14 March 2013
Mockery of Influence and Intelligence
The short story, A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, mocks the character’s intelligence and how easily influenced they are. Towards the beginning of the story, Pelayo and Elisenda examine the old man; Marquez then states that they “quite intelligently concluded he was a lonely castaway from some foreign ship wrecked by the storm”. Marquez uses the term intelligently to mock the conclusion made by Pelayo and Elisenda. The conclusion seems to have come from the man’s dialect, which resembled that of a sailor. The conclusion is not fully intelligent because important pieces such as the wings the man had were not put into consideration. If this was put into consideration then they may have concluded that the winged man was in fact an abnormal creature not from the same world.
Even after Pelayo and Elisenda make their intelligent conclusion, they still ask for the input of their neighbor, who Marquez describes her to know “everything about life and death.” The neighbor concludes that the winged man is an angel. She states, “ He must have been coming down for the child, but the poor fellow is sold that the rain knocked him down.” Of course Pelayo and Elisenda take her conclusion because she is knowledgeable when it comes to life and death. This shows how easily influenced the characters are by someone who is believed to know more than them.
Since the conclusion has been made that the winged man is an angel, it attracts different people in seek of help. In the story it states, “The most unfortunate invalids on earth came in search for health.” People have become convinced that the man is an angel and believe he can perform miracles. This mocks how easily influenced humans can be. The community has taken the word of the neighbor and accepted that in fact the man is an angel. With this assumption, they assume the angel can resolve their problems.
Another point in the story that mocks the character’s intelligence is when the winged man started to become weak and lose most of his feathers. Pelayo and Elisenda noticed that the winged man had a high temperature and also was speaking deliriously. They assumed he may have been dying. Marquez made an interesting point when he wrote, “even the wise neighbor woman had not been able to tell them what to do with dead angels.” It is very interesting that Marquez points this out to his audience because in the beginning this wise woman is who made the conclusion that led everyone to believe the man was an angel. Now this woman who knows about life and death has no clue whatsoever on the condition of the angel. This shows another attempt at Marquez mocking the human intelligence. The woman may be wise, but not wise enough. Just because she knows about life and death, does not mean she knows every aspect of it and who and what it can affect.
When Marquez brings in the character who is a woman turned into a spider, it brings the spotlight back to how easily influence the characters are . The woman gives a story of how she disobeyed her parents and went to dance. Her punishment for disobeying her parents was