A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Essay

Words: 740
Pages: 3

“A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings,” written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is a children’s tale depicting a world of both humans and magical beings, which seem to be commonplace throughout the story. One such creature is the focus of this short story - a fallen angel who was found by Pelayo, who has a wife and sick son. The unifying theme of this short story is the exploitation and treatment of those perceived as weak - in this case, the angel, who may as well not be considered one. The angel’s presence heals their dying son, and soon after, the couple decides that they should keep the angel in their chicken coop to charge passerby curious of seeing a real angel. The family’s “showcase” of this angel grants them tremendous wealth, and yet, it seems as if the family are not thankful for this old man’s kindness, despite changing their entire lives. The story ends with the angel fully healed, and Elisenda watching him as he becomes an “imaginary dot on the horizon of the sea” (Marquez, 633).

The angel itself
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The author creates a reality of his own where magic is depicted throughout the story, not as a focus, but as a catalyst for the true motif of “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings.” The contrasts of human and nonhuman - earthly and supernatural - furthers the concept of frailty versus power. One would expect the angel or celestial being to have the dominant role in a story, but in this case, humans - mortal creatures - are in authority. The relationship between the old angel and the couple were nothing short of strange - despite being treated like a circus animal, the angel never seems to outwardly protest his mistreatment. Furthermore, despite the angel being directly responsible for their newfound wealth, Elisenda shouts that is “awful living in that hell full of angels,” showing that she is not at all thankful of the angel’s presence in their lives (Marquez,