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A Comparison of the Magic in "the Rocking-Horse Winner" and "a Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"

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A Comparison of the Magic in "The Rocking-Horse Winner" and "A Very Old Man With

Enormous Wings"

Magic arises out of the two main characters of D.H. Lawrence's "The

Rocking-Horse Winner" and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Paul, in the first story,

pulls out higher forces to help him decide who the winner of the next horse race

will be. In the Marquez story, a nameless and elderly angel lands on earth to

experience first hand the human behavior he strives to correct. The magic in

the air gives these stories a feeling of suspense. They are horrifying, if not

in the Stephen King horror genre. These tales encompass an undeniable amount of

magic, faith, greed, vindication and misunderstanding.

Pelayo and Elisenda, in the Garcia Marquez yarn, find the soul retriever

on his way to take their child to heaven, or so it is thought. The magical

angel's identity had to be discovered by a neighbor of the couple because they

didn't think that an angel could wind up on their land. Who would think of an

angel landing? Meanwhile, Paul doesn't show when he discovers the magical power

of the rocking horse he received as a gift one year. He does ride it often as

Lawrence describes. The stories are bound by the fact that the magical things

they discover are unbelievable at best. They often criticize Paul for his

affection for a horse he should have outgrown long ago. No one would believe

that the rocking-horse essentially talked to him. Although the characters in "A

Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" believe that an angel is in their presence,

they have no idea what to do with him. No one had ever dealt with a spirit on

this level before.

As he rocked back and forth on his rocking horse, Paul had faith in

finding the winner of the next horse race. For some reason they could not

explain, Paul's uncle and Bassett had faith in him to pick it. They kept making

money on the young boy with faith. The boy, whose parents had no luck, also had

the faith that they did not have. Sadly, his faith killed him. He wanted so

much to rid the house of the voices he heard that he drove himself to death from

the intense pressure he placed upon himself. When he died, he killed the voices

as the spiritual world claimed the only member of the family with luck.

"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" shows that the people in this small

fan can have some level of faith without directly showing it. Although Pelayo

and Elisenda lock up the angel to display him, they still believe he is an angel

and cannot kill him when another offers this. They don't have the heart to club

the old man to death, though he may be an inconvenience at first. Father

Gonzaga doesn't necessarily believe in the angel, but the townspeople and

tourists do. They wish for things even when others before them don't have their

miracles exactly met.

It is hinted in the Lawrence story that Paul may have lived if he hadn't

been so greedy. He wasn't full of greed like his parents, but the mysterious

voices of the house drove him to greed to rid the house of them. To start with,

Mother and Father in this modern fairy tale are downright rapacious. Mother has

an especially insatiable wallet. Although her husband makes good money, she

must have the finer things in life such as servants and the like. They pass on

the ever present desire for more materialistic items to Paul. He wants to gain

the love of his mother and decides that using his luck to earn money is the way

to do it.

It is the greed of Pelayo and Elisenda that wind up saving the life of

the elderly angel. They give him a chance to rest and start anew by the couple

putting him on display as a sort of circus freak. Sadly enough this translates

over to modern sitings of crucifix marked men. Many religious fanatics have to

travel wide and far to see proof of their faith just like in the story. The

fact that the poor couple makes money off the angel could be a testament to him

being their guardian angel as opposed to the harbinger of death to their child.

They continue to make money off this freak of nature until another shows up.

The spider girl is just another form of greed in this story. The actual freak

is probably just a costumed human trying to make money off people's stupidity.

Flaws are obvious in the main characters of each of these two stories.

In "The Rocking- Horse Winner" Paul has the flaw of emulating his parents'

footsteps. Because they set the example always to want more money, taking on

their greed flaws him. In Garcia Marquez's tale, the simple couple have greed

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