Narrator and point of view

“Once Upon a Time” by Nadine Gordimer is narrated as a story within a story. In the outer story, the first-person narrator is also the main character. The narrator is a writer, who gets scared by strange noises she hears in the house. The events are interpreted from the narrator’s perspective. For example, the narrator is initially convinced that someone has broken into the house. It is only later that the narrator realizes the origin of the noises.

The inner story features a third-person narrator. This happens as the first-person narrator switches perspectives, when she no longer focuses on her experience but tries to imagine a bedtime story:

In a house, in a suburb, in a city, there were a man and his wife who loved each other very much and were living ha...

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