“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is a fascinating narration that can be appreciated as a captivating tale for children as well as an intriguing fiction for the adult reader. This children tale develops in a mixture of fantasy and realism scenario, which characterizes the style of the author of this story, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Norton 428). The narrative is about the appearance of an old man, with the physiognomy of an angel that appears in the backyard of Pelayo and Elisenda, a poor couple, from a town near a coast. Despite the appearances, the fundamental aspect of this tale is not the supernatural look of this old man, but the community attitudes toward the unknown. This can be observed as the news of the arrival of a "flesh-and-blood angel" is rapidly spread among the neighbors of Pelayo and Elisenda, and the comments and judgments are not slow to appear (Marquez 270). While the villagers consider him a true angel, the pastor distrusts his celestial nature, since the creature does not speak “the language of God” (270). Therefore, in this tale Marquez use the characters of this story as a way to criticize the way people think without looking beyond what they are facing.
The old man, or angel, anti-hero role serves to shape the ideas behind the central theme of this tale. Besides his strange arrival in the story, the reader is only able to know more about the old man outlook than his personality. The first concise description of the main character is found in the story title, it does not speak of an angel, but "a very old man" (269). The only thing that allows to recognize this mystic creature as an angel is his "enormous wings," because without it i...
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...rding to the wisdom of the wise neighbor woman was the food prescribed for angels (270). This ignorance in which they fell was later the subject of disappointment, as they believed that the angel would meet their requests that did not happen.
"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is a social critic on the mindset of people about different ideas. It is also a story that causes extensive discussion about the symbolism, which allows many interpretations, but the main message as social critique is presented by Márquez is mainly through the characters attitudes and actions. The angel then, serves as a representative of the unknown world and the treatment of his hosts and onlookers shows their way of not accepting the unknown. In other words, the angel’s role in the story is to reflect the limits of human reasoning about things different from everyday life.
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