Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Once Upon A Time" by Nadine Gordimer

6. Analyze the story's final paragraph in detail. How does it help to elucidate the theme?

I found this story to be incredibly satirical. The author seemed to be making fun of typical children's stories, and implemented several common phrases like "once upon a time" or "they lived happily ever after". What I found most interesting was the fact that her story was so different from what one would normally expect. Throughout the tale, she highlighted the idea of people's paranoia and emphasized the extent that some will go to ease their mind. She showed that the characters' fears were what destroyed themselves in the end. Ironically, it was through their actions of trying to protect themselves that they enabled their son to die. By reading her son a fairytale, the mother gave him the idea to act heroically and "brave the terrible thicket of thorns" to find his Sleeping Beauty. As many children do, he tried to pretend he was the prince in real life and ended up fatally wounding himself in the barbed wire fence that his parents had set up around the house. By trying so hard to ensure their own safety, they got caught up in their fears and endangered the life of their son. Now that he is dead, all the precautions they took are worthless because they enabled him to die.

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