Old Man with Enormous Wings

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a short titled story, “ A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” This story examines the human response to those who are weak, dependent, and viewed differently. Throughout the story, there are moments of cruelty, and callousness, beginning when an old man is found lying face down in a pile of mud with huge buzzard wings. With no knowledge as to what kind of creature the man is, the family took him in to be examined, used as entertainment, and eventually used his un-canning features to their benefit. By the close of the story, Marquez has drawn out that as humans, we do not admire what we can not understand. The story begins after a long storm, when a man named Pelayo is getting rid of crab carcasses that have left his child ill. As he is returning to his home, he finds an old man with large wings, who is filthy and appears to speak an unknown language. Belittled and unsure of what to do with him, Pelayo runs home to get his wife, Elisenda, where they then observe his “huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked, were forever entangled in the mud. 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” (11-13). When the husband and wife first see what is thought to be an angel, it is surprising that they focus more on his appearance, choosing to view him as dirty and disgusting, rather than amazing and a different creature. As the old man lays in the mud with what appears to be wings, it is a display of how easily people tend to overlook the wonders in

front of them, just because he is seen as gruesome and his wings set him apart from the normal human nature. Elisenda and Pelayo then took the old man in, housing him in a chicken coop, treating him like nothing less than the hens that lived there. Without the slightest bit of guilt, or feeling for this old man, the surrounding neighborhoods had driven in to take sight of the unknown creature. “..tossing him...
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