25 Literary Opening Lines Diagrammed on One Giant Poster

Hannah Keyser

"Grammar is hard!" the Pop Chart Lab creative team said they learned from the process of putting together this poster, which applies the Reed-Kellogg model of diagramming to the opening sentences of 25 famous novels.

But it can also be beautiful. Get lost in the meandering syntax of Cervantes' Don Quixote, marvel at the powerful simplicity of Melville's Moby Dick, and reminisce about learning the parts of speech when you hang this print on your wall.

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"We're drawn to the idea that breaking down a sequence of sentence constituents into tiny pieces can reveal something larger and infinite about a sequence of words," the team said of choosing to represent the sentences that way.

And about the sentences themselves, which span a range of centuries and literary styles, the team explains that "There's a certain magic to the opening lines of a novel or piece of writing. The first words are often the magnetic force that pulls a reader in. We surveyed the wide spectrum of literary history and tried to choose openers that were memorable, widely celebrated/cited, and in some cases, favorites of our own."