Human Nature in a Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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A Look into Human Nature

The story of "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" was originally written in 1955 in Spanish, titled ‘‘Un señor muy viejo con alas enormes." This story is categorized in a style called "magical realism." This style is also associated with its author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Magical realism incorporates real everyday details with elements of fantasy. It is done in such a manner that it can disguise the distinction between reality and fiction. This style, often associated with South American authors, differs from typical fairy tales and folk legends because "stories of magic realism lead to no clear morals or simple truths" (). These stories provide rich examples of a world with magical possibilities but often leave the reader searching for its meaning. "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is just that story. Although the plot revolves around a winged man who has fallen from the skies, the underlining theme to this story is the townspeople's negative nature which conflicts their inability to appreciate a miracle.

This story is filled with the use of symbolism in order to demonstrate the negativity of human nature. The story begins painting the setting and stating that "sea and sky were a single ash gray" (269) and the "sands had become… a stew of mud and rotten shellfish." (269) This picture of a negative atmosphere is painted and therefore a negative atmosphere is painted over the people. This hints that people in this town are all coming from a negative environment. Another form of symbolism embedded in story is through the contrast of the old winged man and the spider lady. The spider lady was this "woman who had been changed into a spider for Martin 2

disobeying her parents." Although it never really states whether the old winged man was an angel or not, he is a clear representation of an angel or perhaps Jesus. He fell from the heavens, was misunderstood, an endured hardships on earth. The spider-lady on the...
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