Once Upon a Time Questions and Answers
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?
What details in the introductory section and in the children's story imply the nature of the social order in which both occur?
The opening section of the story is told by a writer awakened by a frightening sound in the night. What two causes for the sound does she consider?
How is the use of the phrase "happily ever after" in this story different from its use in traditional fairy tales?
What actions do the husband, wife, and their neighbors do again and again because of their fear of outsiders in "Once Upon a Time"? How does this reveal the story's theme?
In the story "Once Upon a Time," why does Nadine Gordimer choose the words "happily ever after" and "once upon a time?"
What is the connection between the events Gordimer describes in the introduction (lines 1–48) and the events in the fairy tale?
In "Once Upon a Time," what is the connection between the events Gordimer describes in the frame story and the events in the fairy tale?
In "Once Upon a Time," who would the parents expect to care more about the boy, his grandmother or the gardener? Whose actions hurt the boy and whose actions help him?
In "Once Upon a Time" by Nadine Gordimer, what is the next increase in security, after the installation of a burglar alarm and how does the husband's mother contribute?
In "Once Upon a Time," why does Gordimer mention that the narrator's house is located above a mine? How does her inclusion of the description of the miners explain why people are afraid in South African society?
In the story "Once Upon A Time," what things does the family do to protect itself and what are the consequences?
What's Gordimer's political point of view that can be understood by reading the short story Once Upon A Time?
In "Once Upon a Time," what do the changes to the neighborhood, including Gordimer's description of the "prison architecture," suggest about residents' feelings?
How is the use of the phrase, "Happily ever after," in Nadine Gordimer's short story, "Once upon a time," different from its application in traditional fairy tales? Include at least one detail from the text to support the answer.
Describe the mood at the beginning of the short story, "Once Upon A Time." Why does the narrator choose to start her story?
How is the structure of the story "Once Upon a Time" similar to a fairy tale? What elements do they share? Cite details from the text to support your analysis.
What is different about the boy's approach to life versus his parents'? What does the boy symbolize?
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