Humans And Our Actions Essay

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Short Story Analysis As humans we continuously feel the need to protect ourselves and that is always our first priority. As a society, we choose to believe the good in those we know and like, while mistrusting and disrespecting outsiders. This idea is firmly demonstrated throughout the texts “Once Upon a Time” by Nadine Gordimer and “The Fat Boy” by Owen Marshall. Shocking events such as the boy’s death and the fat boy’s murder respectively, each help us to understand the true nature of humans and society. Gordimers text “Once Upon a Time” is a mocking story of a naïve family whose son is shockingly killed by their own barbed wire security fence. Set in South African apartheid times, this white family is paranoid about being robbed and murdered by black people. The lengths they go to such as erecting a “continuous coil of stiff and shining metal serrated into jagged blades”, burglar bars, alarms and fences with electronic gates, demonstrate the lengths that the family went to to protect themselves. Because of all these security features, their only son ends up dead. The boy read a fairytale in which a prince braves a thicket of thorns to rescue a princess and so the next day he decides to do the same. The boy climbs his fence and tries to crawl through the barbed wire “getting bloodier and bloodier”. He is soon dead and “the bleeding mass of the little boy was hacked out of the security coil”. This line truly plays to your emotions and shows the violent nature of death and is a shocking end to Gordimer’s story. The boy’s death in “Once Upon a Time” came about because of his families numerous safety precautions. All the fences, alarms and other systems were put in place because of the family’s fear and mistrust of black people who increasingly frequented the area near their home. Ironically, they were never subjected to any hatred, burglary or violence from
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