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Exploring theme in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"

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Matt Daigle

on 24 March 2014

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Transcript of Exploring theme in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"

What does the title suggest ?
Exploring theme in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"
- someone who is down and out
- a “has-been”
- an underdog

"Old Man" Can Symbolize
Together, they suggest the theme for the story which would be “Don’t judge a book by its cover,”
- freedom
- the potential to soar, indicating success

Enormous Wings Symbolize
Theme Defined
Visuals
- theme is the overall message of a story

- Some people argue for one “main theme” in a story with possible sub themes

- others believe stories are open to multiple interpretations

The recovery of the man from a decrepit sideshow to a powerful and free being supports this.
Recurrences that hint at abstract concepts
Money
What it can buy
How it can change a family's life
Father Gonzaga
Refrains to the church
Symbol of salvation
Money
Father Ganzaga (church)
Character change over story
Though they were suspicious of the angel’s intent, his arrival brought blessings to the family in every way.

- The son recovers from his sickness the morning after the angel’s arrival
- The family becomes very well off financially during the chaotic days that follow
- The old man becomes a strong and dignified creature, then attains freedom

None of the characters discover any fundamental “truth”, but do change in status.
In spite of this, they refused to appreciate his presence.
From this, we see two possible themes:
“People rarely appreciate the things that bring true value to their lives."
“People resist change, even when it is to their benefit.”

Does the way in which the conflict’s resolution provide insight into the theme?
The sub-conflict is resolved by two plot devices:
There is a main conflict and a sub conflict in the story
- the main conflict is the angel’s presence
- the sub-conflict is the crowds it attracts.

- the angel’s “miracles” are not flashy, and often strange
- the arrival of a much flashier sideshow, the spider lady, steals his thunder

“What was most heart-rending, however, was not her outlandish shape but the sincere affliction with which she recounted the details of her misfortune.”


- This is after the family has profited off of his suffering
- Elisenda watched him leave, and thought of him only as a nuisance to the last.
- This reinforces the theme mentioned that “People rarely appreciate the things
that bring true value to their lives."

The main conflict is resolved by the angel’s departure.
"they built a two-story mansion with balconies and gardens and high netting so crabs wouldn't get it during the winter, and with iron bars on the windows so that angels wouldn't get in...Pelayo...gave up his job as bailiff for good, and Elisenda bought some satin pumps with high heels and many dresses of iridescent silk" (Marquez 273).
Discussion
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"Direct statements from the characters or narrator about general concepts, issues or topics"
Full transcript