Friday, March 2, 2012

First Line Friday!

I'll be brief this week. Here is the first line:

"Hopping on a freight out of Los Angeles at high n0on one day in late September 1955 I got on a gondola and lay down with my duffel bag under my head and my knees crossed and contemplated the clouds as we rolled north to Santa Barbara."

It's a loose first line. It's long. Lacks punctuation. Free verse. Rolling and continuous. Is it effective? I vote yes, but would be interested in hearing others' perspectives. And . . . of course, this is the opening line to Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums.

**Mac’s two  cents **:
What a complete mess of a first line! I can’t decide if I like it or hate it. But good grief, let’s diagram this puppy just for kicks. (It's been twenty years since high school freshman English, so I’ll welcome any corrections from any English teachers out there…)

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  1. Post has been updated with my comments.

  2. It is a mess of a first line . . . but do you like it? It is effective? It is typical Kerouac. Very relaxed and free flowing. Make up your mind MacEvoy.

  3. Well, I'm a sucker for travel fiction. And since I love Hemingway and McCarthy, I can't say that Kerouac's "polysyndeton" bothers me either. So put me down as a fan of this opening. I would read on.

    Would I get sick of that style eventually? I dunno. I've never read Kerouac.