• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analysis of Nadine Gordimer's Once Upon a Time.

Extracts from this document...


Once Upon a Literary Element (Or several): Fictional Aspects of ?Once Upon a Time? Although some critics may believe in a more clear-cut distinction between literary and commercial fiction, there does exist a sort of gray area in between the two categories of fiction. ?Once Upon a Time? exhibits qualities of both genres. However, if this short story were categorized into a definitive class, it would fall primarily into the realm of literary fiction. Most of the elements of ?Once Upon a Time? are literary, and therefore, the story as a whole falls into this category. ?Once Upon a Time? employs many literary elements, since an analysis of the plot clearly shows components clearly not pertaining to commercialism. Essentially, a writer has trouble falling asleep, and dreams of another story. In this inner tale, a group of poor, impoverished people surround a family and their affluent neighborhood, and the family decides to implement security devices around the house, essentially creating a fortress. ...read more.


Literary stories have more complex themes to them as well. As for “Once Upon a Time,” the text highlights the need for balance between security and freedom. The elaborate defense systems the family employs are extremely extensive and unnecessary, with numerous defensive gadgets being utilized (Gordimer 222). When the child is caught in the wire, the fallibility of the family’s paranoia is revealed. Total safety and liberty cannot coexist; the two aspects of life must be balanced. People cannot attain total security while maintaining freedom, and vice versa. Literary fiction usually utilizes these layered stories, whereas commercial fiction simply has “morals” or cliché ideas behind them. The beginning of the stories utilizes the first-person perspective, and then the majority of the piece is told through a limited third-person narrator. This perspective distances the reader from the story even further; the narrator is very blunt and bland. Without delving into the thoughts and minds of the characters, the reader is forced to make his or her own conclusions regarding the characterization of the family in the story. ...read more.


The irony of all the safety precautions presents itself in the final moments of the story. The young boy is caught in the tangling mess of security, and the text suggests the boy is dead. Throughout the story, the family attempts to protect themselves with physical devices, but in the end, it?s the parents? own paranoia and securities that cost them their son. Indeed, ?Once Upon a Time? possesses a few elements which could be construed as commercial fiction. However, the majority of the story presents traits which are ingredients for a piece of literary fiction. The plot presents a rather unhappy ending which causes the reader to reflect rather than relax. Although commercial fiction utilizes morals, this story reveals the complexities between security and freedom. Characterization essentially is nonexistent; readers are forced to create their own perceptions and images of the family and their personalities. The point of view and use of irony also contribute to the story?s literariness. ?Once Upon a Time? may seem like a simple bedtime story created by a man?s dream, but on the contrary, it presents a unique fictional story containing many different complex literary elements. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Mending Wall Analysis

    the following phrases, 'Something there is that doesn't love a wall', 'frozen ground swell', 'no has seen them made or heard them made' and 'spell'; it shows that the poet does not know who wants the wall or why do the barriers subsist in the relationships of people.

  2. Things Fall Apart Novel Analysis

    Okonkwo has gone from great man to a chapter in a book about "Primitive Tribes". 9. Quotations: 1. "Okonkwo was clearly cut for great things" (Achebe 8) In this quote, the narrator tells the reader that Okonkwo is clearly made to achieve great things in life.

  1. An analysis of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

    Inspired by Clarisse, Guy Montag starts thinking about his life, how he is unable to recall his life in any detail at all. He does not remember when he met Mildred for the first time, got married with her and why they do not have any children together.

  2. The practice of child labor is going on since a long time and depriving ...

    Other causes of child labor are social apathy towards it, parental ignorance about the adverse effects of child labor, absence of compulsory primary education opportunities, ineffective laws against child labor, expensive education, inaccessibility to schools and colleges, and employers who prefer employing children at work.

  1. Comparing and Contrasting Nadine Gordimer's Narrative Situations

    In both short stories, the narrative situations and the effects they create allow readers to discover the underlying themes in an enthralling manner. Just like any other work of fiction, "Some Are Born to Sweet Delight" contains a protagonist and reflector, Vera, a 17-year-old girl who has the very human

  2. The spirit is too blunt an instrument analysis

    The details also pose as a method to depict the poets amusement of the baby as a god-like creation. The repeated usage of biological terms like 'tendons', 'ganglia' and 'vertebrae', further emphasizes on the idea that humans couldn't have created such a complex creature on their own.

  1. Literary analysis on September 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden

    While the description of the ?error? being bred in the ?bone? indicates the innate nature of this human flaw, ?bred? signifies its capacity for growth. The belief that selfishness is common in all man, as suggested by the repetitive use of ?each?, in fact contradicts the advocacy for racial superiority at the time.

  2. The Other Slipper - retelling the story of Cinderella.

    As her foot touched the ballroom floor, she looked up at caught eyes with a dashing prince. He spoke angelically, ?May I have this dance?? Cinderella nodded, shy of his request, but still she took a step forward to soak up the music, her mirth and happiness.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work