What is the climax of the story Once Upon A Time by Nadine Gordimer?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that the climax to Gordimer's story is one where the family's dreams of security and isolation become the base by which their beloved child dies.  In the end, the climax to the story is that the family has succumbed to their own fears of the outside world.  This becomes manifested in the wall that operates as a fortress around their house and in the barbed wire structure that operates at the top of the wall along with the jagged edging of glass shards to prevent anyone from scaling it.  This is the obstacle that the little boy sees as something to overcome as imagining himself as a prince whose function is to save the princess.  The climax results when the boy climbs the wall and becomes trapped by the barbed wire structure, something that ensnares him and cuts his flesh as he seeks to extract himself from it.   In the end, this is the climax of the story, a realization that the parents' fears end up moving them closer to their worst nightmare.  The death of their beloved child is the result of all the parents' fear, and with this, the height of the plot's action becomes evident.

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