In “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” I intend to explore how Gabriel Marquez applies symbolism and utilizes magical realism to confront religious beliefs along with an allegory style of writing to reflect his views on religion and society. This story may not be meant by Marquez to be a direct threat to religion, but it does reflect the challenges of the world against things related to religion. So firstly I need to define allegory and how Marquez uses it as a method in his writings, in relation to characters and events in order to symbolize ideas and concepts in seemingly ironic situations. To be more specific, allegory is described as a way of explaining concepts which cannot be easily explained, by telling a story which has a deeper meaning; Marquez’s unique use of allegory is the catalyst that drew me to this topic.
Gabriel Marquez was quoted as saying “Style is determined by subject, by the mood of the times.” What did he mean by this in relation to this story, and what religious message was he trying to convey to the reader. Furthermore with more research I hope to determine that there was an underlying meaning to his writing which was either based on his mood at the time or possibly based on the moral, religious, social, political views of his time. This line of thinking also helps me to take this short story and explore a secondary topic for my paper where I can delve into our human nature in regard to how we judge others based on their surface features, and then determine morally whether they have the right to be treated with respect or given our disdain.
Eventually, this can lead into Marquez’s use of symbolism where I can focus on supporting details from the story, in relation to specific characters even implied situations, for example, How an angel symbolizes the unfamiliar to people in this small town and how this angel is not just a supernatural being but can be a representation of religion arriving in their country or even a Christ like figure that they have just discovered. Nevertheless he is generally to most in the town a foreign body or simply someone who stands out as being different from the rest of society. Consequently, the treatment of the angel also draws attention to how our society’s fear of the unknown brings out our contempt for others we don’t understand and reveals the vulnerability of human nature which leads to uncivilized behavior instead of a helping hand.
There seems to be an endless amount of information on this story which leads to more questions that will need to be sorted out for example; what is the symbolic significance of the old man and his enormous wings? Since he is called an “angel”, is there a religious significance to his physical appearance? The story contains almost no dialogue. Why is this appropriate? How does it relate to the point of view the author has chosen? What were the people’s reaction to the angel in a very old man with enormous wings and how does this parallel with other stories we have read?
At any rate other significant information I would like to explore in my paper will be finding out why Gabriel Marquez decided to write this story in the first place and at the same time label it, “A Tale For Children” when it clearly had adult themes that young children would not understand, which I’m sure will lead me to the real meaning behind Marquez’s inspiration and true message for his wonderful story, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings.”
Works that will be Cited
Faulkner, Tom. “An overview of ‘A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,’.” Gale Online Encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale, 2013. Literature Resource Center. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. “Gabriel Garcia Marquez.” Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Literature Resource Center. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. Gabriel García Márquez, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, pages 590-594 in Compact Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing (edited by Kirszner and Mandell. Wadsworth, 2012). “Overview: “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Tim Akers. Vol. 6. Detroit: Gale Group, 1999. Literature Resource Center. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. Riley, Shewanda. “Miracles Aren’t so Hard to Come by.” Mississippi Link: 13. Nov 2011. ProQuest. Web. 26 Nov. 2013 .
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