‘A very old man with enormous wings’ is a story which entails a lot of symbolism and characterization and is contained in more than a single place in the story. Such symbolic scenes are included especially when sea and sky is termed to be a single ash grey thing, also when the child dies because of the crabs. Symbols include wings which are used in the story to represent power, the speed and the limitation of freedom of the motion.
The angels used in the story are often represented as the winged beings, and the author used the cultural symbolism. This is because the wings are used to symbolize the “angel” and the story conveys a sense of disease and age. Even if the wings of old man become dirty, they still attract the crowd of pilgrims magically. Also when the doctor of the village examines the old man, he learns the wings naturally fit with the other parts of the body and wonders further why not everyone is having wings. The final suggestion is that the old man is both supernatural and natural because of having wings of the messenger who was heavenly sent.
There was a spider woman who in the story represents how the selfish people who only care about their interests approach their own faith. This is justified when the villagers flock to the house of Pelayo after hearing the news of the ‘angel’. This was because they were motivated by their own faith and confident with him that miracles will be performed. But in surprise, the old man proved to perform just a minor miracle and was easily able to teach a moral lesson to the flock of people. The author here strongly suggests that the pilgrims’ and the result-oriented faith isn’t really faith in all case.