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Famous First Lines

Famous First Lines

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  • Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, General Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
  • The day I became a genius I locked the keys in the car with the motor running. - Bonnie Marson, Sleeping with Schubert
  • My suffering left me sad and gloomy. - Yann Martel, Life of Pi
  • On the night it happened--July 5--the sun didn't set until 8:33. - Lee Martin, The Bright Forever
  • I have never begun a novel with more misgiving. If I call it a novel it is only because I don't know what else to call it. I have little story to tell and I end neither with a death nor a marriage. - William Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge
  • One evening about eight months ago I met with some college comrades at the lodgings of our friend Louis R. We drank punch and smoked, talked of literature and art, and made jokes like any other company of young men. Suddenly the door flew open, and one who had been my friend since boyhood burst in like a hurricane. - Guy de Maupassant, The Flayed Hand
  • You want to talk about my family and here I been dead to them for fifty years. Leave me alone. Don't bother me. They want no parts of me and me I don't want no parts of them. Hurry up and get this interview over with. I want to watch Dallas. - James McBride, The Color of Water
  • They stood in the doorway and stomped the rain from their boots and swung their hats and wiped the water from their faces. Out in the street the rain slashed through the standing water driving the gaudy red and green colors of the neon signs to wander and seethe and rain danced on the steel tops of the cars parked along the curb. - Cormac McCarthy, Cities of the Plain [1998]
  • Far out in the uncharted backwaters if the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun. - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
  • Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her. - Jane Austen, Emma
  • It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • It was a pleasure to burn. - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
  • Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or conversation?’ -Lewis Carrol, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • In a village of La Mancha the name of which I have no desire to recall, there lived not so long ago one of those gentlemen who always have a lance in the rack, an ancient buckler, a skinny nag, and a greyhound for the chase. -Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

About this Document

A list of famous first lines. Could be used as writing prompts.

Tags: Exercises & Activities, Grade 9, Literature, Teachers

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Famous First Lines Famous First Lines