Analysis of “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez”

Last Updated: 17 Mar 2023
Pages: 13 Views: 1970
Table of contents

The plot of “A very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is fantastic, but such surrealistic approach is usual for Marques. This is a story of an angel, who came into this world, but people refused to recognize him, so the disappointed angel had to leave[1].

Marques used a language, which appears to be rather simple: he just tells a story as if he was telling it to children: with simple words and without too much literary sophistication. This makes the story similar to a legend or a parable. The story develops in logical time flow from the beginning to the end. Marques, as an author, takes a neutral position in the text, he provides an overview of that what has happened and leaves a freedom of evaluation for the reader.

Order custom essay Analysis of “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez” with free plagiarism report

feat icon 450+ experts on 30 subjects feat icon Starting from 3 hours delivery
Get Essay Help

However, a reader can hardly fail to be moved, at least because even a simply-told story is fantastic: an angel comes to the world. Another aim of Marques’s simple and even boring language is to underline the indifference of most of the characters, whether it is father Gonzaga, who rejects an angel because the angel does not speak Latin, a language of Roman Catholic Church, or Elisenda, who finds nothing better, than to sell tickets, as if seeing an angel was a show.

The idea of Marques is obvious: people are so far from God, that they are unable to recognize His messenger. Time and place of the story are unknown. It can only be suggested, that it is some Spanish-speaking country. Marques speaks of the time as “in those times” making a story even more similar to a legend.

Such style of writing is rendered as ‘magical realism’, because it is divorced from reality by uncertainty of time and place and by skillful blundering of real and fantastic elements. Marques has himself called “A very Old Man with Enormous Wings” a story for children. It has been written in the period between his two landmark novels: ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ and ‘The Autumn of the Patriarch’ in a markedly easy manner.

Nevertheless, it includes almost all elements of magical realism, which can be found in his great books: a world, which exists by itself without ties with the surrounding, fantastic creatures which enter the world, and biblical language of story-telling. Is it a story for children? In a way yes, it is a story for children or at least for those who are not yet spiritually adult. It is not Marques’s fault, that most of his audience appears to be “spiritual children”.

As any children they have to be warned about possible poor consequences of their action, and in this sense the story of Marques represents such warning. Actually nothing happens in the story, what can be called obviously evil except for one thing: people in their daily routine have forgotten God.

Works cited:

  1.  Gabriel Garcia Marquez, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, at (last viewed: October 16, 2007)
  2. Faulkner, Tom.  “An Overview of ‘A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.’”  Exploring Short Stories.  Detroit: Gale Research, 1998.  Rpt. Gale Database: Literature Resource Center, 1999. Available at: (last viewed: October 16, 2007)
  3. Nicholas Tornaritis. GradeSaver(tm) ClassicNotes A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, GradeSaver, LLC, 2006

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Summary

An old man with enormous wings is an interesting short story with elements of mysticism.  Gabriel José García Márque with the tool of his Magical realism unfurled the world of reality to incorporate the  myth and supernatural elements in his stories.

Gabriel used this tool with great dexterity to spear into our senses our own predicaments toward the nature’s mystic world.

This is the whole essence of An Old man with enormous wings. Here I will delve in this short story how with the lively characters of  an old A Very Old Man with Enormous Wingsman and woman and a mystic old man with wings, Gabriel brought our real life and our connection with the nature in close proximity.

The magic realism has a characteristic of deep fantasy marked with flamboyance and intermittent mystery. It goes to the credit of Gabriel that he created fantasy and the real world in proximity with each other and seems to be  equal.

The  whole village has people full of life as if the real characters have been simmered into the words, still the smell of mystesism can be felt when people realize the old man with wings is in possession of  magical powers. It is his mysterous nature which is a center of attraction.

The story starts with an old man and woman when they were collecting and throwing crabs in the sea. Pelayo suddenly came across an old angel with dilapitated wings and called his wife Elisenda.

