Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 21 (bonus Christmas lines)

There would be no Christmas stories without Christmas, and there would be no Christmas without Christ.  So for this last and bonus post about middle lines, I’ve enjoyed searching for the turning point in the story of Christ’s birth. We know how the story begins:  an angel announces a virgin birth to come.  But what… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 20

It’s Christmas, a time of year when half the world is not covered in snow.  Half the world is not even chilly.  Many of us are melting in mid-summer heat.  I had to find a Christmas story that Australians would ‘get’, where the characters were not wearing long sleeves! Christmas in the Floods by Olaf… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 19

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry is a Christmas Story with a good example of the opening line reappearing in the middle of the story.  It’s a good story, with a twist in the tail.  Its first line is ‘One dollar and eighty-seven cents.’  Half-way through, the reader is again reminded that this… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: great middle lines – 18

On an evening not long before Christmas, say the Brothers Grimm, something curious happened to a shoemaker and his wife. In “Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm”, in a short, short story, The Elves, two pretty little naked men arrive to make Christmas joyous for a hardworking yet poor couple.  The Grimms describe in one sentence… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 17

A few months ago I became interested in the middle lines of a story, which are usually, but not always, the turning point.  I posted on this blog 16 examples of great middle lines, then I went to New Zealand and lost my momentum with novels, not only because I had gone away and come… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 16

The Drover’s Wife, a short story by Henry Lawson published in 1896, has a plot that unfolds over an afternoon and a night, marked by time phrases like “It is near sunset” and “It must be near one or two o’clock”.  The story is an excellent example of Australian realism, well-told with dry, short sentences,… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 15

The Sleeper Awakes.  It’s 1890s England when an insomniac falls into a sleep-like trance and awakes 203 years later to find he is the Master of the World.  But while he had been sleeping, the masses had been oppressed, and they now find he has awoken and hope he will rescue them.  One hundred and… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 14

Yesterday I was teaching migrant English using an abridged version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Speckled Band.  I enjoyed it so much, I sought out the original unabridged version and found some lines in the middle of the story that reveal Conan Doyle’s sharp wit and great sense of rhythm.  It’s also clear at this point… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 13

At the centre of Great Expectations is a paragraph about Pip’s love for Estella, about his great expectations to win her heart.  Though I’ve read this novel several times, I’d never thought of Dickens as romantic until today when I read this paragraph separately from the rest of the story: Far into the night, Miss… Continue reading


Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 12

A few days ago in Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet, I found an account of Sherlock Holmes performing one of his earliest deductions, at exactly the middle of Part I. You can read about it here. Halfway through Part II of this short novel, Doyle wrote a short paragraph that was not about… Continue reading