In Nadine Gordimer's short story "Once Upon a Time," what stylistic devices create the atmosphere of children's stories? How is this atmosphere related to the story's theme?

Stylistic devices that Nadine Gordimer uses in "Once Upon a Time" to create the atmosphere of children's stories include the title, the introduction of an intimate narrator, the suggestion of underground dread, the simple style of the bedtime story narration, the pseudo-perfect family living in a castle-like home, and the allusion to Sleeping Beauty at the end. These devices relate to the story's theme ironically, because in fact Gordimer is telling of very real social problems and not fantasy situations.

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In the short story "Once Upon a Time," Nadine Gordimer tells a horrific cautionary tale in the guise of a children's story. To create the appropriate atmosphere, she uses several stylistic devices.

First of all, the title itself, "Once Upon a Time," suggests a children's story. This is how many fairy tales begin, and its purpose is to create an atmosphere of fantasy.

Next, Gordimer introduces herself as a narrator, which creates an intimate atmosphere suitable for telling stories to children. She describes a dread noise that she hears in the night, and then explains that the source of the noise is deep underground in the gold mines. This suggests the underground habitats of fantastic creatures in children's stories such as trolls, goblins, and dwarves.

When she tells her bedtime story, she adopts a simple, straightforward style of writing like those found in children's books. She begins with a supposedly idyllic situation in which the husband and wife and their son live in a castle-like...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1005 words.)

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