Analysis Of Gabriel Garcia Márquez's A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

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Gabriel García-Márquez’s short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” criticizes human nature’s brutal and self-serving tendencies. The townspeople, at first the most apparent representatives of humankind, struggle to understand who the old man is, what kind of creature he is, or from where he has come. Upon further analysis, many elements of the story lead to the conclusion that García-Márquez intends to ridicule human nature by exploring the townspeople 's’ reaction to strange man with wings, who later seems to represent humans better than any other characters. Through his use of setting, characters, and tone, García Márquez satirizes the brutal, self-obsessed aspect of human nature in his characters’ ruthless cruelty towards the old …show more content…
The neighbor woman’s immediate advice is “to club him (the old man) to death,” showing her violent nature, already condemning to the old man to death out of fear (289). In addition to the neighbor woman, the townspeople similarly mock and torture the old man immediately upon seeing him “as if he weren’t a supernatural creature but a circus animal” (289). The townspeople, who appear to represent humans in general, have no respect for the old man or care to help him, but rather they selfishly seek miracles: “The cripples pulled out feathers to touch their defective parts with, and even the most merciful threw stones at him” (291). On the other hand, the spider woman serves as an example of kindness and morality, even though she is not a woman anymore. The narrator notes that her character is “full of so much human truth,” alluding to the irony of the spider woman seeming more human than the other human characters (292). In the same way, the description of the old man connotes his apparent humanity, despite his magical wings. The old man appears to have a “supernatural virtue… [of] patience” and controls his emotions far better than the townspeople: “The majority understood that his passivity was not that of a hero taking his ease but that of a cataclysm in repose” (291). Father Gonzaga calls the old man “too human” in addition to the doctor recognizing …show more content…
In calling Elisenda and Pelayo “magnanimous,” which describes a person who is generous in a noble way, shows the state of generosity and honor in the rest of the characters (289). This word choice proposes that while Elisenda and Pelayo would not be considered magnanimous in reality, they are nobly generous when compared to their compatriots. Additionally, the word “wise” describes the neighbor woman who appears to lack any real understanding of life and death, and thus does not merit any description of making balanced, thoughtful judgements (289). Another example lies in the use of “sterile” to describe the hearts of the townspeople (290). The narrator associates the human heart with the sterility, which literally means barren or incapable of reproducing. While not completely ironic, there is a clear sardonic implication with the use of this adjective in modifying, almost literally contradicting the merciful connotations of the human heart. From all of these examples, it becomes pretty clear that the tone of this story does not look kindly upon the human characters. Thus, the narrator’s ironic descriptions of the characters establishes that the tone of this story is satiric in its mocking of human brutality and

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