This magical realism written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez “A very old man with enormous wings” tells the story of an old character that seems to be an angel that turns out to be the central attraction of the town where he unfortunately crashed due to a heavy rain season. The story define by its author as a tale for children seems to bepointless with no moral at first but as one take a closer look at it we understand that maybe the author is depicting the human reaction to the unknown and inferior being and also pointing out how narrow the vision of the human race can be, therefore how intolerant to differences they can become.
The story begins during a three day storm as Pelayo is removing the crabs brought in by the storm andthrowing them into the sea when he discover the old man with wings embedded in the mud in their courtyard. At first they don’t really know what they should do with him. Although he appears to be very old and harmless, they take no chances of putting him in their main house and they secure him in the chicken coop. There, the old winged man shows no concern for the visitors who upon hearing news of hisexistence come from everywhere to see him. In fact, the old man is characterized throughout the story by his indifference toward the people and events that occur. The author mentions that “his only supernatural virtue seemed to be patience” (3) to illustrate his almost nonhuman reaction to the annoyance caused by the crowd. They even called him an angel.
Although angels are usually attributed togod, this particular man did not look divine to the common villagers. His old body along with his clothing “took away any sense of grandeur he might have had.”(1) He soon became a parody and later was even used by pelayo and his wife as a lucrative attraction. This type of behavior is common among humans. The unknown usually attracts us and later used for our own benefits. When in the beginning ofthe story Pelayo calls a neighbor that apparently “knew everything about life and death” (2) and ask her for clarification on the nature of the old man she only needed one look to identify him as an angel. Yet further in the story we find out that her advice to the family was to beat him down to death even though she believed that he was coming to heal an unhealthy kid. In a similar way, when thenew world was first discovered in late fifteen century, the English sailors first saw the Indians as a new attractions because they were quite different and inferior than the average person in England at that time. The curiosity around this new type of civilization did not last long before they felt the need to conquer and enslave this new race for their own benefits. They made the males work longhours looking for gold and the females were used as sexual toys. Philosopher John Stuart Mill in his utilitarianism philosophy states that the human is always self-interest driven. It is that without the presence of a mediator –the law in our society- , we humans are naturally looking to maximize our profits and happiness regardless of how it would affect other people around us.
Although pelayoand his wife had been rescued in many ways by this unexpected visitor their compassion towards him is hardly felt. The author mentions that pelayo did not club him to death but did not also treat him in the best ways. It was only after the child started to feel better that they decided they were going to “put the old man on a raft with fresh water and abandon him to his fate.” (1) They also madea significant amount of money just by charging 5 cents to see the angel. Their economic situation was forever improved.
As mentioned earlier the magical realism used in this story illustrates many aspects of our society today. The reaction of the people in the town towards the appearance of an unknown creature with a bald skull, just a few teeth in his mouth and enormous wings resembling a rare...