Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Opening Paragraphs

An opening paragraph is something that should draw you in, make you want to read more and at the same time set the tone for what is to follow. Some opening paragraphs have become as famous as the novels themselves. 

The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway: 

Opening paragraph:
He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish. In the first forty days a boy had been with him. But after forty days without a fish the boy’s parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky, and the boy had gone at their orders in another boat which caught three good fish the first week. It made the boy sad to see the old man come in each day with his skiff empty and he always went down to help him carry either the coiled lines or the gaff and harpoon and the sail that was furled around the mast. The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat. 
The Old Man and the Sea is a novel that was written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Cuba and published in 1952. It was the last major work by Hemingway that was published in his lifetime. One of his most famous works, it centres upon Santiago, an aging fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. The Old Man and the Sea was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and was cited by the Nobel Committee as contributing to the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Hemingway in 1954. 

The novel has numerous themes:  honour in struggle, courage in the face of defeat, personal triumph won from loss, respect and honour for the fish that he is seeking to kill.

Ernest Hemingway and Henry ("Mike") Strater with the remaining 225 kilos/500 lbs of an estimated 450 kilos/1000 lb marlin that was half-eaten by sharks before it could be landed in the Bahamas in 1935.

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