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Being An Angel Doesn't Have All Its Perks

1454 words - 6 pages

What people see versus what they understand can affect their conscious minds, and their decisions. When presented with the unknown, it is up to us to decide whether we are going to react to it, or understand it. Everyone and everything undergo judgment at one point in their existence. In “A Very Old Man with Wings,” Gabriel Garcia Marquez explores this idea through “magical realism.” A genre Tom Faulkner characterizes by its “imaginative content, vivid effects, and lingering mystery.” Magical realism takes “fantastic elements” and combines them with “realistic details” to create a genre that poses the debatable question (Faulkner). Marquez fabricates this concept through a fictive “world where the miraculous and the everyday live side-by-side,” a world that acts animalistic when introduced with something unfamiliar (Faulkner). During, what seems like an astrological end of times event, where it has been raining for three days straight, Pelayo and Elisenda—two townspeople of a small village—find an old man with enormous wings on their courtyard. After gathering all the information they needed, they concluded that indeed he was an angel, but given the “ragpicker” clothes he wore, and the “drenched great-grandfather” look he had, they dragged him and locked him up “with the hens in the wire chicken coop” (“A Very Old”). Soon after the angel’s arrival, the townspeople and the church followed Pelayo and Elisenda’s footsteps and treated him “with no reverence” whatsoever (“A Very Old”). Marquez depicts the ugly truth of human nature through the conflict of the unknown and how when presented with the unknown Pelayo, Elisenda, the townspeople and even the church treat “the angel” like a “circus animal” (“A Very Old”).
The possibility of the old man being an angel was not enough for Pelayo and Elisenda to treat him with hospitality, but instead the wonder of his nature drove them to take advantage of the situation. Since Pelayo and Elisenda could not wrap their heads around the angel looking so human, and the lack of “heroic and exalted qualities [they][expected]” an angel to have, they treated him with no mercy and locked him up in a with the hens (Faulkner). Then, when the opportunity rose to make money off of the inconvenience, Pelayo and Elisenda did not think twice before charging everyone who wished to see the angel. Even after they had gained their wealth they did not give the angel a better place to live, but instead Elisenda’s annoyance with the “stray dying man” “[intensified] over time” (“Overview”). Once the angel became old news, Pelayo and Elisenda became more frustrated with the old man. Since the old man was not benefiting them, Pelayo and Elisenda treated him like a parasite. Instead of being grateful for what he provided, they only saw a nuisance. The old man had been there for several years now, and as the chicken coop collapsed he sought a roof where he could live under, but instead “they would drive him out […] with a...

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