The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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Finding Faith in “A very Old Man with Enormous Wings”
It may be safe to say that everyone at one time or another has seen something out of the ordinary. Some would even call these rare occurrences “miracles.” What qualifies as a miracle differs from person to person based on their own beliefs. Some believe in fate, and predetermined destiny, and some would write off extraordinary and seemingly supernatural events as merely coincidence. Many find solace in religion, and believe that many happenings, if not everything, are miracles from God. Those who consider themselves religious might even consider themselves more grateful for life’s so called many miracles. Gabriel Garcia Marquez addresses this issue in his short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” The old saying “seeing is believing” does not apply to the characters of this story, as they struggle to make sense of such an outlandish old man, that appears to be an angel. This satirical piece uses the old man as a symbol of faith and religion to mock the role that they play in people’s lives, as well as the overall skeptical nature of humans in general.

Although the old man’s true identity is never known, he is described as a decrepit creature, with no real distinction from other human beings other than his enormous wings. Instead of having a graceful elegant appearance that is normally associated with angels, he is stated as having “buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked.” The description of the old man is one way of demonstrating the human need to reduce the meaning of significant events. An angel like creature has landed in their yard, yet more emphasis is put on the ugliness of the old man. Marquez writes, “… his pitiful condition of a drenched great grandfather had taken away any sense of grandeur that he might have had.” This goes to show how people’s expectations of miracles can blind them from the beauty of what is before them. Despite all of the indications that he is not of the natural...
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