Marquez’s View of Humanity in “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”
A lot can be told about humanity in literature, especially in that which falls into the genre of “magical realism.” This genre forces readers to think outside of their comfort zones and embrace new ideas and possibilities. In “An Old Man with Enormous Wings”, Gabriel Garcia Marquez combines his writing with the genre of magical realism to address the Columbian political and religious conflict during the late 1960s, as well as humanity as a whole through the character’s reactions and the contrast of the ordinary and extraordinary throughout the story.
The genre of “magical realism” allows writers to create a whole new world for their readers. It combines real situations with…show more content… Gabriel Garcia Marquez says, “The simplest among them thought that he should be named mayor of the world. Others of sterner mind felt that he should be promoted to the rank of five-star general in order to win all wars” (“A Very Old Man”). In these lines, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is using symbolism to illustrate how the different types of Columbian citizens responded to the changing religious aspects of their society. Although the priest claimed that the angel was an imposter, there were certain people who didn’t believe him. In the story, Marquez classifies the priest as “a robust woodcutter” (“A Very Old Man”) before he actually became a priest (Pelayo 78). This fact, in addition to the lines that read, “Father Gonzaga went into the chicken coop and said good morning to him in Latin. The parish priest had his first suspicion of an imposter when he saw that he did not understand the language of God or know how to greet his ministers” represent how futile the attempts of the Church were to sway people to follow them, and how little credibility the Church actually had (“A Very Old Man”). Gabriel Garcia Marquez is mocking the Roman Catholic Church by presenting the religious authorities as unrespectable (Janes par. 4). Even still, some people believed that the winged man was indeed an angel, while others were more skeptical. Those who believed he was an angel reflect those who supported the new changes and believed that the new ideas would solve all of their problems on their own. The angel itself represents religion, however, the people’s reactions to the angel represent their faith, of lack there-of. By presenting multiple views on religion through the reactions of the townspeople, Marquez left the people of Columbia free to choose which side to identify with, and ultimately mold society in that light (Goodwin