A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Analysis

Decent Essays

In his short story, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” Gabriel García-Márquez, unleashes a biting critique of organized religion using the absurdist principles of magical realism. The plot itself centers around the plight of a fallen angel, who is, at once, too wretched to be divine yet too extraordinary to be human. The crux of the tale, however, lies within the inherent hypocrisy of human values, particularly those of leaders in the Catholic Church. Throughout the story, organized religion functions on such a purely doctrinal and bureaucratic level that religious officials completely ignore fundamental principles that one might expect of the church, such as, advocating for compassion by example. Because of their gross negligence towards their moral duties, they ultimately contribute to the villagers’ cruel abuse of the angel.
The foremost display of the Catholic Church’s inability to help anyone is the satirically bureaucratic process Father Gonzaga embarks to discredit the angel’s identity. In order to affirm his suspicions of fraud, he “[writes] a letter to his bishop so that the latter would write his primate so that the latter would write to the Supreme Pontiff in order to get the final verdict from the highest courts" from the Vatican (3). The lengthy hierarchy that the priest has to undergo to simply speak with a superior is as outlandish as it is unnecessary. His reasoning seems particularly worse when his advisors finally respond in an extremely delayed letter

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