Referencing Events

Referencing Events



Referring to the annotations you made for homework, discuss the following with your classmates.

  • What connections did you make between current events and the short story “Once Upon a Time”? Explain.

Once Upon a Time

Work Time

With a partner, complete the following tasks.

  • Plot the six most important events in “Once Upon a Time.”
  • Next, discuss together what you think the author, Nadine Gordimer, is saying about life in South Africa. Take notes on important ideas raised during your discussion and how they might connect with life in other countries, like the United States.
  • Write a response to the question, “At what plot points did you personally feel most intensely sad, angry, or disturbed?”
  • Return to your annotations and try to trace back what in the writing led to your feelings.

Open Notebook

Juvenalian Lines

Work Time

Consider the following prompts.

  • Which lines in “Once Upon a Time” make it especially Juvenalian, or harsh or bitter? Find at least three with your partner.
  • Annotate and explain your thinking.

Share one of the lines you chose with the whole class. Explain why you chose it.

Can Literature Make a Difference?


An interviewer once asked Gordimer if literature can make a difference. She responded:

“Has it not always done this? Most people don’t make the distinction between literature and propaganda. Propaganda has its place. It seeks to persuade people. But literature, poetry, novels, stories—these are an exploration of life."

“Albert Camus said: ‘The moment when I am no more than a writer, I shall cease to write.’ He was saying that if you are a writer, you are also a human being, a citizen, and therefore you have social responsibility as well. This doesn’t mean you’ve got to write propaganda, but that you should explore life. That is what he, and other great writers, did so magnificently. We couldn’t really live without the result of their exploration.”

  1. Find one piece of Gordimer’s quote that interests you and explain your choice in one to two paragraphs. Make a connection to the story if possible.
  2. Share your work. Read and comment on a couple of your classmates’ paragraphs.

Open Notebook