12 April 2013
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
The primary purpose of literary fiction is to reveal some truth about life, by way of art, encapsulated in story. Add all the pieces of truth up in the story and we have a unifying concept called theme. Literary devices are used by authors to express theme. “Once upon a time” is an excellent piece of literary work written by Nadine Gordimer. Gordimer brilliantly uses suspense, indirect presentation, and unhappy ending to generate theme. In this short story, the author cleverly identifies how man can create his or her own fear, prison, and ultimately, his or her own destruction. Suspense is needed to keep the reader interested in reading further to find out what is going to happen next or at the conclusion of the story. There are two types of suspense; mystery and dilemma. Mystery “is an unusual set of circumstances for which the reader craves an explanation.” ( Arp and Johnson 681) Dilemma “is a situation in which a character must choose between two courses of action, both undesirable.” (680) The author uses many suspenseful incidents in the story to not only convey mystery and dilemma but also defines how this creates fear in the characters. Gordimer describes how the main characters in the story are influenced by their neighbors not to interact with other strangers, how riots were just on the other side of town, and how there were violent attacks taking place in their own neighborhood. Gordimer prompts the reader to wonder if the characters will be safe and creates a scenario in which the characters are stuck in their own environment. The suspense and dilemma portrayed should prompt the reader to ask “Why do they still wish to live there? Who do they not just move? The riots and violent attacks are sufficient in justification.” Indirect presentation of character is a “method of characterization in which the author shows us a character in action, compelling us to infer what the...
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