At the first site of an angel, both were puzzled and the neighbor lady went to further extent to claim that this angel must have come to take away the child but as he is old, rain and thunderstorm thumped him into the ground. The old couple picked up an angel and put him in a chicken coop just like other chickens.

The most intriguing aspect is of the story is when characters come to know that this is not a normal bird or animal or human being, he is a human but with wings and therefore he is not a man. Still Doctor after examining his wings remarks why humans do not have these wings? Here Gabreil presented him as so natural that it seems this winged creature is normal yet incredible and we are made to believe his imaginary sense of perception.

The Angel

The old man with wings, a vivid character is described with the help of sensory imagination, which poises in us the clear picture and makes it lively. García Márquez enables us not only to visualize the old man, but also feel his mystic parts and his whistling heart.

The imagery makes us understand the supernatural stereotypic elements that we hold about angels and also makes us understand that old man with wings does not possess any of the heroic or exalted qualities but just like any other poor human being, is earthly, weak and poor. (Faulkner, 1999).  Even Father Gonzaga also said that there is nothing in him that can be compared to the beautiful and dignity of angles, thus though supernatural and mystic he is.

Garcia Marquez increased the anxiousness of the readers on the question of angels as real but not fictitious and is not like what we have been visualizing. This old man with wings is not anywhere near to our conventional angels who are powerful, beautiful and immortal, or send by God. This angel is old and decrypt, powerless, totally left at the mercy of strangers, but as mentioned in the book he has magical qualities that rendered him a superior position. He is a bizarre mixture of holiness and the blasphemy.

It appears as if he has come to make the old couple’s life comfortable and he did that. When he is kept in Chicken coop, slowly and slowly, son of old couple recovered, over and above Paloya and his wife’s earnings too improved when they started charging the fees from the villagers who so ever came to see this strange creature. Whole village is giving his or her own interpretation regarding the originality of this angel hiding the true nature of this old man.

The story moves as if it is not a fable but only a conventional idea what the people stores and hold. Until the end of the story, uncertainty remains and we are not able to know the mystery of this winged creature - how it came and from where it came. This uncertainty implied not only to the winged creature but also to the life - the life in which we are living now and a life where the uncertainty prevails. Through these mystic creatures, writer tries to emphasize that anything can happen, as this whole world is full of mysteries.

The descriptions of imaginary poetry also seems to be real, and complain of a villager of his problem of sleep because stars in the night disturbs him, also appears to be true, a simple medical problem ( Faulkner, 1999). And this impression of villagers, García Márquez's created by the use of narrative voice, in the voice of a third person, and is aware of all the facts and as such readers trust him. This is also true that narrator tries to endorse upon us the idea that nothing is impossible in this world, and nature has in store numerous complex beings, which even our eyes cannot perceive.

With the supernatural elements, Gabriel also used Irony as a tool to show the mirror of the other face of human beings- face, which human beings hide behind their virtuous proposition. On one hand, all villagers are showing sympathy to the little old creature but on the other hand all have their own selfish motives. Some one is coming to see the old creature to get cured and some one to make their wish fulfilled. Neighbor wanted creature to be smashed to death.

Pelayo and Elisenda, who had put the tiny being in a chicken coop, used it for their own materialistic gains. The people made mockery of this winged creature as any other animal of the circus. Pelayo and Elisenda did not show any sympathy towards the poor creature. This is apparently true in this “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” that human nature is unspiritual yet boasts of spirituality.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Conclusion

"An Old Man with Enormous Wings" contains a brief yet elegant presentation of human nature as thoughtless, predatory, and unspiritual humanity. Garcia Marquez by mentioning about several flaws in human nature put forward several ways in which man can turn towards divinity. The selfishness is also visible in the story where Carnival brought a girl changed into spider, as she did not obey her parents.

