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Human's Selfishness vs. Sympathy in The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Márquez

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“The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” by Gabriel Márquez, is related to the classical theme of human’s selfishness verses sympathy. However, Márquez uses narrative elements such as plot, setting, and different characters, to provide much more in-depth sources of evidence to support his theme.
In “The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” Márquez uses an Old Man who is supposed to be an angel to display human’s tendencies to show both brutality and/or grace depending on the situation. The bizarre, tattered looking man with wings is found in a town to see a little boy who is sick. After the boy’s health improves the parents of the boy, Pelayo and Elisenda, decide to let the Old Man reside in their chicken coop outside their home because they
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Father Gonzaga, the town priest, and an old woman who supposedly has knowledge about angels do not know what to do with the Old Man, and have to contacts Father Gonzaga’s superior for help. Even after the angel helps the family and performs different miracles for others, the villagers respond by caging and making a spectacle of him. “…they burned his side with an iron for branding steers, for he had been motionless for so many hours…” (272). You would think that if another person were helping someone, let alone an angel who is supposed to be admired, they would act a little more grateful and show their appreciation. Using a religious setting emphasizes how the villagers should have acted towards the Old Man but was able to turn a blind eye from their morals to receive what they want.
Márquez uses The Old Man character, or angel, to show how someone is perceived differently from who he or she truly is. Determining other peoples actions towards them, whether they are harsh or kind. When reading “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” we are never positive as to whether the Old Man is actually an angel. However, the Old Man carries out miracles for others and has mysterious wings causing the reader to assume so. The Old Man does not fit the traditional way the citizens would view a heavenly angel and is considered more freakily than heavenly. “His huge buzzard wings, dirty and
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