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A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings By Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1392 words - 6 pages

Violence, a great destructive force, or energy. Violence, a culture, or lifestyle. A natural trepidation of all man, something that can change the perspective of the world, and how one views their situation in it. The earth is no stranger to violence, no continent is immune to its destruction. No psyche is insusceptible to its effect. Violence is a subculture of religion, as well as a defense against differences that the human race shares. Love as well as solitude, can be results of violence, and aggression; exaggerated by human emotion and unclear expectations. Violence insidiously sneaks up on a nation, on a people, on a culture, and forever changes what is moral, and what is nefarious. One of the only ways for a memory of violence to be expressed comes from a narrative, a story (Arva 1). Gabriel Garcia Marquez is no stranger to violence, and expresses his opinion on the matter through his personal and magical narrative.
Engaged in the longest civil war in the western hemisphere, with an extensive history of violence, Colombia, is the inspiration, as well as the home for Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Brittain 57). Consider A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings , although violence is not the main focus of the story, it is evident that the community in which Marquez speaks has been plagued by it. Marquez grew up with “historical trauma”. The history of violence in Colombia is deep rooted, precolonial, and evident in everyday life (Sickels 20).Once Pelayo finds the man, he calls his wife, Elisenda, “ They look at him so long and so closely… soon overcame their surprise and in the end found him familiar” ( Marquez 217). This gives the impression that Pelayo and Elisenda have been victims of violence, the fact that they find this creature, who is sickly, and covered in mud, something they can relate to. It is obvious that it is not a positive familiarity, but one that comes from a horrible memory. They do not accept him but are able to empathize with him, in a way that seems unnatural as well as painful.
The violence in Colombia stems from mostly political unrest, and the shift in political power, from neoliberalism, to dictatorships, having almost no middle ground (Brittain 58-59). Along with political unrest there is an idea of violence that stems from the Catholic Church, and guilt. In this story the idea of religious violence is most apparent because of the angel,“ Even the most merciful threw stones at him” ( Marquez 221). In the story the angel represents a higher power, a holy being. The angel could also represent the church, as well as the government in general, someone who has the potential to overrule the people around him. The fear of the people in story caused them to act violently to this “angel”; they are all too familiar with a higher power ruling. The obvious lack of interest in the angel, besides the fact he is “different” leads me to believe that the people that visit, as well as Pelayo and Elisenda, fear him. They have experienced...

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