Definition of Hook

Have you ever read a book that could not grab your attention after reading a couple of sentences? On the contrary, you would have definitely read a book that has immediately captured your attention after which you were unable to put it down? Some books are magnetic, while some are really boring. One of the reasons could be the narrative hook. Knowing this, authors share an important literary technique to keep their readers engaged in the stories, which is hook or narrative hook that keep readers’ interest alive in the book. It appears at the beginning of the story, and may contain several paragraphs of a novel, several pages of a short story, or just could be an opening sentence, or a single line.

Types of Hook

It has different types including, dramatic action, mysterious settings, engaging characters and thematic statements.

Examples of Hook from Literature

Example 1

We come to know from the very first line of Avi’s novel, Ragweed, that that this story would provide a comical reading experience, as it reads, “Ma, a mouse has to do what a mouse has to do.” A young countryside mouse, Ragweed leaves his big family behind and sets out to live adventurous life in a big city. There he encounters some cool dudes and dudettes from mouse family. Ragweed also faces extreme danger from cats, especially the founder member, Willy Silversides of F.E.A.R. Silversides along with vice president decided to go to any length in order to throw away their arch-nemeses to the point that of devastating the Cheese-Squeeze club of mouse. Now it is the time for Ragweed to come up with a cunning strategy and muster up courage to defeat Felines First brigade. However, this hook has played an important role in making it attractive.

Example 2

The first sentence of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, is very important that says, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” It stands as a very famous first line in literature. It sets the plot’s mood and leads to capture the attention of readers due to the contrariness and notoriety of sentence. It also tells about the marriage theme of this novel and introduces ironic tone that Austen uses structurally and verbally throughout the novel. Author presents a thematic statement about the value of love and marriage in a society where women find difficulty finding their husbands amid class prejudice and financial snobbery.

Example 3

This famous and brilliant opening line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,” from Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities, hints at the central tension occurs between family and love and between oppression and hatred. These opposing pairs show the prominent structural figures like Paris and London, Charles Darnay and Sydney Carton, Madame Defarge and Miss Pross, etc. but the tone is sent by this sentence.

Example 4

Readers cannot resist an alarmingly satirical line of M.T. Anderson’s novel, Feed, that read, “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.” This line helps to set the stage for novel’s plot about futuristic world, which is overrun by uncontrolled consumerism, where humans implant computer chips in most of the infants at birth. Children do not need to go to schools, since they can Google to get information that they might need, and people need not to converse with anyone, as they can IM instantly. Hence, the first catchy line gives indication about the theme of this narrative and hooks the readers’ attention.

Function of Hook

Authors use hook as a critical component of their writing, as it allows them to demonstrate the readers how their literary works are worth reading within the first minute. This literary technique hooks the attention of readers and appeals their minds. Readers also get a great sense of entertainment through strong and meaning opening lines that might stick to their heads forever. We frequently find the use of narrative hooks in mystery fiction and suspense thrillers. Besides, authors use it in a number of ways such as by employing thematic statements and mysterious settings or using characters, etc.

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