A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Analysis

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By using magical concepts in his story to stimulate the reader’s imagination, Gabriel Garcia Marquez obscures the serious theme behind “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”. With the subtitle to this story of “A Tale for Children”, one is lead to believe that this is a fantasy written to entertain children using magical realism. However, there is a much deeper premise for this story which is seen after analysis. The story examines how humans react to supernatural occurrences and disrespect the importance of these occurrences by projecting only the secular world into their thinking and abandoning the essence of their religious faith. Throughout the story, Marquez interjects subtle satirical commentary on the Catholic Church and the church’s believers.…show more content…
After many days of rain which has made the main supporting characters’ child sick, the old man lands as if dropped by the wind in the mud in the backyard of a couple, Pelayo and Elisanda, who become the old man’s caretakers. The very old man had huge buzzard wings, was dirty from the mud, and half plucked (1). Dressed in rags and not at all supernatural in his appearance except for the wings and his arrival, the old man reminded the couple of a great-grandfather. Trying to comprehend by using their everyday knowledge where the old man came from in their factual reasoning by ignoring his wings, the couple determine that he was a lonely castaway from some foreign shipwreck because of “his foreign language and deep sailor’s voice” (1). The couple purposely overlooks the wings because the wings do not fit their ordinary ideas. The couple ends up making a lot of money to better their lives from displaying the old man with wings to the world and charging admission (2). The thought to treat the old man with wings better never occurs to the couple as they are greedy and selfish. After the old man loses the interest of the crowd, the couple loses interest also and he is a nuisance rather than an important supernatural being (3). Elisanda feels like she is living in “a hell full of angels” (3). Only the couple’s child seems to understand and appreciate the old man…show more content…
The couple’s neighbor who the only known item about her is she knew everything about life and death (1) is the one who declares the old man an angel. This knowing everything woman seems to be the closest person in the story in touch with their spiritual beliefs even if they are misguided. She never doubts her conclusion and never tries to make the angel ordinary. The wise neighbor believed the angel was initially a dark angel who came to take the sick child (1). The wise neighbor advised the couple to kill the angel (1). This is very analogous to the Jews who were afraid of Jesus and wanted Him put to death. Nevertheless, the child gets better shortly afterwards and the couple does not kill the old man. However, when the couple ignores the old man’s existence and almost cause him to die from exposure to the elements, the wise woman does not know what to do with a dead angel

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