“Once Upon a Time” by Nadine Gordimer establishes itself as a modern fairy tale. It tells the story of a happy family living in an affluent suburb of South Africa who moves emotionally from contentment to fear as they protect and isolate themselves from the rest of the population.
It is a reverse fairy tale in order to represent her views of apartheid South Africa. A fairy tale is a type of short story about fairies or other mythical or magical beings. Gordimer uses fairy tale elements such as the simple language, conflict between good and evil, and the use of a moral to create her own fairy tale.
Although the story has several obvious fairy tale elements, a “once upon a time” beginning, a happy family of good law-abiding people, who license their dog, insure against fire, flood and damage, and a wise old witch, the author employs several other fairy tale devices in the story. First, there is the use of simple, repetitive language like that in a fairy tale: “in a house, in a suburb, in a city there was a man and his wives who loved each other very much and were living happily ever after. They had a little boy and they loved him very much. They had a cat and a dog …” Phrases such as “trusted housemaid”, “you are right, said the wife” and “itinerant gardener” are repeated many times.
In addition to simple repetitive language, flowery, descriptive language used to embellish a story is employed in fairy tales. The language Nadine Gordimer uses in her story is reminiscent of children’s stories and fairy tales and “once upon a time” establishes itself as a modern fairy tale.
Harlem Renaissance: It’s importance in American history and literature
The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the 1920s and 1930s.During the 1920s and into the 1930s, African American literature flourished during the Harlem Renaissance. The importance of this movement to African American literary art lies in the efforts of its writers to exalt the heritage of African Americans and to use their unique culture as a means toward re-defining African American literary expression. With greater possibilities for artistic self-determination, the writers of the Harlem Renaissance produced a sizable body of work, often exploring such themes as alienation and marginality. Several writers, including Hughes relied particularly on the rich folk tradition (oral culture, folktales, jazz and blues composition) to create unique literary forms.
Dream Deferred : in context of Harlem Renaissance
Hughes is considered among the most important of the movement called “The Harlem Renaissance.” The Harlem Renaissance was composed of primarily African-American artists who “simultaneously expressed the desire for an integrated world and a warning to those who would try to keep the black race subservient.” This poem expresses those sentiments. It is an encouragement for those oppressed by racism to continue the good fight and be assured that one day they will see their dreams become reality. The poem “Dream Deferred” is written in context with Harlem renaissance as it encouraged African-Americans to dream, take advantage of new opportunities. Langston Hughes talks about “a raisin in the sun” , he focuses on the effect of racism on African-Americans.
The author is not merely to document incidents of racism and show its practical effects.. The specific theme is dreams and ambitions, and the way that living in a racist society prevents subalterns from having the opportunities to pursue their dreams freely and succeed at them. The dream that Hughes refers to represents the hopes for social equality with whites that African Americans had cherished for so long but that always been frustrated. The ending warns that a dream may explode i. e. that African Americans could react violently to the constant rejection of their demands. This scenario implies that continuing to ignore the discrimination against African Americans could hurt the entire American society and expose how little inclusive the American Dream really was.
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