The cruelty lies in the human’s inclination towards spicy news and furor which girl generates by not being virtuous or disobeying parents. Her story projects a true and clear meaning of our daily life: to obey your parents and not to go out dancing whole night. By the arrival of the spider girl, every one’s attention is now diverted from that old angel. The story comes to an end when after so many years of captivity angel again got back his wings and flew off.

Several questions remained unanswered in the story. We never come to know from where the angel came and where it has gone?  The connections between what the people perceive and how they respond is left unclear. It is not clear why a neighbor woman thinks that the angel is in danger and recommends killing him, neither it is clear that how and why Pelayo and Elisenda’s baby got cured?

Uncertainty remains through out and the people like other readers in the story just make interpretation of events but do not understand them. It is rightly said that it is a fairy tale without any constructive explanation.

Analysis of My Singular Irene and Man With Enormous Wings

My Singular Irene Literature is, by my understanding, a means to critic society and individuals or the way the world is behaving. Writers of Literature write literature to provide a new way of seeing things that might be different from our point of view. In other words, writers use tools of literature story like: symbolism, point of view to help them is making the literature story to be more exciting and clear to us, the reader. The author helps us to see the frailty or other bad deeds and good things about this life in this world as we seldom see those things with our own eyes.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings and My Singular Irene is a very good example for this literature reading, because it is very rich in literature concept and devices, like: symbolism or point of view. The main character in this story is said to be alienated, repressed and silenced in the story. I will prove this statement by retelling the main point on the story that supports this statement. A very old man refers to an old angel that is cast ashore into earth because of inability to keep up with the heavy rain. e can see that the angel is alienated from examples that shown this statement, such as : ”They found the whole neighborhood in front of the chicken coop having fun with the angel, without the slightest reference, tossing him things to eat through the openings in the wire as if he weren’t a supernatural creature but a circus animal. ”(Gabriel Garcia Marquez 36). the angel is alienated because It is treated differently from the others. The others are having fun with the angel rather than socializing with the angel. The angel is also repressed and silenced.

There is a quotation that shows this statement: “Pelayo watch over him all afternoon from the kitchen, armed with his Bailiff’s club, and before going to bed he dragged him out of the mud and locked him up with the hens in the wire chicken coop. ”(Gabriel Garcia- Marquez 36). From this statement, we can derive that the angel is “caged” from it’s freedom and its freedom is repressed by the caged that Pelayo given it, thus the angel is silenced from the freedom. My Singular Irene is also a good example for this literature reading.

Irene is reputed to be alienated is true in this story. Irene is treated differently from other people. From the story we know that Ilene’s husband( the first person view in the story) isolated Irene from the outside world by buying Irene very expensive “stuff” to lure Irene to stay in the house isolated from the outside world. Irene is also axiomatic to be repressed and silenced. We know from the story that Irene is considered as a “thing” to her husband, because her husband wants Irene to act like he wants.

So, in order to satisfy his ego, Irene is inhibited and muted by many ways, like: not allowing Irene to go to the outside world, forbidding visitors to meet Irene. Irene too, like the Angel is constrained from freedom. A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings and My Singular Irene are an example of story that has a symbol of contemporary alienation and triumph over it. First, I am going to express about A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings. The angel in the story is alienated or make indifferent. It is derived from the behavior of the people that found the angel. It is treated like mere goods than divine figure.

So, it is true that it is a contemporary alienation. Later in the story, we know that the angel has his most precious tool that can bring him back to his divine status. That tool is its wings, when its wings grows back, he immediately leaped up to the sky and clapped its wings and fly to the horizon of freedom. The angel is reputed to be a triumph over alienation. Second, My Singular Irene is also a symbol of alienation. Irene is also made hostile like the angel. She is isolated or “caged” by her husband; there is an interesting point in this story in my point of view.

To me, Irene seemed to be speechless or not a living thing. The author writes the story in such a way that us, readers, grabs the alienation theme in the story. Irene is also considered as a triumph over alienation. There is a quotation from the story: Horrifying! Irene changed into a horrendous butterfly! I stood up and fell again, powerless now. She would leave me; she would take flight and leave me. The gigantic Irene Butterfly smiled at me, diminished, and disappeared with the others. I am at the site of the events, waiting for Irene’s return. She has no return.

