A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

918 Words4 Pages
Set in a small village, "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" combines an intriguing mix of reality and imagination. The story begins when an old man with wings enters the scene. The characters in the story are faced with the conflict of who and what the man actually is and what to do with him. The main characters Peleyo, the one who first encounters the man, and his wife Elisenda, end up housing him in their chicken coop. As the story unfolds, some abuse the man while others go to him in hopes of a miracle. The appearance of the old man resembles what one would consider human, but his large wings suggest the supernatural. In "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings," author Marquez sends readers on a journey of reality and imagination, leaving much of the story up to the interpretation of his readers. The story is skillfully crafted to challenge one 's imagination and ideas with its use of irony, theme, and conflict. One of the main themes of the story is the balance between human compassion and cruelty. For example, Pelayo and Elisenda show the old man with wings compassion when, "Peleyo threw a blanket over him and extended him the charity of letting him sleep in the shed. . ." (Marquez 360). However, earlier in the story the potential for humanity to show cruelty is shown when, "[t]he only time they succeeded in arousing him was when they burned his side with an iron. . ." (Marquez 359). Ruben Peleyo mentions that, "the winged old man is viewed as an object, not a human
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