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October 31, 2016

Once Upon a Time

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Dakota Fanning in the 2007 movie version of Charlotte’s Web

 

“Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern…
This line, the first in Charlotte’s Webb is one of the most famous children’s book first lines.

We immediately are interested in what is coming next, we connect with Fern’s concern, and get a sense of the urgency of Wilbur’s plight. You can probably assign varying intonations to it. Fern might be asking the question innocently, curiously, or with full knowledge of what it means when papa picks up that ax and goes outside. Where IS “…papa going with that ax” indeed.
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