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In the short story A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a Colombian writer, talks about Pelayo and Elisenda, a couple who found an old man in their yard. This man had wings. Pelayo and his wife tried communicating with him but in vain. They eventually got their neighbor woman who informed them that he was an angel who had come for their ailing child. As a result, they kept the angel in a chicken coop when their child developed a fever. At sunrise, the whole community had landed to see the angel (Marquez, 1999). In any case, when Father Gonzaga came, he announced that the man was fake. He vowed to get the genuine truth from the church’s higher court. On the other hand, news about the angel spread widely, and many people came to see it. As a result, Elisenda decided to charge a fee of five cents for one to view the angel, believing they will finally get rich.

The group left when a carnival flaunting a Spider Woman arrived to the village. Observers scrutinized her, and she disclosed to them how she was transformed into a tarantula one night when she disobeyed her folks. This seemed appealing to the majority than the old winged man who could overlook the individuals around him. Along these lines, the curious villagers before long left the angel for the creepy-crawly, leaving the yard of Pelayo. Afterwards, Pelayo and Elisenda constructed a mansion with all the cash they had gathered and ignored the angel, consequently keeping their child from drawing near to the chicken coop (Marquez, 1999).

Ultimately, the elderly person turned into a piece of their life, and they never again dreaded him. The kid could visit him regularly. Inevitably, the chicken coop broke, and they enabled him to move around their home, even though it caused Elisenda much pain. At last, Elisenda watched him fly away to her extraordinary help.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Characters

The Old Man

The old man in the A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings story appeared in the yard of Pelayo and Elisenda looking squalid and tousled. He had wings and could communicate in an unknown language that nobody could understand. His wings and incoherent language prompted a few people to accept that he was an angel and the church to think he was a Norwegian.


He is the spouse to Elsenda. He is an unfortunate and ordinary resident who hesitantly shielded the winged elderly man in his chicken coop. Pelayo protected the elderly man against harm by modestly consulting the village priest. However, he could oppose progressively indulgent advice he got from different locals.

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She is the spouse of Pelayo. Elisenda persuades Pelayo to charge residents to see the elderly person, yet, later believes him to be a nuisance. A reasonable lady, she fundamentally worries about the welfare of Pelayo and their kid and is consequently relieved when the old man at last leaves.

Father Gonzaga

He is an authority figure in the community who acts as a priest. He willingly volunteered to observe whether the elderly person is an angel as the townsfolk accept or only a human with wings. Father Gonzaga is doubtful that the grimy elderly person could be a messenger from heavens, yet he obediently reports the occasion to his superiors in the church.

The Neighbor Woman

She is the bossy neighbor to Pelayo and Elisenda. The savvy neighbor lady appeared to be more similar to a silly know-it-all than a good advisor and is the first to recommend that the elderly person is an incapacitated holy messenger. She went ahead to advise Pelayo to club the old man to death. This way he would keep him from taking Pelayo and Elisenda’s child.

The Spider Woman

The spider woman is depicted as the monstrosity show attraction who visits the village. The spider lady had the body of a colossal creepy crawly and the head of a miserable young lady.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Themes

Theme 1: faith

Faith is one of the essential themes in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings short story. People in this community show an inconsistency of faith. In the story A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, Marquez focuses on the weakness of the faith of people. The author adds the angel as a symbol of faith in God. However, despite this evidence, the villagers questioned the mundane external characteristics of the angel. According to Marquez (1999), the angel seemed too much of a human. When the spider woman, who was another mythical creature, arrived in town, the villagers lost their interest in the old man.

Additionally, Marquez states that the villagers asked her all sorts of questions about her as she narrated her story. As a result, the villagers believed her story behind her transformation, unlike the old man who ignored everyone around him. However, the villagers did not have any factual evidence.

Theme 2: supernatural

Another theme evident in the story is supernatural. Here, the old man is viewed as creepy, supernatural or spiritual. However, the village priest needs time to consult. However, according to the crowd and the neighbor woman, the old man is an angel.

Theme 3: suffering

Suffering is another theme portrayed in the story. The old man enters the yard in bad condition that seems to get even worse. The old man is also subjected to many questions from the curious villagers. He is trapped in a chicken coop, poked, prodded and neglected.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Symbolism

In the A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings story, Marquez has used symbolism to convey a deep meaning to the story

The old man with wings


One of the most visible symbols is the old man with wings. Here, this old man is perceived to be an angel. He is used to symbolizing the unknown or unfamiliar that seems to be appearing in the civilized community (Marquez, 1999). However, the angel in the story is not treated like other heaven-sent creatures. The angel, in this perspective, symbolizes the faith people have in whatever they believe. As a result, apart from the many wings that the angel had, the people were not entirely convinced he was an angel.

The chicken coop

The chicken coop, as used in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings short story, is equally symbolic. It is used to show the boxed belief that the people in this community have. When people from different places came to know that the old man was an angel, they could plug and prod the old man in an attempt to test who he was. However, the old man did not meet their expectations. This is a clear indication that this community has boxed its ideas into what they believe.

The spider woman

According to the story, the spider woman is another symbol. She is used to showing the introduction of another freak of nature. This woman shows the faith that people of this community had and how they could easily be swayed when the unique creature arrived in their community. As a result, the people shifted their attention to the spider woman who could eat mothballs and ignored the existence of the old man.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Analysis

In the “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” Márquez has utilized a few inventive diversions from the primary storyline to make the interpretation progressively subtle. Amid the story diversions, the techniques and themes that are used turn out to be indistinguishably entwined. The old man is the main character in the story with each event bearing on him. Notwithstanding, the conduct, appearance, personality and the attention given to the old man is hindered repeatedly by shifts of focus to different characters, which are, once in a while, named and depicted finally (Marquez, 1999). The noticeable quality of the storyteller occupies the readers. The story falters between the perspective of the omniscient storyteller and that of local people, independently and collectively. For example, Father Gonzaga reveals his questions about the old man.

The readers of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings children’s story appear to occupy a place that is better than that of its characters, who view old people as jokesters and accept that their neighbors have supernatural powers. The attitude of the readers is critical concerning the role of invention and interpretation. The reader acknowledges innovativeness in itself and makes sense of how to perceive its advantaged position in the story. The redirections from the basic storyline give innovation need over closure or action. The reader approaches the interpretation carefully, as attributing symbolic characteristics to either the elderly person or his baffling vanishing may be acts of inconsequential analysis.


Marquez, G. G. (1999). A Very Old Man WithEnormous Wings.

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