Once Upon a Time Questions and Answers

Once Upon a Time

It is long been held in many quarters, among social scientists, psychologists, and sociologists, that there's an intimate connection between fear and racism. Racism can take many different forms,...

Latest answer posted October 5, 2020 12:06 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

Gordimer uses several literary devices in "Once Upon a Time." For example, she writes, "my windowpanes are thin as rime, could shatter like a wineglass." In this example, she uses a simile...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2017 12:05 am UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

The short story "Once Upon a Time" uses the structure of a fairy tale with its setting, narration, tone, terms, and part of the sequence of events. As she introduces her story, Nadine Gordimer...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2017 9:10 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

There is an explicit and an implied conflict in the story "Once Upon a Time." In the story, the family is extremely wary of outsiders, particularly those of a lower class, so they build up a wall...

Latest answer posted August 24, 2019 3:46 pm UTC

4 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

Nadine Gordimer weaves many examples of foreshadowing into "Once Upon a Time." The frame story introduces the concept of fear. The idea of the subterranean mining tunnels that rock the narrator's...

Latest answer posted October 21, 2016 3:45 am UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

One significant theme in Gordimer's "Once Upon a Time" is that it's impossible to avoid one's fate. What will happen will happen, and there's absolutely nothing that anyone can do about it. Yet in...

Latest answer posted November 30, 2020 3:30 pm UTC

5 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

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...

Latest answer posted October 8, 2020 6:09 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

Gordimer uses a frame story and a fairy tale motif to make the point that fairy-tale solutions to real problems don't work. In the frame story, the narrator hears a noise and fears, not without...

Latest answer posted April 14, 2020 3:47 am UTC

3 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

By calling the story "Once Upon A Time," Gordimer sets certain expectations for the reader. Specifically, the reader expects to be presented with a classic fairy tale story in which good conquers...

Latest answer posted April 7, 2018 8:20 am UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon A Time by Nadine Gordimer is a tragic tale which serves as a warning to anyone who obsesses over something without rationally thinking it through or trying to solve the problem from...

Latest answer posted November 27, 2015 1:34 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

In order to fully appreciate the symbolism in "Once Upon a Time," it is important to place this work in its historical context. Nadine Gordimer grew up in South Africa during the country's...

Latest answer posted October 26, 2020 5:53 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

One effect of the fairy-tale quality that Nadine Gordimer employs is to displace the story from any real time or location and thereby allow the reader to connect it with the time and place of their...

Latest answer posted October 28, 2019 7:07 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Nadine Gordimer is well-known in South Africa for her political activism. Her novels and short stories often reveal different facets of the apartheid regime of which she was a part and which she...

Latest answer posted September 20, 2015 2:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

In "Once Upon a Time," Nadine Gordimer uses a razor-wire topped wall around a single-family home as a metaphor for South Africa's apartheid. Like the family in the story, which is trying to stay...

Latest answer posted July 5, 2019 11:11 am UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

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...

Latest answer posted October 9, 2018 11:18 am UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

I think that the presence of wealth and security in the face of a world in which these elements are perceived to be threatened are common threads in both the introductory story and the child's...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2012 1:35 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

There are two points of view in Gordimer's short story. The first is that of Gordimer herself at the start of the work. She describes being awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of...

Latest answer posted January 29, 2010 11:26 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

At the beginning of the story, Nadine Gordimer gives the frame story. She tells the reader that she has been asked to write a children's story for an anthology. Initially, she does not accept the...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2016 3:49 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Gordimer, a Nobel laureate, was an activist against apartheid in her native South Africa. Up until the early 1990s, apartheid kept the minority class of whites strictly separated from the majority...

Latest answer posted June 13, 2018 7:30 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

The themes in the story are informed by irony and are firstly, the folly of irrational fear and secondly, the dangers inherent in protectionism and exclusion. In the introductory section, the...

Latest answer posted September 19, 2016 5:39 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

The cat in "Once Upon a Time" symbolically supports three themes of the story. First, the cat represents the couple's unquenchable fear. For most of the story, the couple keeps making...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2016 7:44 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon A Time by Nadine Gordimer brings the fear of the unknown (the main theme) into the lives of her readers and into their dreams while the tragedy of a family's efforts to protect itself...

Latest answer posted September 30, 2015 8:31 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

The family in the story obtains a plaque from the Neighborhood Watch to put on the gate to their home. It reads, in all caps, "YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED." The family interprets this as a sign that will...

Latest answer posted December 2, 2020 11:32 am UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Gordimer wrote this story to show that building walls against the people we fear is a path to self destruction. Her point is that we harm ourselves when we retreat into a fortress mentality. In...

Latest answer posted October 16, 2018 5:12 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

In "Once Upon A Time," the wall can be seen as a symbol because it has a deeper meaning. Specifically, it is symbolic of a fear of outsiders and a desire to protect oneself from potential threats....

Latest answer posted October 1, 2017 8:05 am UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

In "Once Upon A Time" by Nadine Gordimer, Gordimer intends for the reader to learn that danger has many guises and is likely to be misunderstood, and, in this instance, misinterpreted unless...

