A Cataclysm In Repose Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings"

966 words - 4 pages

A Cataclysm in ReposeGabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is a short story that fuses together magical and realistic elements. In an interview, Marquez explains the influences and origins of this unique style of writing. The story (not surprisingly) is about an old man with enormous wings who somehow ends up in a small Caribbean or Central American town and the events that surround this occurrence. The story is written in such a way that magical elements appear in a seemingly realistic setting. The interview with Marquez, although never specifically mentioning the story, provides insight as to how he achieves writing in this oxymoronic style.Marquez attributes his magical-realistic style of writing to the reciprocal relationship between novels and journalism. Marquez says that his "...true profession is that of a journalist (131." This background in journalism helps keep his writing in "...a close relationship with reality (137)." Marquez further states that trying to "transpose" reality can lead to losing contact with it and journalism is a good guard against that. As a journalist Gabriel Garcia Marquez believes that writing is hard work that requires a certain technique with structure and careful attention to detail. Marquez also describes a "journalistic trick (138)" used to make things credible; saying that there are four hundred and twenty-five elephants in the sky is much more believable than simply stating there are elephants in the sky. Evidence of this journalistic influence is clearly seen throughout "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" and this makes the story seem much more believable.Another important aspect of Marquez's writing is his use of vivid imagery. He began writing by drawing cartoons and in "... the genesis of all [his] books there's always an image (143)," such as a photograph. Gabriel Garcia Marquez visited his hometown and he experienced it as everything in the town evolved into literature. Marquez follows by saying that "it's always easy to tell whether a writer is writing about something that has happened to him or something he has read or been told (136)." Writing on his birthplace adds a sense of realism and imagery to the story. Marquez also gives credit to his grandmother's "brick face" style of story telling as an influence to his writing. "She told things that sounded supernatural and fantastic, but she told them with complete naturalness (138)." The combination of these elements adds to the authenticity and colorfulness of Marquez's stories.Gabriel Garcia Marquez explains, in his interview, the importance of the first paragraph as setting the tone for the rest of the story. "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is no exception. The story begins with a reference to Marquez's fascination with plagues as he describes an abundance of crabs after three days of rain. Marquez continues by saying that "the world had been sad since Tuesday....

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