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“A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia


The article, ‘A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,’ is a masterpiece by Gabriel Garcia. The article’s story revolves around a man, Paleyo, and his family who discover what seems to be an older man with wings. The story is sparked by a few characters whom the author takes time to give us an insight into how they might look like and their distinct behaviours. However, the main theme is about the old man, the author chips in a few other main characters and attempts to develop them into the main story. In this essay, I will explain how Garcia develops the story’s characters to give the audience an insight into their appearance, behaviour, and character.

First, there are many ways to introduce and describe characters and their origins. The author is a bit vague in explaining the origin of the story’s major characters. To begin with the old man, the author gives no clear direction as to where he came from. The author leaves most of the old man’s story a mystery (Nilo, 67). He does not attempt to bring closure to his history and motivations in the plot. He emerges out of nowhere and is found by Pelayo lying in the mud outside their home. The author, however, dives deep into the old man’s physical appearance giving the audience a clear thought of how Pelayo found him in the mad. The analysis is clear and concise as the author narrates the scene they are describing. He uses weighted statements like, “in spite of his tremendous efforts, could not get up, impeded by his enormous wings.” To how the author narrates the state and mood of the story, he gives the audience a clear explanation of his characters.

Furthermore, he describes his character’s physical appearance with the same weight across the whole plot. Garcia describes the man using the statement, “his huge buzzards wings, dirty and half-pucked,” which gives audiences the visual representation they need (1). Garcia maintains his mystery throughout by denying the audience a description of the family, the newborn, and the wife, Elisenda. Similar to how he explains the current state of the old, he gives a shallow depiction of how Pelayo and Elisenda’s family was doing before they met the old man. There is no detailed information about any of the people who came to witness the old man’s appearance. For example, taking father Gonzaga’s character, the author only does his best to explain their occupation and role in the scene.

Maintaining mystery in a plot entails hiding key information about the characters, which the narrator utilizes extensively. As the story continues to unveil, the author introduces new characters but still maintains the mystery in the plot. The narrator explains that “the angel was the only one who took no part in his own act” (Garcia, 1). He introduces a new character, a woman who was changed to a spider after disobeying their parents (Roghayeh, 81). Similarly, there is no origin story of what occurred in her life or after being changed to a spider. The author does not give her motivations, leaving readers to speculate just as the witnessing crowd did. After everything, the old man leaves. His story is only avoided the author leaves.


In conclusion, Garcia maintains the theme of mystery across the whole plot. Like the characters, the author displays no knowledge about the old man’s thoughts and intentions which creates ambiguity and puts the readers and characters of the plot on the same page. The readers are forced to understand the old man’s story through an explained observation by the author. However, in his writings, Garcia judges some witnesses and shows admiration for some behaviours. The town in description is not tied to any story, nor does the narrator hint at their relationship with it. This maintains the uncertainty already created, leaving the story inscrutable.

Works Cited

Cruz, Nilo. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings: Adapted from the short story by Gabriel García Márquez.” Theatre 33.2 (2003): 65-91.

Farsi, Roghayeh. “Proximization and literature: Marquez’s “a very old man with enormous wings. ” Journal of Literary Semantics 47.1 (2018): 67-83.

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. “A very old man with enormous wings: A tale for children.” Leaf storm: And other stories (2005), pp. 1-5.


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