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Fear and the Danger Barrier

            Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things. Fear is an emotion that everyone at some point in life feels, whether is fear of a spider, death or even life itself, we have all felt it. The existence of fear leads us to put up walls or barriers. For example when someone is afraid of being hurt by other people emotionally they stop themselves from opening up and connecting with others.In Natalie Gordimer's Once Upon a Time she tells a story of a family living in a society where there is anarchy and Riots all around, so to protect themselves they install an alarm system, burglar bars on the windows, put up a brick wall and installed razor bladed coils all around the wall.In the story the reader sees the family put up all these safeguards to protect their home and possessions so much so they are unable to see the beautiful neighborhood they once had and there own yard is now dangerous for their son. Gordimer shows the reader that sometimes people we are so afraid of something that they put up barriers that hinder them from living instead of helping.
             It is first evident that all these precautions may be more trouble than they are worth when the new alarm they installed goes off, however there was not a burglar but instead the family cat.Not only did the family's alarms continuously go off but so did all the other homes in the neighborhood with pets.This is shown when Gordimer points out, " the alarm was often answered- seemed - by other burglar alarms, in other houses, . " (Gordimer 234). If the purpose of alarms are to notify the homeowner when someone is breaking in, how is it useful when it is continuously going off because of the cat? This creates a case of the boy who cried wolf, the boy was continuously misleading the town people by saying there was a wolf, so when there was actually a wolf nobody believed him.

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