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A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1131 words - 5 pages

The parish priest had his first suspicion of an impostor when he saw that he did not understand the language of God or know how to greet his ministers” (452). In many instances in life, people, in this situation an angel, are often unseen or unrecognized by those who are in need of their supervision and direction. In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” the “angel” acts as one of these guardians. Even though the title describes the angel as simply an old man with enormous wings, it in fact underscores for how the angel is unrecognized as an actual angel. Some critics may see the angel from the viewpoint of the family, as a generally non-verbal, old, foul creature; however, he benefits contrarily Pelayo’s family as he acts as a guardian, looking over the family, providing them with good health and riches.The angel is mistakenly viewed by the townspeople. They throw him food as though he is a “circus animal” (452). Marquez writes, “The parish priest had his first suspicion of an imposter when he saw that he did not understand the language of God or know how to greet His ministers” (452). When Father Gonzaga speaks to the angel in Latin, he does not understand or respond in the same language. Therefore, the priest believes he is an anti-angel explaining: “ theKeane 2devil had the bad habit of making use of carnival tricks in order to confuse the unwary” (452). Though Father Gonzaga and the townspeople may view the creature as a devil, he inturn represents the opposite, positively affecting others. Marquez writes, “The most unfortunate invalids on earth came in search of health . . .” (453). “The curious who came from far away” (453) seeking for better health represent how the angel is a sign of good fortune. Critics may argue that the angel cannot function as a guardian as he does not speak or openly communicate with those around him. The fact that others come to him in search of help, however, portrays his guardianship qualities.Just as the angel is viewed wrongly by Father Gonzaga and the local townspeople, he continues to be misconceived by the family. Marquez uses the word “nightmare” (451) to describe Pelayo’s first viewing of the angel. Conversely, the angel represents a great dream in that he brings the family a great fortune. The family, however, does not credit the angel for doing so. When Pelayo and Elisenda are ready to put the angel on a raft and send him out to sea, a gathering of people appear in their back yard to catch a glimpse of the angel. Elisenda then decides to charge the public five cents to see him, illustrating the positive economic effects of the angel. Marquez writes, “. . . for in less than a week they had crammed their rooms with money and the line of pilgrims waiting their turn to enter still reached beyond the horizon” (453). This quote showcases how the angel profitably changes the...

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