In our past two classes, we read a short story called Once Upon a Time by Nadine Gordimer. The story was a parody of a fairy tale which explored darker world themes including racism and segregation. I had some understanding of the story when we read it in class, but I acquired most of my understanding when answering critical thinking questions afterwards with the class. While reading it, I was shocked by it's gruesome ending. When taking a second thought, I realized the harsh ending was necessary to show how our own fear and paranoia about society can lead us into insanity and can cause us to hurt ourselves as opposed to our intention of protecting ourselves. I was able to identify some elements, but others took great thought to figure out, such as the evil witch and the symbolism of the brick wall. My strengths in story analysis and comprehension are understanding the mood/tone and message of short stories and my areas that I need to improve are understanding symbolism and irony.