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Free «Very Old Man with Enormous Wings» Essay Sample


“Very old man with enormous wings” ironically examines the human reaction to the people who are weak, reliant and different. These are times of striking brutality and insensitivity within the story.

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is a story written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is written in using a style known “magic realism”. This is an imaginative style which uses pragmatic, daily details with characters of fantasy, hazing the reader’s normal dissimilarities between reality and magic. The story is about a winged old man who is housed by a couple in the kitchen coop. the man attracts some attention from the villagers who come to view him and have him perform miracles. The style is imagery whereby the author plays against the conventional stereotypes of angels. Angels are normally supernatural and are expected to be presented in images that communicate magnificence, excellence, wisdom as well as grace. In definition, angels are compared with human beings; even if they look like human beings physically, they are super human in all conceivable ways. Human beings are normally not compassionate towards the needy and the dependant people within the society and use every available opportunity to benefit themselves. The couple takes advantage of the old man to enrich themselves.



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One day when Pelayo was killing crabs, he discovered a destitute, disoriented old man within his country yard; the old man had very large wings. “On the third day of rain they had killed so many crabs inside the house that Pelayo had to cross his drenched courtyard and throw them into the sea, because the newborn child had a temperature all night and they thought it was due to the stench” (García 26). The old man is dirty and actually senile and speaks using an incoherent language. After consultation with a neighboring woman, Pelayo and his wife, conclude that the man is an angel who was attempting to take their sickly child to heaven. Their neighbor informs them that they should kill the angel but Pelayo and the wife sympathize with the old man, more so after their child recovers. The couple keeps the old man within their chicken coop and soon the man starts attracting a lot of curious visitors. Father Gonzaga who is the local priest informs the people that there is a likelihood the man is not an angel since he is unkempt and does not speak in Latin (Magill 22-23).

The image of the old man as symbol of belief

While tackling the religious belief of the old man, the author influences the supernatural event, for instance the surfacing of the Old man with enormous wings to center a prying light on the surreptitious and secretive corners of human nature. As a result, the people and society as well are in a conflict with religion and religious faith, and therefore the legitimacy of all of the society, social values in addition to religious faith are in a questionable state. The story “A very old man with enormous wings” brings out a brilliant conflict-line between belief and skepticism, religion and secularism. Still, it brings out the psychological effect of the unusual things on the mind of people which comes out as ennui and greed.

 Wings symbolize power, speed as well as unrestricted freedom of emotion. According to the Christian tradition, angels are regularly presented as beautiful winged bodies, and Garcia Marquez plays this part of cultural symbolism since, ironically, the wings of the “angel” within the story express just a sense of age and disease as well. Even if the old man’s wings might be dirty, unkempt and bare, they are still miraculous to attract crowds of pilgrims and sightseers. When the old man is examined by the village doctor, the doctor discovers that the wings fit within the rest of old man’s body. The eventual effect is suggesting that the old man is natural in addition to being supernatural immediately. The old man has wings suggesting heavenly messenger but all the weaknesses and body ailments of an earthly creature (García 35-36).

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The spider woman symbolizes the fecklessness with which a lot of self-centered individual approach their own faith. When the villagers hear about the “angel” most of them flock to Pelayo’s house. Even if they are partly motivated by faith, their main driving force is to see him perform miracles which is a physical proof their faith is justified. Not astonishingly, the reputation of the old man fades when he proves that he can only perform small consolation miracles. As an alternative, the spectators congregate at the spider woman’s place, who narrates to them about a heart wrenching story with a comprehensible, easy-to-digest lesson in morality which is a sharp contrast to the insignificance of the old man’s existence and function. Even if the spider woman and the winged old man are equally strange, the spider woman is easier to understand. The winged old man, hardly cognizant in his grimy chicken coop, cannot match spider woman’s appeal, even if some people believe that the old man came from heaven. This shows that García Márquez strongly believes and implies that the faith of the pilgrims is not in fact faith at all (García 15). “His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked, were forever entangled in the mud. This quote illustrates the human nature, “They looked at him so long and so closely that Pelayo and Elisenda very soon overcame their surprise and in the end found him familiar” (García 23). The couple’s first impression of the old man is of mucky limbs of scavenger and not magnificent angelic wings. This shows how the author grounds even the most fantastic characters within the scruffiness of everyday life. The second sentence is brings out magical realist fiction. The author implies that if humans can be inured because of the winged man, they can merely as simply neglect the wonders and small miracles of real life. Therefore, this story reminds people that daily life is full of great mysteries as well as wonders that human beings neglect too often (García 25).

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This story brings out how the couple, Pelayo and Elisenda makes use of the old man to become rich. People ignore the old man and give much attention to spider woman. When everyone thought the old man was dying, he regained his health and flew away. This illustrates what we expect of people does not always turn out to be and we should always be compassionate towards one another (García 25-27). 


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