For a project on Once Upon a Time, what important ideas are there in its conclusion?

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

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The conclusion to Gordimer's story brings out many important ideas.  I think that your project might want to talk about how the family's steps towards perfection wind up becoming the very basis for the family's destruction.  The family wished to keep their world free from external reality and the "dangerous" elements that existed in the world.  It is for this reason they build the wall, invest in the alaram system, place jagged pieces of glass on top of the wall, and cover it with barbed wire.  All of these end up "conspiring" to kill the boy at the end of the story.  The conclusion of the story brings up how the family could do everything to keep the outside world apart from them, but they could not account for the child's imagination and sense of adventure that ends up killing him in the end.  The family's hopes and dreams end up resulting in the worst of nightmares.  I think that the conclusion of the story brings up how when individuals fail to control fear, more harm than good ends up as the result.  I think that being able to talk about how the parents must feel broken and immersed in despair about the loss of their child at the constructions that they themselves implemented would be something to discuss.  When Gordimer talks about how the security systems all sound in unison, making it sound like wailing and crying, this becomes representative of how the parents must be feeling at the conclusion of the story.