A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
The story of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is a tale in which a pitiful looking man with wings is found outside of the home of Pelayo and Elisenda. Pelayo sees the man while he is removing crabs from their home and throwing them into the sea. His wife, Elisenda, was caring for their ill, newborn child at the time. Pelayo was frightened and pulled his wife into the courtyard to observe the old man. They believed him to be a castaway, but sought the advice of a neighboring older woman. She immediately identified the man as an angel that had come for their child. This angel was not bright white with beautiful skin and glorious clothing, but a weak and dirty old man. This story is about good and evil existing together and how in the end there can only be good or evil – not both.
Good and Evil Coexisting
Throughout this story Pelayo, Elisenda and their community are depicted as evil committing despicable acts from the beginning. Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes that the couple “did not have the heart to club him to death (p. 590)” when the old woman suggested it, but as a concession they were going to put him out to sea on a raft with only provisions for three days. They only decided not to take this course of action when they realized that they could make money off of him by charging visitors a fee to view him. The village priest did not believe the man was an angel because he did not recognize Latin, the language of God, and “he had an unbearable smell of the outdoors (p. 591). The priest was content to write letters seeking opinions while the man rotted away in the chicken coop the couple was displaying him in.
All of the visitors wanted something from the man. Some wanted to be healed of serious or not so serious ailments, others wanted to gawk at his difference and yet others wanted to capitalize on any special gifts he possessed. All were disappointed as the man sat in the chicken coop trying to get comfortable and patiently waiting. Eventually a better act came into town and the old man with the enormous wings was no longer the center of attention. The couple accumulated so much money they filled their rooms full of it and after the spectators left, they allowed the angel into their home. “They would drive him out of the bedroom with a broom and a moment later find him in the kitchen (p. 592).” He had permeated their home, but it was...