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A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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In the story "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" by Gabriel

Garcia Marquez a man named Pelayo is taking crabs to throw into the sea

when returning he finds a man with wings. He then runs to tell his wife of this

and in turn they both tell their neighbor who "knew everything about life and

death"(Marquez 84). It was not until the neighbor came that the thought of

this man being an angel was even introduced into the story. The thought that

this thing was an angel is inconclusive since the only evidence given for this

conclusion is that it had wings. The fact of whether or not this creature is an

angel is never really stated in the story. From what I gathered from the text I

am not sure myself. The part that makes this so hard to believe that this is

an angel is that it has no real reason to be there. The only information added

in to the story that comes even close to being a viable reason for this to be

an "angel" is that the child of Pelayo is sick and so they think that he is there

to take the child from them. When the three had come to the conclusion that

he was an angel of death their first reaction was to kill the man. This can be

thought of as society's usual impulse of automatically wanting to destroy the

strange or unfamiliar instead of trying to learn from it. Luckily for the man,

Pelayo can not bring himself to kill him, this inability to kill the man leads me

to believe that Pelayo is the representation of kindness and compassion in

this story. This compassion is seen again later when he allows the old man to

live in their shed even after he had stopped bringing in money for the family.

Pelayo locking the man in the chicken coop is the major problematic

point in the story, it sets up all of the events that happens to the family and

the man after the initial meeting. After the "angel" is locked up word of him

spreads like wild fire and soon everyone in town was coming to see the man.

This flocking of people coming to see the man included Father Gonzaga the

local priest. When Father Gonzaga arrived he enters the chicken coop in

order to examine the specimen more closely. As he entered the coop he said

good morning to the angel in "Latin, the language of God,"(Marquez 86)

when the angel made no response is when the first suspicions that he really

was not an angel but merle some strange man were brought into play. The

story then presents more evidence to this fact in that the angel has too many

humanlike qualities such as an unbearable smell of the out doors and he was

also covered in parasites.

On the other hand this is also the point in the story where I feel that

the strongest argument for the creature being an angel can be made. Though

it is not as an angel of death but as a guardian angel because it says almost

immediately after he is locked up that the boy recovers from his ailment. Then

later when the family makes money off of people coming to see the angel this

is something that helps the family by making them able to buy netting and

keep out the crabs. This was truly a blessing for them because in the text it is

said that the smell of all the dead crabs is what is thought to be the cause of

the child's fever in the beginning.

The next thing that came to me as I read this story is that maybe

everything that goes on in the story is just a total representation of society

and how we sometimes over look the good things in life. This is seen when

the people slowly started to stop coming to see him and



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