Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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The Art of Magical Realism in “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”

            Author Gabriel Márquez brings his readers into the world of magical realism when he introduces the story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”. In the beginning of the story an old man with “huge buzzard wings” (400) is discovered by two characters, Elisenda and Pelayo, face down in the mud near their beach home. In the second sentence, Márquez states that “the world had been sad since Tuesday” (399) and the reason behind this sentence is to create the sense of realism from the very beginning of the story. With that being said, it mingles the coexistence of fantasy and reality into one story. The idea that the world is sad and because it’s been raining for three days gives a dark and gloomy setting, however, at the same time, this statement humanizes the world by implying that it has feelings. The world cannot feel sadness in reality, but in the fantasy world it does and the meaning can be both clear and unclear at the same time. The two most popular symbols which appear time and time again is the old mans’ wings which represents power and freedom of movement within the earth, and the spider woman, which is representable of the peoples capricious approach to their own faith.             The old man enters into the lives of the whole town as a humble and elderly man who apparently has huge unanticipated wings. He is first seen by Pelayo and Elisenda who stare at him so long that “in the end [they] found him familiar” (400). His attire is the very opposite of what he is expected to look like and he appears to be neither fully human nor fully supernatural. He is the ideal image of a living myth apart from the fact that he is dirty and dressed in rags. His wings should mean power and freedom of motion, yet they were useless against the rain and as a result he becomes powerless and entrapped under them on the beach. As tradition, Christians often detail angels as beautifully structured...
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