A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings and Its Magical Realism
Angels are commonly thought of to be elegant, beautiful creatures usually wearing white with a spiritual presence, not disease infested beings that wallow in their own filth. This idea served to a great Colombian writer for one of his most important works endowed with magical realism. Magical Realism is a technique that blends real and supernatural events together to make the supernatural seem real. In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, magic really stands out because it contains two very supernatural events. The two major supernatural occurrences in the story are the old man with wings and the girl who has been turned into a spider. The people in the story treat the old man as an oddity, but not as a supernatural oddity: more a freak of nature than something beyond nature. The old man appears to be nothing more than a frail human with wings, and so his status as an angel is endlessly debated. Father Gonzaga thinks that he cannot be an angel because he lacks dignity and splendor. Of course this begs the question of whether the angel lacks dignity intrinsically, or whether he lacks dignity because of the way he is treated (cooped up in a chicken cage). Perhaps it is the people who lack dignity, not the old man. The old man's other supernatural characteristic (his incredible patience in the face of his treatment) does not make much of an impression on the majority of the people, who are happy to exploit him until bored with him. The Spider-Girl is a clear contrast with the Old Man. whereas he is difficult, if not impossible to interpret; the Spider-Girl delights the people with the clarity of her story. She disobeyed her parents as so was turned into a spider by god. Unlike the Angel, the people do not debate her status as a spider: it's taken for granted. This tendency of the public to accept supernatural explanations for such simple morality tales but to deny them in...
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