Latest answer posted March 31, 2016 7:54 am UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

The narrator of "Once Upon a Time" first wonders if the sound that wakes her up at night is from her subconscious mind (a sound from a dream) or from her house. She then wonders if the creaking...

Latest answer posted April 16, 2019 2:39 pm UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

Mood refers to the atmosphere an author creates through the setting he/she creates, the diction he/she uses and the tone that he/she employs. The purpose is to evoke certain feelings in the...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2015 5:46 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Nadine Gordimer's short story differs from the usual fairy tale in that her story commences with the phrase, 'happily ever after', whereas in traditional fairy tales this is normally only used at...

Latest answer posted November 21, 2015 6:29 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

It should be apparent that although the term "wise old witch" is a reference to the husband's mother, she is a symbol of the previous apartheid regime in South Africa. The government of the time...

Latest answer posted September 24, 2017 3:43 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

There are two distinct settings portrayed in "Once upon a Time." The first is in the frame narrative, and the second is in the "bedtime story." In the frame narrative, the narrator wakes up while...

Latest answer posted October 27, 2016 5:39 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

The frame story and the fairy tale are connected by fear. At first, the narrator resists writing a children's story (although she has been asked to), saying she doesn't write children's...

Latest answer posted October 7, 2018 2:42 am UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

The phrase "happily ever after," which appears four times in Gordimer's "Once Upon a Time," is used ironically by the narrator, as in the line in the house where they were living happily ever...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2020 11:42 am UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

I remember first teaching this short story to my Seniors and the way that they were all repulsed by the final paragraph and the ending of this modern fairy tale in South Africa. In particular, the...

Latest answer posted April 5, 2011 7:36 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Gordimer doesn't really get to these devices or her "children's story" until she begins to relate the bedtime story. She begins this story in a very general way, and this serves to suggest that...

Latest answer posted October 19, 2016 8:52 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

On on hand, the sign is meant to deter potential thieves. The family starts to insulate themselves from the world because of their fear of it. They have built this large gate meant to protect...

Latest answer posted October 26, 2011 7:58 am UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

The man and his wife are worried about a spate of crimes in the neighborhood, and they figure that it’s essential for them to beef up their security. To that end, they build a large wall around...

Latest answer posted November 30, 2020 11:35 am UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Nadine Gordimer's short story "Once Upon a Time" ends with a tragic clash between fantasy and reality. The parents of the little boy have tried to protect their home with a strong wall that has...

Latest answer posted December 1, 2020 11:30 am UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

"Once Upon a Time" begins with the author somewhat irritated by a presumption that she "ought" to write a children's book. That night, she awakens from a sound sleep, disturbed by something...

Latest answer posted November 16, 2016 9:26 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Fairytales take place outside of historical time or place: "Little Red Riding Hood," for example, walks through a forest, but we don't know which forest or when. Also, the main character is...

Latest answer posted November 17, 2019 1:26 pm UTC

3 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

Once the family has installed the burglar alarm, the next step is to have burglar bars installed on all of the windows and doors. This happens after a local housemaid is tied up while burglars...

Latest answer posted July 11, 2017 9:34 am UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

The falling action of a story occurs after the climax and ends in the conclusion. The story "Once Upon a Time" actually contains two stories. First, there is the frame story. This is the beginning...

Latest answer posted October 18, 2016 4:05 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

A plot graph is composed of the following: exposition, rising action, conflict, climax, falling action, and conclusion. It is drawn in the shape of a mountain with the exposition at the bottom...

Latest answer posted April 27, 2016 11:34 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

In Once Upon A Time by Nadine Gordimer, the boys' parents certainly go to extraordinary lengths to protect their family and to prolong the illusion that they are living "happily ever after." The...

Latest answer posted January 29, 2016 8:13 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

The cat in the Gordimer story represents both a representation of domestic bliss, but also the imprisonment that is experienced when fear controls every aspect of being in the world. When Gordimer...

Latest answer posted September 27, 2015 3:11 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Nadine Gordimer's short story "Once Upon A Time" reveals the tragedy behind a family's attempts to protect itself from an unknown and unrecognizable threat. In South Africa, historically, it is not...

Latest answer posted March 31, 2016 9:05 am UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Nadine Gordimer's short story "Once Upon a Time" has two distinct story pieces. The first part of the story is about a woman that is asked to write a children's story, but she politely declines....

Latest answer posted December 7, 2017 5:11 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

Conflict in literature is an element that involves the struggle between two opposing forces, usually between the protagonist and antagonist. This kind of conflict is external. There is also...

Latest answer posted June 12, 2017 9:38 am UTC

2 educator answers

Once Upon a Time

I am not entirely certain if Gordmer's short story contains a clear hero and a clear villain. On face value, I think that the family would be the hero and the criminal element against which they...

Latest answer posted September 23, 2012 6:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

Once Upon a Time

The short story "Once Upon a Time" by Nadine Gordimer begins with a first-person prelude. Gordimer writes an introduction that clearly establishes the narrator, presumably the author, in...

Latest answer posted April 2, 2020 3:25 pm UTC

3 educator answers

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