The writer

Outer characterization

The writer is the first character mentioned in the short story “Once Upon a Time” by Nadine Gordimer. The writer only appears in the outer story and is unnamed. 

There is no indication of the writer’s outer characterization. The only thing that readers know is that the writer lives alone. The writer might be a woman, as her fear is triggered by the memory of a woman being murdered on her street: “A woman was murdered (how do they put it) in broad daylight in a house two blocks away.”. We also know that she does not have “burglar bars” at her house or a “gun under the pillow”, which is in contrast with the defenses set up by the husband and wife in the writer’s imagined story.

Inner characterization

When the writer is convinced...

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