How does the final paragraph help to elucidate the theme in Once Upon a Time?

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Gordimer's story is a political commentary on the system of apartheid that governed South Africa at that time. The minority white population was kept legally separated from the majority black population. The whites had most of the resources and lived increasingly walled off from and in fear of the oppressed black population. Whites felt that by staying apart from the increasingly angry blacks they would keep themselves safe.

Gordimer's theme or message in this story is that walls won't keep us safe. (She universalizes this theme by not setting her tale in any particular place or time.) The last paragraph reinforces her theme by showing what happens when the family tops the wall around their house with razor wire. Their beloved young son, after hearing a fairy tale, pretends to be the prince in Sleeping Beauty. He tries to scale the wall of their home and gets tangled up in the razor wire and killed. In other words, by putting up walls to keep out the undesirable "other," we end up destroying ourselves. Walls and razor wire are not the answer.

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The closing paragraph is where everything comes into realization.  It is at this point where we see the family's desire for perfection in the form of absolute security turn into disaster on massive levels.  The wall built to keep the outside world out becomes the height that the child as "Prince Valiant" must scale in order to rescue the princess.  The barbed wire and jagged edges on the top of the wall end up ensaring the boy, cutting him each time he moves and piercing through the life of his body.  In the end, the family's inability to make out their own screams of horror with the blaring alarms in their home going off simutaneously are another reminder of how the family's desire for perfection ends up yielding personal destruction.  In the end, this paragaph results in the reader fully understanding and comprehending how the thematic development of the desire for perfection and totality leads to destruction and fragmentation of hopes and dreams.

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