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Magical Realism:A very old man with enormous wings

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madison gardiner

on 8 April 2015

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Transcript of Magical Realism:A very old man with enormous wings

"Humans have a natural tendency to distrust and look down upon that which they do not know. "
Figurative Language
All of these people wanted the angel to be some sort of heavenly being: a beautiful, magical, and miraculous angel. When they discovered that he possessed no magical or 'heavenly' qualities they were extremely let down. When one thinks of an extra-terrestrial being, powers and special abilities are always paired along side of it, yet in the story, they said "His only supernatural virtue seemed to be patience" (Marquez 221). The people had a set of expectations for this angel of how has should act, look, and the powers he should posses. When they actually got to know the angel, he shattered all of their expectations in a disappointing way. Perhaps this town needed a miracle, or someone to be healed and thought that the angel was the answer to their prayers, yet soon the whole town realized that he was not their savior.
Magical Element
Magical Realism: A very old man with enormous wings
The theme of distrust around the unknown in
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
is continuously developing throughout the story, whether by the way the angel is perceived by the townspeople or the living arrangements given to him by Pelayo and his wife. Due to the fact that this strange man/angel is foreign to the natives, automatically they are suspicious of him, and take precautions to ensure the safety of themselves and their families. At the very beginning of the story, when the angel is first discovered, distrust is already blooming, sprouting from a seed of suspicion. “Pelayo watched over him all afternoon from the kitchen, armed with his bailiffs club, and before going to bed he dragged him out of the mud and locked him up with the hens in the wire chicken coop” (Marquez 218). Since Pelayo does not know the angel, his first reaction is to treat the strange creature as a threat. Arming himself with his bat, Pelayo locks the angel in the chicken coop, not only in attempt to protect himself, but also to confine the ‘beast’. In addition to distrusting the angel, the townspeople neglect to regard the basic rights of the creature. Rather than treating him with the decency and respect that the angel deserves, he is treated as an animal. “The whole neighborhood [was] in front of the chicken coop having fun with the angel, without the slightest reverence, tossing him things to eat through the openings in the wire as if he were not a supernatural creature but a circus animal” (Marquez 219). This demonstrates that the townspeople do not consider the angel as a heavenly being (“without the slightest reverence”) which also translates to them having no respect for the angel. Not only is the angel in a cage, but the people are also feeding him, further illustrating the idea of him being looked down upon and being treated as an animal. Near the conclusion of the short story, even after the angel had provided the family with an exponentially better life than they had before, they still look down upon the angel, treating him as an insignificant animal. The family is blinded by their new found pride and hubris, and fail to see the roots of their good fortune. For example, “Pelayo threw a blanket over him and extended him the charity of letting him sleep in the shed” (Marquez 224). While during the beginning of the story the main feelings towards the angel were distrust and suspicion, by the end of the story they have evolved into belittling and dominating the angel, exemplified by the people misusing their power and authority by means of treating the angel as less of a human being (or as an animal).

"The world had been sad since Tuesday"
(Marquez 217).
This is an example of personification (giving human like characteristics to an inanimate object). The world cannot truly feel emotion, yet by portraying the world as feeling sad it illustrates the mood that the weather inflicts on earth's inhabitants as well as the overall stormy and gloomy climate.
"In the midst of that shipwreck disorder that made the earth tremble" (Marquez 220).
This is an example of a hyperbole (exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally). The disorder did not really make the Earth shake,but this statement is used to display the immensity of the disorder and the turmoil occurring.
This is an example of a metaphor (a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing, but is used to designate another, thus making an implicit comparison). The shipwreck is being compared to the chaos. Just as a shipwreck has many spread out and unattached or unaccounted for pieces, so does this chaos happening at the house. In addition, a shipwreck is something that is virtually never anticipated, as was the angel who made an unforeseen appearance.
The Angel
The angel is a magical element, as they do not exist in the real world. The main component that convinced the townspeople that he was an angel were his wings. Some believed the angel was a heavenly being, sent from God, while others thought he was some strange and untamed creature. One of the factors that makes this story have magical realism is that when the angel was first found in Pelayo's yard, his appearance and origin was not questioned.
The woman sphinx
The woman sphinx is a magical element. While both women and spiders exist in the real world, they can not be combined into one creature. Originally the character was a young woman, yet one night when she had sneaked out to go dancing she was changed into the new creature by a lightning bolt. Now, as a woman sphinx, she travels in a circus, telling people her story and preforming for them.
Throughout the whole story the angel is in a cage, accompanied only by chickens. The cage symbolizes that the townspeople and tourists consider this angel to be some sort of circus animal (as they are always kept in a cage, never set free, and subject to the will of their masters). The natives look at the angel as a strange creature meant only to provide them with entertainment. They even go so far as to throw food into the cage, which only solidifies their perception of the angel as a circus act, and not as a beautiful, albeit mysterious creation.
Near the end of the story, Pelayo's small boy begins to wonder into the chicken coop where the angel is living, so that he can play. The angel did not change his demeanor around the boy, but he was extremely patient. Later on, the boy and the angel got sick with chicken pox simultaneously. This could symbolize a friendship or some sort of bond forming between the two. The fact that they both got sick at the same time means they had to be spending large amounts of time with one another, which could have lead to them forming a relationship. Another reason for their connection could be that this small boy sees something in the angel that none of the money-obsessed adults do. Perhaps this is because as a child, the boy has little to no idea what money is and the possessive powers it contains. Also, he has not had enough experience, as a human, to know that when something is different it is usually ostracized or thought of as something weird, or of less value. This boy's child-like innocence and purity could be the very thing that allows any sort of relationship to begin.
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