Magical Realism In Gabriel García Márquez's A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

Decent Essays
Magical realism is “… characterized by the matter-of-fact inclusions of fantastic or mythical elements into apparently realistic fiction” (Edison). Characteristics of this genre include plentitude, hybridity, metafiction, and an unreliable narrator. A story that shows magical realism is “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” by Gabriel García Márquez. Márquez is recognized as one of the best authors who combines reality with fantasy: “… García Márquez, combining radically different realities, what may be described with the expressions of magical realism…” (Wojda). In “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings,” Márquez uses many different characteristics such as plentitude, hybridity, metafiction and an unreliable narrator to demonstrate magical realism. …show more content…
In Márquez’s short story, it is narrated from a third person perspective which is the unreliable narrator. Having an unreliable narrator can confuse the reader due to the fact that the narrator explains multiple perspectives. For instance, the narrator shifts from the villager’s perspective to Father Gonzaga’s perspective because some villagers think that “…he should be named mayor of the world” or “…he should be promoted to the rank of a five-star general in order to win all wars” (Márquez 407). Nevertheless, Father Gonzaga sees the very old man as an impostor of an angel: “… the back side of his wings was strewn with parasites and his main feathers had been mistreated by terrestrial winds, and nothing about him measured up to the proud dignity of angels” (Márquez 408). Confusion is created because the narrator tries to explain too many perspectives of other people and the reader cannot trust the perspective of the narrator himself because the narrator does not fully understand if the man is an angel or just a very old man with enormous wings. This leaves the reader to receive an unclear thought of who the very old man really is. Márquez does a great job of implementing an unreliable narrator in his short story that helps create another aspect of magical …show more content…
Metafiction is when the author intentionally creates an element that the reader knows it is fake. The obvious metafiction in the short story is the very old man with enormous wings. The reader knows that the protagonist is fake because in reality there is no such creature that can have wings, but possess the qualities of a human. Another obvious metafiction in the story is the lady that is struck by lightning when she disobeys her parents by sneaking out to a dance. She is struck by lightning and turns into a tarantula lady with the head of a woman. It is obvious that when someone is struck by lightning they either live or die from the voltage shock, but they cannot transform into a hybrid creature. This lets the reader know that the tarantula woman is a fake character because it can never happen. One characteristic of magical realism is the ability to apply metafiction to one’s story which is exactly what Márquez

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