All people in “A Very Old Man” are very unique, not just the title character. The winged man is certainly an enigma, not looking or acting like typical angels. The winged man had a mostly bald head, only a few teeth, and “huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked” (García Márquez 929) and “strewn with parasites” (García Márquez 930). This winged man does not meet the people’s qualifications for an angel, since they believe that angels should be youthful, beautiful, and healthy, qualities that the winged man does not possess; like Rubén Pelayo claims in his essay “The Short Stories”, the townspeople “all believe in winged angels, but in a preconceived fashion.” Aside from the title character, the townspeople in this story are also unprecedented in literature. Rubén Pelayo states “the townspeople do not really consider the very old man as an angel, yet their curiosity leads them to come and gawk as if he were a rare circus animal.” Indeed, the entire neighborhood arrives at the chicken coop in Pelayo and Elisenda’s backya...
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...seeing magic as miraculous unless they can be used as a cash cow or somehow benefit themselves. The theme works with the characters and tone to make this magical realism story go down in literary history.
“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is a literary classic, one of the best examples of magical realism in literature. The characters, from the mundane to the supernatural, are part of what makes the story literary significant. The tone of this tale also makes it a placeholder in the history of literature, its deadpan voice being a characteristic of García Márquez’s brand of magical realism. The theme also makes the story literary significant, connecting to magical realism by showing how the magical would be perceived in the mundane world. The story’s characters, tone, and theme makes García Márquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” hold literary significance.
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