely put it down. That is simple enough, but not quite adequate to give opening lines the power they hold. He states they must represent a corporation, which I interpret to mean they must embody the text as a unified whole. When applied to the opening of The Great Gatsby, this makes sense. Not only does the narrator, Nick Carraway, go against his father’s warnings of criticizing others, whenever describing other characters or situations, he only shows the world around…show more content… Examples of these texts which come to mind are most Shakespeare plays which set the stage for the audience to understand what they are about to see. Richardson then moves to Realism, in which stories are led by external narrators who attempt to tell the story without artistic language or omnipotent knowledge, a style which became popular in the late 19th century. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer employs this style with its no-nonsense beginning in which the title character is caught stealing jam by his aunt. He explains that modernist texts begin right in the middle of a seemingly nonchalant situation or activity. Jane Eyre starts this way with the statement “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day” (Brontë). Finally, Richardson discusses postmodernism, whose texts often begin paradoxically (Richardson, 3-5). The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon comes to mind, which begins with long sentences which occasionally double back on one another with conflicting information.
It is important to understand these types of opening lines when thinking about narrative beginnings because they are strategies still used by various writers today, and most likely well into the future. When studying these opening lines and how they work, a reader can get a sense of the rest of the beginning, and perhaps even the entire novel. Learning about opening lines is especially essential for writers so that they may understand