“A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” By Gabriel García Márquez, Analysis Essay

“A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” By Gabriel García Márquez

With his sensational success, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is responsible for applying the manner of writing, which is magical realism. Critics point to the bizarre intertwining of real and fiction elements, an unexpected synthesis of the artistic and aesthetic achievements of modern Latin American culture with motifs of Indian, Negro, and Spanish mythology. All these features are found not only in the writer’s novels but also in his works of a small form. One of such masterpieces is the story A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.


The plot begins with the fact that in a completely casual way, the author narrates an emergency incident. When it was rain has not ceased for the third day, an angel fell to the court of a married couple. Strange, it was not a pink child with wings, but an old man who fell face down in the mud.

It is clear already from the first chord that before us is the style of Garcia Marquez, where banal everyday life mixes with the most daring flight of fantasy. The penman does not spare colors, describing the wretchedness of the heavenly being. The angel was dressed like a beggar, his mouth was toothless, like a decrepit gaffer, and large bird wings lay in a swamp.

The litterateur depicts several categories of persons depending on their own beliefs. Atheists throw stones at the old man, demanding that he rise from the ground; believers tear off feathers, trying to cure their sores. They are united by barbarism, hypocrisy, and lack of love for one’s neighbor; they are guided only by selfish interests, forgetting about the needs of others.

The story’s personages compare the angel to an insect or another dangerous creature. Residents do not see outside their own skins, perceiving a helpless oldster as a plague or malaria – this situation ends quite grotesque and meaningful. Elisende and Pelayo were placed on the grilles that other angel would not fly. It was done for the money collected for watching the angel -before us, there is the real apotheosis of sarcasm when people put a mosquito net against the heavens.

Author’s Metaphorical Peculiarities

The most simple-hearted inhabitants suggested that the angel should be appointed a chairman of the universe. Others insisted on making him a general, who would win all wars. There were dreamers who proposed to withdraw a new kind of winged individuals. In this short sentence, there is an ironic allusion to the political ambitions of historical leaders, from Caesar and Genghis Khan to Stalin and Hitler.

Separately, it is necessary to say about the behavior of the priest. He should know how to handle the angel; when the winged old man did not understand Latin, he immediately made himself an irreconcilable enemy. The priest warned parishioners of excessive naiveté, adding that wings do not mean anything since they have a plane or a hawk.

He recalled about the devil who has extraordinary abilities to reincarnate. The personal affront was not limited. The oldster gathered around him a crowd of curious, competing with Gonzaga for influencing the flock and collecting money. The priest decided to address a complex church bureaucratic machine, referring to the opinion of the highest authority. Although, a higher authority than the one from where the angel came, it is worthwhile to look.

A number of misunderstandings with the representative of the heavenly community continue to increase. The doctor, who came to treat the baby and the old from smallpox, is surprised at the wings that were natural in his body. The logical question arises, why they do not have other people? This is a good query asked by writers in different epochs – why does a person who is a godlike being sometimes behave like an animal? The writer does not give a clear answer, giving it to the reader’s will. Through a filigree oxymoron, the author sends a complaint of Elisenda, who calls the weight of life in hell filled with angels.

Garcia Marquez leaves a ray of light. Let out of bad motives, Pelayo took pity on the old man, wrapped him in a blanket and carried him to a barn. Such an ordinary human feeling as charity led to the creation of a real miracle. After a cold winter, the angel began to recover; he has new strong wings, which allowed him to leave the world of people. It turned out that not much needed an oldster. Humans should keep in mind and show ordinary kindness and care, little remains in our world.

Thus, with his work, Garcia Marquez tried to convey a negative transformation of the current society. The world is mired in petty, mercantile, and manic interests. People are interested in accumulation and power, but not in spiritual evolution – angels do not need such a world in any form, because the dirt is even more noticeable against the background of purity.