A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings: a Critical Analysis

1805 words 8 pages
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
By Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A Critical Analysis

Callora, Hanna Krishna S.
AB English 2

English 12 TTHS 4:00-5:25


The story is set in a coastal area and it opens with an ongoing rainfall that has turned the world gloomy and gray. Everyone in this town was feeling sad because of the state of the beach and the stench of rotten fish. It was March and the rain had made the light weak during daytime and replaced the glimmer of the sands of the beach with “a stew of mud and rotten shellfish.” At the beginning of the story, we learn that crabs have been crawling into the house of Pelayo and Elisenda that “on the third day of rain,” they had killed so many of them. After throwing them away into the
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We can view the story from Pelayo’s perspective as well as from Elisenda’s point of view but never from the perspective of the old man. The narration lets us in on the story but we never really know what goes on inside the head of the old man. Our only connection to him is through the observations of the narrator from the perspectives of the other two characters. The tone is dark and gloomy from the mere mention of the ongoing rainfall and the supernatural events that foreshadowed the arrival of the old man up to the way the story was handled towards the end. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” begins with an introduction of the gloomy weather and the arrival of the old man with wings. The “wise” neighbor of Pelayo and Elisande tells them that he is an angel who has come to take away their child so the old man is locked inside the chicken coop. He becomes somewhat of a circus attraction that draws in people from faraway places and Elisenda gets the idea of charging them with admission. This brings in wealth to the husband and wife but the old man’s passivity and indifference have caused the people’s curiosity and interest to wane. The people begin to transfer to the “latest attraction,” making the old man “yesterday’s news.” After a long time of enduring the pain and cruelty of people, the old man finally gets new wings and gradually learns to fly, leaving the harsh world without a quick goodbye or any explanation.


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