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Emacs doesn't have modes like Vi/Vim. When you open it you can start typing straight away.
Could be that the buffer is read-only but it should give message in the lower part of screen in that case.
Is the Emacs screen empty when you start typing or does it contain any text already? For example if you are in the startup info page you can't type but I think it should vanish as soon as you type something. It then should be in the scratch buffer and nothing should prevent you from typing.