She cannot deny me the peace that her company always offered me. (AlmAnzar, JosE AlcAntara 45) From this quotation, I interpret it that Irene’s freedom does also mean she has a higher status in the relationship with her husband now. What I meant by higher status of relationship is the one that always try to get the relationship going is the one that has a lower status, in this case, her husband. Irene’s triumph over alienation is expressed by the author of Irene transformation into the most beautiful butterfly that can fly anywhere it wants. It is very interesting that these two stories have a similar thing.

They both define freedom by flying leaving the thing that binds their way to freedom. The following paragraph below tells a story about human needs for personal freedom and community. There is certainly no argument in this world that can be used to defy human needs for socializing and personal freedom. Human always seek out a way to grab that freedom. Kingdom falls, kingdom rises, Leader of a faction dies, and assassin was born. All of these examples are made because of the need to obtain and maintain personal freedom and the ability to communicate freely with communities of choice.

There is an interesting story below those talks about human’s desire for personal liberty. This story is about the struggle of African-American communities in the United States to obtain their right of personal freedom and human needs for sociality. United States also known as the land of the free and the brave has been well known for its freedom. It has a lot to offer, such as: the freedom of speech, the right to work, etc. But, in contrast to all of those things, there is a little dispute inside this great country in the era of slavery. African American is the target for this matter.

African American arrived in the United States as Indentured Servants via Jamestown, Virginia in 1619. They could earn their so called “personal freedom” by working as slave to their chosen master. As time goes by, the other majority in the United States made a conduct for slaves called “Slaves Codes”. This Slave Codes constrained African American in the Unites States from their liberty. They did fight for it until the Majority pushes another harsh rule for any slaves that disobey its masters. From this point, we can see human’s needs for personal freedom.

Human fights for freedom risking everything they had, like: their lives, treasure, relatives. There is also a story of a president that fight for part of his citizen’s needs for personal freedom, his name was Abraham Lincoln. He was a farmer boy that born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. His parents were both born in Virginia. Abraham was well known for his strength and cleverness in farming skills. In not so long time he began to be very famous in the community because of his skills in socializing. Not so long after that, he became the president of the United States.

He saw this great calamity of slavery and intends to abolish this calamity for good. To pursue this personal freedom, Abraham had gone through a lot of obstacles from his own family until his own citizen in the south. Alas, not so long a civil war broke out between the north and the south. But, the good always wins; Abraham with the North wins the Civil War by diplomacy. And thus the period of reconstruction began. Unfortunately Abraham was killed by an assassin in April 14, 1865; Lincoln was killed at Ford's Theatre in Washington by John Wilkes Booth.

This story has greatly described to us the importance of human need for community and personal freedom. In conclusion, these two stories, My Singular Irene and A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, tell us about the importance of personal freedom and need of interaction with other people. They also told us, no matter how hard human is pushed to abandoned their personal freedom; human always emerges to fight their way to obtain freedom even though they have to put their lives on the line to achieve their goal, personal freedom.

Related Questions

on Analysis of “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez”

Who Is The Author Of A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings?
The author of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Colombian writer and Nobel Prize winner in Literature. The story was first published in 1955 as part of his collection of short stories, "Leaf Storm and Other Stories.""
What Is The Main Idea Of A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings?
The main idea of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is the exploration of human nature and its response to the unknown and the miraculous. The story challenges traditional ideas of faith, religion, and morality, and ultimately suggests that true compassion and empathy require a willingness to embrace the strange and the unfamiliar."

Cite this Page

Analysis of “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez”. (2016, Jun 11). Retrieved from

Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade

Run a free check or have your essay done for you

plagiarism ruin image

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Save time and let our verified experts help you.

Hire writer