I love epigraphs! You know, those little quotes, poems or phrases at the beginning of books? I bet you’ve flipped past them without a second look sometimes. Epigraphs are cool because they are like clues to what is about to happen in the book. Sometimes they tie the book to a greater piece of work or set up for some important themes in the novel.
Here is a list of my 5 favorite epigraphs, in no particular order. What are yours?
1.The Great Gatsby
“Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her; If you can bounce high, bounce for her too, Till she cry “Lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover, I must have you!” – Thomas Parke D’Invilliers
Okay, I admit, I haven’t read all of this novel, but this epigraph is special. It is written by a fictional person. D’Invillers is a character from Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise. If you’ve read The Great Gatsby you know what this is hinting at . . .
“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.”
– Robert Frost, Fire and Ice
The book may not be brilliant, but I love this poem, I’m so glad it made it into the movie. The poem is called Fire and Ice by Robert Frost and it sets up the main conflict of the novel. Do I even have to tell you who represents what?
3. Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows
“Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure. This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.” – William Penn
This book has two, but I like this one the best. If you have read the books or seen the movies you know what this is setting up for. The other epigraph for Deathly Hallows is by Aeschylus. You know nothing good is about to happen when you start quoting Aeschylus.
4.Water for Elephants
“I meant what I said and I said what I meant An elephant’s faithful 100 percent” – Dr. Seuss, Horton Hatches the Egg
In this novel, the epigraph proves to be very true.
”Is it not good to make society full of beautiful people ?” – Yang Yuan, The New York Times
A book like the Uglies could be read just as something fun and interesting. However, if you read the entire articlethis quote is from, you see the book has a strong tie to the real world.
6. Into the Woods
“Probably just somebody’s nasty black poodle. But i’ve always wondered . . . what if it really was Him, and He decided I wasn’t worth it?” – Tony Kushner, A Bright Room Called Day
So, I haven’t read this book and I decided to see what I could learn from the epigraphs. It is from a play by Tony Kushner about Europe in the 1930’s during the rise of Hitler. I have no idea what this epigraph could be foreshadowing. I guess I’ll find out soon !
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.