Gabriel Garcia Marquez's A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

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When society grows to expect the divine in times of need, skeptics arise to chastise the legitimacy and quality of a gift from heaven, lamenting what could be described as a miracle as lacking in the quantity of holiness as society desires. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” was written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as a political and religious allegory written in Columbia in 1955 and detailing the decaying faith in the hearts of Columbian citizens during La Violencia, a period the World Peace Foundation describes as “a scene of widespread and systematic political violence” caused by “a breakdown of existing institutional structures and a partial collapse of the state” (“Mass Atrocity Endings”). Commenting on how the political collapse and immense…show more content…
Misunderstood in the very literal sense in this text, as not even priests nor the neighbor who was described to “know everything about life and death” (Marquez, 388) are able to decipher the angel’s language, in times of societal horror, religion is doubted and misunderstood as it does not appear to deliver the blessings of hope and prosperity spiritual texts optimistically ensure in times of need. However, even when humanity is at an all-time low, miracles are just as abundant as ever, if perhaps lacking the manner and weight in which one would typically describe a miracle. The angel in the text is accredited several seemingly minor and disappointing miracles for a town’s resident angel to appoint upon the townsfolk, such as the paralytic man who almost won the lottery. As a review of a theatre adaptation of Marquez’s story explains, the villagers are using this man to “project their acute want” (Ritter, Everyday Wonders) onto. Since the nature of these miracles that he has been given credit for do not serve the greatest needs addressing these individuals or the public at these times, they are overlooked and discarded in favor for what’s seen as better entertainment, or the woman who…show more content…
He is overlooked, abused, and eventually completely forgotten, very similar to how many in Columbia viewed the Roman Catholic Church as their lives and country were falling apart. However, the angel, or the faith itself separate and even doubted by the church itself, still provides for the family in ways that completely changes their lives. The child at the beginning of the story is ill and it is inferred was nearing death as the neighbor believed the angel was possibly sent from heaven to receive the child, but merely the night after the angel arrives the infant becomes well. On top of this, the family monetizes on the angel’s presence in their chicken coop, charging money to visit him, making enough money to leave their old life behind and purchase a mansion and live a life of luxury. This is perhaps symbolic of the way many are granted in life what a religious person would deem a gift from God, such as a talent in performance or art, superior intellect, or mere instances of luck such as striking gold in the previously perceived to be a wasteland of the American West, that is taken for granted without any sentiment of thankfulness. Faith often finds itself at its lowest point in the greatest times of need, as all the wishes of those suffering are projected in such an unrealistic manner that cannot be achieved at the level

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