Flaws of the Old Man

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In looking at 20th century writing, you can see the culmination of previous forms and issues in historical literature, but now being complicated by technology and social innovation. As society and the individual person works away from the earth, from nature, and human origins towards the concepts of urban life, industry, individual economic concerns, the sense of alienation that surrounds life begins to vividly express itself. The purpose of life no longer can only be tied to the inherent “meaning of life” that one may say exists in unbridled human nature interacting with the earthly or spiritual nature; Instead, the striated layers of society, organization, innovation, etc. pile on top of one’s supposed core needs (for these purposes, we’ll stick with something like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs; not in vivid detail); Basically whatever the core needs are, in this case we’ll say the basic needs for an organism to survive, and ignore psychological needs for the sake of space. So Water, Sun, Food, Reproduction; aside from these things, in our needs hierarchy everything else is not essential. With the application of knowledge though, the concept of evolution and achievement appears (achievement I’ll tie to psychological need for recognition; to outdo another and prove one’s virtue; Machiavellian type of virtue) and different perspectives come to fruition. Each of the stories of this week approached these layers differently, but in particular I really enjoyed, and found many interesting connections within A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The winged Old Man initially represents the fulfillment of hope in the eyes of the town and its people; a measure of magic and splendor dosed into their daily lives. Howe... ... middle of paper ... ..., even if their own benefits outweigh the work they themselves have to put in. Additionally, this tale could be indicative of how humanity views religion in a modern context – The Old Man, who if we are assuming is, in fact, divine, is a tool of Elisenda and Ponyo for their own benefit. Given the disparity in mood towards Christianity as an entity or a structure in modern time, with less stress on spirituality, this could prove to be an interesting point. In this case, the angel, not being what he is expected to, is seen similarly as an end to a mean. Although one could argue that the family does not seem to do this implicitly, as in “I’m going to use this person for money”, they indeed do feel burdened by the heavenly gift, not even realizing their flaws, just the flaws of the Old Man, not living up to the expectations set by the context of the human world.

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