Consequences Of Apartheid In Nadine Gordimer's Once Upon A Time

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Nadine Gordimer is a renowned female writer who was born in Transvaal, South Africa in 1923 and received the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. Throughout Gordimer’s writing career, she repeatedly insinuated the political issues of Apartheid and racism in South Africa and demonstrated to her readers that social inequality can eventually lead to destruction ("Nadine Gordimer”). During the late 1900s, the policy of Apartheid in South Africa segregated nonwhite majorities from the white minorities and prevented them from participating in any business or political activities where white minorities were involved (“Apartheid”). In Gordimer’s work of “Once Upon a Time,” Gordimer describes the catastrophic consequences of Apartheid in her opinion by …show more content…
Unlike most of the fairytales with happy endings, the story of “Once Upon a Time” ends with disaster and chaos. Gordimer 's “Once Upon a Time” is entirely surrounded by the atmosphere of fear. The family lives in constant fear of being killed by frequent burglaries and rioters. Their excessive trepidation about the dangers of the outside world causes them to continuously enhance the security of their house which traps the family in a physical prison that they built. Ironically, the tragedies and the chaos of the family at the end of the story are not caused by the burglaries and rioters but by their fear. By utilizing the rhetoric elements, Gordimer conveys the concept that irrational fears of people are often caused by their misinterpretation of the situation and reveals the truth that the policy of Apartheid in South Africa was mainly due to social and political …show more content…
At the beginning of the story, Gordimer describes the man’s mother as a “wise old witch” who warns the family about their safety by telling them “not to take on anyone of the street” (Gordimer 25). The “wise old witch” symbolizes the group of people who issues and supports the legalization of Apartheid and the segregation of races. Due to the ignorance of the man and wife, they are convinced by the "wise old witch" who pays for the bricks and allows the family to enhance their security by building a higher wall. The wall that the family builds represents the policy of racial segregation in South Africa during late 1900s. The people who enforced the policy of Apartheid thought racial segregation as a form of self-protection in terms of economy and politics. For instance, under the policy of racial segregation “Black people sold their labour power for wages, while the whites structured their economic and political base” (Rotich, Ilieva, and Walunywa 133). During the period of Apartheid, whites treated all non-whites as threats due to their success in economy; these white people believed that only through enforcing the racial segregation and taking away the rights of non-white majorities, could their status be secured and benefits be protected. When the man and the wife feel that the high wall is no longer enough to ensure their security after hearing that

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