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Once Upon a Time

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john dunson

on 24 January 2018

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Transcript of Once Upon a Time

1. Lines 11–17: What is the reason the narrator is afraid? In what ways is she similar to and different from other people in her community?
She is afraid someone is breaking into her home because she hears a creaking sound, and crimes have happened in her area. She doesn't have extra security in her home even though others do. However, she is explaining that she has the same fears in common with people who do have extra security.
Common Core Standards: RL1, RL5
3. Lines 46–53: How does the shift in structure from an autobiographical tale to a “bedtime story” affect the reader?
In expressing the housemaid's fear about the unemployed people and the wife's concern about their hunger, Gordimer is showing that while there is hope in the society because the wife cares, it is a hope that is being overwhelmed and crushed by fear.
By moving from her own feelings of lying sleepless and fearful in bed to descriptions of a family living happily ever after, the narrator may cause the reader to think that the bedtime story will be a soothing one.
The wife is worried about the riots making their way into the suburbs. The husband tell her in lines 68-71 that the people "of another color" are not allowed in the suburbs except as employees of residents. He goes on to say in lines 73-75 that the police and soldiers will keep the rioters away. The narrator goes on to say the husband has additional security measures installed to allay his wife's fears.
2. Lines 30–45: Why does Gordimer mention her house’s location above a mine here? How is Gordimer’s inclusion of the description of the miners also an explanation of why people are afraid in South African society?
Gordimer is explaining what woke her up and frightened her.

The lines illustrate the point that South African whites cannot isolate themselves from the oppression and suffering they have imposed on non-whites. It is all around them and under them, affecting them at unexpected moments.
The "wise old witch" gives the warning, "not to take on anyone off the street" (13). Witches usually play troublemakers in fairy tales. We may infer that her advice might cause trouble.
The boy is a symbol of innocence and happiness. In lines 165-167, the boy continues to run and play like a normal child while the parents are consumed with the subject of security. The boy enjoys his life while his parents plan fearfully for what could happen.
Common Core Standard: RL2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its
development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is
shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

Common Core Standard: RL1
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
4. Lines 57–65: What warning does “the wise old witch” give to her son and his wife? Explain the role witches usually play in fairy tales. Infer, or make an educated guess about, the witch’s purpose in this story.
5. Lines 66–78: What is the wife worried about? What specific details explain how the husband is trying to reassure her that she need not be fearful?
6. Lines 99–110: Which words in these lines appeal to certain senses? What does the writer express about the neighborhood alarms in her use of sensory language? How does this description help you understand the time and place, or the society of South Africa?
7. Lines 114–130: What does Gordimer express about South African society by giving details in these lines about the attitudes of the housemaid and the wife toward the unemployed people?
8. Lines 152-165: What do the changes to the neighborhood, including Gordimer’s description of the “prison architecture,” suggest about residents’ feelings?
9. Lines 165–167: What is different about the boy’s approach to life versus his parents? What does the boy symbolize?
10. Lines 193–203: Whom would you expect to care about the boy more, his grandmother or the gardener? Whose actions hurt the boy and whose actions help him?
Common Core Standard: RL5
Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order
events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing,
flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise.
Common Core Standard: RL2
Common Core Standards: RL1.
RL4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text,
including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact
of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes
a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
Common Core Standard: RL2
Common Core Standards: RL1
RL6: Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of
literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world
Common Core Standards: RL1, RL2
Common Core Standard: RL5
Once Upon a Time
Words appealing to the senses: shrills, bleats, wails, grating.

The writer describes the neighborhood alarms as if they are noisy animals that the people no longer pay attention to. In this way, the writer expresses the futility of the neighborhood's efforts to protect itself from the change in society.
The former beauty of the neighborhood's gardens and yards is now hidden behind an array of barricades [lines 154-155]. The residents' fear of burglary has prompted them to fortify their homes with menacing features such as broken glass on walls and spiked fences, intended to keep the intruders at bay.
is a contrast between what is expected and what occurs.
Key literary term.
The witch's actions ultimately destroyed the family because her advice and gifts led to the boy being seriously injured. The gardener cut his own hands trying to save the boy, so he helped the family more than the witch did.
Closing question:
Is this outcome what a reader might expect?
"Once Upon a Time". Gordimer, Nadine. Beers, Kylene. Hougen, Martha. Jago, Carol. McBride, William L. Palmer, Eric. Stack, Lydia. Collections Grade 9. Orlando FL: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2015. 11-16. Print.
Works Cited
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