SparkNotes Blog

The Best Ways to Start Any Essay

An untitled Microsoft Word Doc with your name, your teacher’s name, the class, and the date; a working title (“Essay 1”); and a blinking cursor. It’s time to start your first essay of the school year. You’ve been putting it off for a week and it’s due tomorrow, 9 am.

Since we know the first sentence is the hardest, we’re here to help you put words on that daunting blank screen! No matter what your essay topic, we’ve got you covered*!

*Some restrictions** may apply.
**Like your teacher’s sense of humor.


Hamlet: In the immortal words of MC Hamlet, “Stop, conspirators, and listen: Hamlet’s back from England with a brand new conviction.”

Romeo and Juliet: Two ideas, both alike in originality, in this fair intro, where we lay our theme.

Macbeth: Straight outta Scotland, crazy thane named Macbeth from the army, called the king with an attitude.

The Odyssey: Guess who just got back today? That wild-eyed hero who had been away, hasn’t changed, hasn’t much to say, but, man, Penelope’s suitors can’t stay.

Jane Eyre: She’s smart, she’s plain! She’s a governess to boot! She’s stubborn, brown hair! Mr. Rochester loves to stare!

David Copperfield: Whether this paper shall prove its argument, or whether it shall fail, these pages must show. To begin my paper with the beginning of my paper, I record that this first paragraph (as I have been instructed) is the intro.

Wuthering Heights: Cathy hated him. She loved him, too.

Pride and Prejudice: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a student in possession of a good thesis, must be in want of an A.

The Great Gatsby: Red light, green light: Gatsbytime.

Frankenstein: Victor Frankenstein created a monster, now nobody wants to see Victor no more, they want the creature, he’s much cooler.

Our Town (first and last line): Out realizing life as I live it—every, every minute—instead of writing this paper.

The Catcher in the Rye: If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is who is Holden, and what his story’s like.

To Kill a Mockingbird: Boo!

Invisible Man (first and last line): This is an invisible paper.

Madame Bovary: Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world, she married the first man who said he’d take her anywhere.

Lord of the Flies: It started with mad love, but ended with bad blood.

The Scarlet Letter: Emma Stone’s hilarious in this book.

Mrs. Dalloway: A long, long time ago, Clarissa still remembers, how Peter used to make her smile.

Animal Farm: Old Major the boar says, “Man is the only creature that consumes without producing.” He is wrong. I am producing this paper.

Antigone: #Squadgoals.

What are you going to do with all this extra time we gave you?