If Famous First Lines Were Written in 280 Characters Instead of 140

If Famous First Lines Were Written in 280 Characters Instead of 140


Twitter has recently changed its longstanding character limit from 140 to a whopping 280, throwing our world into unrestrained chaos. We’re just not ready for that kind of power. Imagine what would happen if all the authors on your English syllabus were forced to spend their lives writing their opening sentences within a tight 140-character framework, only to one day have it doubled. The floodgates would suddenly be open. The apocalypse? Nigh. That 140-character limit was what separated man from beast. It was not just iconic, it was necessary, and here’s why:

“Call me Ishmael David Henry William Jones the Third. Except maybe that’s a bit much. You know what? I take it back. Call me Ishmael or don’t call me at all.”
—Herman Melville, Moby Dick

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I mean, man, it was just… the times, you know? Good. Bad. The times, we sure had ‘em. We had them whether they were good or bad.”
—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. ‘Eat your vegetables,’ he used to tell me. ‘If you keep making that face, it’ll freeze that way. Never judge people.’ Let's talk about that third one.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“It was a dark, stormy, mildly humid night. A cold front was moving in; therefore, it wasn’t likely to be humid for much longer. We can safely assume, however, that it would remain dark and stormy.”
—Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford

“When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin. You see, the thing is, he used to be a normal human. That’s why it was weird when he woke up and he wasn’t one of those any longer.”
—Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single, handsome, heterosexual man in possession of an adequate fortune must be in want of a wife, or at least a mistress he can squirrel away in a seaside cottage that he occasionally visits 'for his health'.”
—Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

“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, or a shark, or a squid, or a lobster, or whatever lives at the bottom of the ocean that scientists haven’t had the heart to tell us about.”
—Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea

“Mother died today. Or maybe yesterday, or the day before that, or sometime the previous Wednesday; I can’t be sure. The fact remains that she’s extremely dead.”
—Albert Camus, The Stranger

“It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Pigs were flying. Hell had frozen over. Every day was Tuesday, and socks didn’t exist. Look, things were weird. You get what I’m saying.”
—George Orwell, 1984

Topics: Books
Tags: twitter, books we love, 1984, the stranger, the great gatsby, pride and prejudice, charles dickens, classic literature, moby dick, george orwell, social media, a tale of two cities, opening lines, first lines, the old man and the sea, the metamorphosis, call me ishmael david henry william jones the third

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In real life, she goes by the name Courtney Gorter. This is a closely guarded secret, and you're the only one who knows about it, so be cool. You can follow her on Twitter or check out her website if you want, but it's just going to be a lot of complaining.

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