Once Upon a Time Questions and Answers
by Nadine Gordimer

Once Upon a Time book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How is the structure of "Once Upon a Time" similar to that of a fairy tale?

Expert Answers info

Carter Westfall eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookB.A. from University of the Western Cape, South Africa


calendarEducator since 2014

write1,246 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

You are referring to the narrative structure of the story. In this instance, one must look at the sequence of events to see whether it is similar to that of a fairy tale. The elements of such a structure are setting, plot, and theme. A narrative plot is further divided into the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and the denouement or resolution.

In the exposition, the characters are introduced and the setting is provided. A normal fairy tale does not provide a specific time frame and begins with 'Once upon a time.' This is the first obvious similarity between our story and a fairy tale. Although the introduction is not used in the text of the story itself, it is clear in the title, which uses exactly the same terminology.

Secondly, the fairy tale provides insight into the characters' situation - i.e. where they live, their relationships and what they do. The story commences with the following words:

In a house, in a suburb, in a city, there were a man and his wife who loved...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 650 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

skipperb eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write47 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial