You know when you just go around flipping through books, comparing the beginning line with the end line to see if they’re connected in some epic way?
I didn’t either until today. So this assignment proved interesting, because we were supposed to copy down the beginning and end lines of any ten novels. I found connections I never noticed before. And I did include more than one line in some cases for context, or just because I really liked more than just the last line hehe.
Here’s my 9th Sandbox assignment.
Rainbow Valley – L. M. Montgomery (Whoa, déjà vu…)
Beginning: “It was a clear, apple-green evening in May, and Four Winds Harbour was mirroring back the clouds of the golden West between its softly dark shores.”
End: “But Jem sprang up with a gay laugh. He stood up on a little hillock, tall and splendid, with his open brow and his fearless eyes. There were thousands like him all over the land of the maple. / ‘Let the Piper come and welcome,’ he cried, waving his hand. ‘I‘ll follow him gladly round and round the world.”
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Déjà vu times two.)
Beginning: “Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest.”
End: “Here, then, is a great mystery. For you who also love the little prince, and for me, nothing in the universe can be the same if somewhere, we do not know where, a sheep that we never saw has – yes or no? – eaten a rose… / Look up at the sky. Ask yourselves: Is it yes or no? Has the sheep eaten the flower? And you will see how everything changes… / And no grown-up will ever understand that this is a matter of so much importance!”
The Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
Beginning: “There was once a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself – not just sometimes, but always.”
End: “’Well, I would like to make another trip,’ he said, jumping to his feet; ‘but I really don’t know when I’ll have the time. There’s just so much to do right here.’”
John – John (God)
Not a novel, but it’s full of real-life stories, right?
Beginning: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
End: “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”
Peter and Wendy – J. M. Barrie
Beginning: “All children, except one, grow up.”
End: “As you look at Wendy you may see her hair becoming white, and her figure little again, for all this happened long ago. Jane is now a common grown-up, with a daughter called Margaret; and every spring-cleaning time, except when he forgets, Peter comes for Margaret and takes her to the Neverland, where she tells him stories about himself, to which he listens eagerly. When Margaret grows up she will have a daughter, who is to be Peter’s mother in turn; and thus it will go on, so long as children are gay and innocent and heartless.”
The Red Badge of Courage – Stephen Crane
Beginning: “The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.”
End: “Over the river a golden ray of sun came through the hosts of leaden rain clouds.”
This Present Darkness – Frank E. Peretti
Beginning: “Late on a full-mooned Sunday night, the two figures in work clothes appeared on Highway 27, just outside the small college town of Ashton.”
End: “With a burst of brilliant wings and three trails of sparkling fire, the warriors shot into the sky, heading southward, becoming smaller and smaller until finally they were gone, leaving the now peaceful town of Ashton in very capable hands.”
The Shakespeare Stealer – Gary Blackwood
Beginning: “I never knew my mother or my father.”
End: “For every ken and wis and aye I had dropped from my vocabulary, I had picked up a dozen new and useful terms. Some were fencing terms, some were peculiar to London, some were the jargon of the players’ trade. But the ones that had made the most difference to me were the words I had heard before and never fully understood their import – words such as honesty and trust, loyalty and friendship. / And family. / And home.”
Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine
Beginning: “That fool of a fairy Lucinda did not intend to lay a curse on me.”
End: “And so, with laughter and love, we lived happily ever after.”
The Last Battle – C. S. Lewis
Beginning: “In the last days of Narnia, far up to the west beyond the Lantern Waste and close beside the great waterfall, there lived an Ape.”
End: “And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning for the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
Well, best for last: my favorite ending was by far C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle. While it doesn’t necessarily strengthen anything from the beginning line, it’s the kind of ending that makes you ecstatic as the tears fall dramatically from your eyes as you realize a great series/book is over…
And yeah, most of these are more for younger readers, but sometimes these things are written better than books for adults. Sad truth.
Well then, bye.