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"Once Upon A Time"
Transcript of "Once Upon A Time"
Table of Contents
1.Background of Poet
2. Copy of Poem
4. Short Summary
6. Element of Narrative Design
8. Evidence to Support Thesis
Copy of Poem
The poem “Once upon a time” is about a father telling his son about the past and present.
· In the beginning of the poem the father tells how in the past person actually use to laugh with their hearts but now people hide their feelings by pretending to laugh and pretend to care about others.
· Then the father says how he has now learned to wear many different faces.
· Towards at the end of the poem the father says that he doesn't want to be like this, he wants to be what he was when he was young.
· At the end the father tells his son to show him how to laugh and smile again
Judging by the title of “Once upon a time”,
I think this poem is about the author telling
about something that has happened in the past.
The first stanza is telling how there was a time when people use to laugh for real with their hearts and now people just show their teeth. The second stanza is about how first people use to shake hands while showing love but now people shake hands for their own benefits. In the third stanza explains how people use to welcome you with respect whenever someone came but now they get tired when you go to their house the third time. In the fourth stanza the author has learn't to be around people and learn't to laugh without a heart. The fifth stanza explains that the author has learned to say things that he does not mean. In the sixth stanza the author does not want to be fake and wants to learn how to laugh with feelings. In the last stanza the father asks his son to show him how to laugh like he used to.
Element of Narrative Design
The situation of this poem is about a parent looking at his son and being reminded about how he used to be as sincere and honest in his feelings as his young child and he now realizes how much he has changed into a fake person. This situation shows a kind of regret.
In conclusion, the elements of character, purpose and audience, persona and attitude, situation and setting all show how the author was conveying the theme of losing the innocence of youth. By having a depressed parent telling the story and the target audience being adults, the author really gets to the audiences hearts by having them relate to the poem. The uses of reminiscent tone and sarcastic tone really enhance the thoughts of the author and the theme. The poem shows immense focus on the latter lives of adults and makes the audience realize that you shouldn’t do anything you’ll regret when looking back at your life.
Once upon a time, son,
they used to laugh with their hearts
and laugh with their eyes:
but now they only laugh with their teeth,
while their ice-block-cold eyes
search behind my shadow.
There was a time indeed
they used to shake hands with their hearts:
but that’s gone, son.
Now they shake hands without hearts
while their left hands search
my empty pockets.
And I have learned too
to laugh with only my teeth
and shake hands without my heart.
I have also learned to say,’Goodbye’,
when I mean ‘Good-riddance’:
to say ‘Glad to meet you’,
without being glad; and to say ‘It’s been
nice talking to you’, after being bored.
But believe me, son.
I want to be what I used to be
when I was like you. I want
to unlearn all these muting things.
Most of all, I want to relearn
how to laugh, for my laugh in the mirror
shows only my teeth like a snake’s bare fangs!
So show me, son,
how to laugh; show me how
I used to laugh and smile
once upon a time when I was like you
Feel at home!’ ‘Come again’:
they say, and when I come
again and feel
at home, once, twice,
there will be no thrice-
for then I find doors shut on me.
So I have learned many things, son.
I have learned to wear many faces
like dresses – homeface,
officeface, streetface, hostface,
cocktailface, with all their conforming
smiles like a fixed portrait smile
Metaphor: “They shake hands without hearts”
Simile: “Teeth like a snake’s bare fangs”
Rhyme: “twice, thrice”
The speaker’s uses a depressing and sad tone as he thinks about how it used to be and what it is now.
The poem shifts from the author explaining how his life was in comparison to how it is now, to asking his son to help him laugh and smile again.
“Once upon a time represents how the author was in the past and how he has changed. The author is looking back in his old self and is realizing that he has changed a lot.
The theme of the poem is that you should not change yourself. Don’t pretend to do things that you do not want to do
When I read this poem I imagine this poem taking place in a old mansion that is very big in size, I think this because the man is talking to his son and it would make sense for him to be talking to him at home. I think the house is old because, the poem is written in a dark and depressing tone, and old mansions are usually dark, mysterious and depressing. I also picture the time period being around this generation, around 2011. I think this because some of the emotions and thoughts that the man is going through are thoughts that many people feel now towards other people. Two quotes that makes me think this are, "they used to laugh with their hearts and laugh with their eyes but now they only laugh with their teeth". Another one is Now they shake hands without hearts while their left hands search my empty pockets.
Element of Narrative Design Continued
Thesis and Evidence to Support it
In the poem “Once Upon a Time” the author enhances them through character by conveying the character as an emotionally depressed father who is telling a story to his son. “Once upon a time, son.” This shows that after growing up, adults become familiarized with the world and hence start to change. After having kids, they get a sense of how much they have changed and look for joy and happiness through their children. In the poem “Once Upon a Time” the author enhances the theme through character by conveying the story teller as an adult who hates his personality and visualizes his past self in his son. “So show me, son, how to laugh; show me how I used to laugh and smile. Once upon a time when I was like you”. This depicts that most adults who regret how they live, find joy in their children and that they usually relate their past selves as their children. Seeing how happy and carefree their children are makes them realize how much they have changed and want to be more like how they were before.
In the poem “Once Upon a Time” by Gabriel Okara the author tries to convey the lost innocence of youth and the fake personalities of adults in today’s world.
1. Point- In the poem “Once Upon a Time” the author tries to show the loss of the innocence that children have.
Evidence- “so show me, son, how to laugh; show me how I used to laugh and smile once upon a time when I was like you” (Stanza 7)
Explanation- This stanza proves that the author is trying to show us that as we grow older we lose the innocence we used to have as children. When the author says to his son “show me how to laugh and smile … when I was like you” he suggests that his sons laugh is still pure and is not fake like his.
2. Point- In the poem “Once Upon a Time” the author tries to show how adults in today’s world are all have fake personalities.
Evidence- “I have learnt to wear many faces like dresses” (Stanza 4)
Explanation- This stanza shows that the author is trying to convey that adults learn to show meaningless emotions by comparing emotions to dresses. That says that the emotions are just material things and have no meaning on the inside.
Persona & Attitude:
In the poem “Once Upon a Time” by Gabriel Okara the narrative element of persona and attitude plays a large role in conveying the author’s message. In the poem “Once Upon a Time” the author uses a reminiscent tone to convey his message. “There was a time indeed they used to shake hands with their hearts” (stanza 2) He uses a reminiscent tone to try to show people how great it was when you where a child and used to have real emotions compared to how it is when you are grown up and they literally mean nothing. In the poem “Once Upon a Time” the author uses a sarcastic tone to convey his message. “Once Upon a Time” When he says once upon a time he is using sarcasm to say that real emotions are just as unbelievable as fairy tales. In conclusion the Gabriel Okara uses persona and attitude to help convey the theme.
The purpose of the poem is to tell people to be real around others and show their real feelings. You don’t have to change just because people around you are. The targeted audience for this poem are adults because the father is the one who is telling his son to make him the way he was.
Born in April 21, 1921, in Bumodi,Nigeria
Nigerian poet and novelist whose verse had been translated into several languages by the early 1960s
A largely self-educated man
Became a bookbinder after leaving school and soon began writing plays and features for radio
In 1953 his poem “The Call of the River Nun” won an award at the Nigerian Festival of Arts
1.Where was Gabriel Okara born?
2.What was the simile mentioned in the connotation of the TP-CASTT?
3. What is one of the two tones mentioned in the persona/attitude element?
4. What is the main idea of the thesis?
5. What was the name of the poem that Gabriel Okara won a award for at the Nigerian Festival of Arts?