Give an example of a humorous introduction in any literary text.

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The use of a humorous opening is very important when the author is trying to gain the attention of the reader. Given that many readers decide if the text is worth reading within the first few pages of a piece, an author can use humor to capture the reader. Examples of humorous first lines in texts are as follows.

1. "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." (Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy)

- This is humorous based upon the fact that it speaks so honestly about families.

2. "If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth." 
(The Catcher in the Rye by J. D.Salinger)

-This opening contains humor based upon the fact that Holden is telling his story, but does not wish to go into it.

3. "It was the day my grandmother exploded." (The Crow Road by Iain M. Banks)

- The imagery of a grandmother exploding, while morbid, is funny.

4. "Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered she had turned into the wrong person." (Back When We Were Grownups by Anne Tyler)

-This opening can be found humorous based upon the fairytale-like opening.

5. "Most really pretty girls have pretty ugly feet, and so does Mindy Metalman, Lenore notices, all of a sudden." (The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace) -Here, the "fact" that pretty girls have ugly feet is quite hilarious. 6. "Granted: I am an inmate of a mental hospital." (The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass) -This opening forces the reader to see the humor in the story about to be told given it is being told by a mental patient.