"A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez

The second sentence, “The world had been sad since Tuesday”, is just excellent. It introduces the central idea of this story, the self-centered nature of human beings which leads to complicity in wrong, even downright cruelty, and definitely neglect. Things are not going well for Pelayo, Elisenda and their sick child, hence, the world is sad. A pathetic fallacy. This is again demonstrated in the couple’s exploitation of the “angel” man to gain wealth and security and in how Elisenda regards the man’s appearance around the house as annoying and like living in a “hell full of angels”. All the characters in the story can only think of how the winged man can help or hinder them. It’s only when Pelayo cares for the man for the first time–giving him a blanket and a shelter to sleep under that the angel becomes well enough to fly away. Elisenda is happy that the angel is gone “because he was no longer an annoyance in her life but an imaginary dot on the sea. ” This couple’s reluctance to be compassionate and complete lack of curiosity or desire to cultivate their own sense of the fantastical shows their self-centered, mundane existence keeping crabs out of their home. I think there is also a message here about how people are willing to entertain ideas as long as they are convenient to them, such as the existence of angels.

 

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