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

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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.

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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 http://www.geocities.com/cyber_explorer99/garciamarquezoldman.html (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: http://web.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/eng104/marquezviews.htm (last viewed: October 16, 2007)
  3. Nicholas Tornaritis. GradeSaver(tm) ClassicNotes A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, GradeSaver, LLC, 2006
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