Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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The short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is subtitled ‘A Tale for Children’, however; the complicated story line may not likely be understood by a child (319). The story’s theme of magic realism coincides with the lesson the author tries to teach on exploitation. Although it is not clearly portrayed one could assume, due to the author’s history, that the story takes place in rural Columbia. The small village, close to the sea, had experienced rain for several days, and crabs overrun their streets and homes. The author describes the beach which usually glimmers in the moonlight as ‘a stew of mud and rotten shellfish’ (319). The names of the characters in the tale give another reason to assume the story takes place in Columbia. Little is known of the homeowners Pelayo and Elisenda; he is a bailiff and she seemingly a housewife. The most we know of them is that they are opportunistic and not kind enough to go out of their way to help the old man out of the mud. Father Gonzaga, the town’s priest was once a wood cutter. He is skeptical of the man they all believe to be an angel, and tries throughout the story to disprove the theory. The most complete description of any character in the story is that of the old man. The supposed angel brings the magical side of this tale together. An old man with wings so seemingly naturally placed on his frail otherwise human body. He was poorly dressed, nearly bald, and had very few teeth. He spoke with an ‘incomprehensible dialect with a strong sailor’s voice’, and his hue wings were dirty and most of his feathers were missing (319). He was weak and pathetic, hardly what one would envision as an angel. He had great patience and endured taunting and prodding from the crowd of people who gathered around the chicken coop where he was held captive. The story unfolds with events taking place in the order in which they occur. The man is discovered in the mud, he is held captive in the chicken coop,...
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