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A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Question 3) Today, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is regarded as one of the foremost writers of the 20th century. In large part, Marquez gained his esteem through the publication of the seminal novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera…
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Download file to see previous pages This is a complex term which takes on a variety of implications, but can be most accurately understood as a story blending magical elements with an otherwise realistic narrative. Through an examination of Marquez’ ‘A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,’ this essay contextualizes this understanding of magic realism. One recognizes that Marquez fuses magical and realistic elements into this text from the very opening sections. In this way, Marquez begins the narrative through a number of realistic descriptive patterns, before implementing a magical element in his description of the old man. In this way Marquez writes, “He had to go very close to see that it was an old man, a very old man, lying face down in the mud, who, in spite of his tremendous efforts, couldn't get up, impeded by his enormous wings” (Marquez). In this way, Marquez situates an element of magical realism at the story’s very core through the characterization of the titular character. A notable aspect of the old man is the way that the other characters interact with this man. Marquez indicates that at first they express astonishment at his condition, but then come to feel comfortable around him. Rather than simply recognizing the man as an individual with wings, they attempt to use their best worldly reasoning to make sense of the situation. As such, the man is determined to be an angel. It seems then that an aspect of magical realism is that the magical elements retain a slight dissonance from the realistic perspectives of the rest of the narrative. As the story progresses, Marquez seamlessly interweaves other magical realist elements into the plot. It is not long before a carnival emerges wherein on-lookers revel at the man. During this period, a man with bat wings flies overhead, but nobody pays attention to him because he does not have angel wings. Later in the story, a woman who has changed into a spider appears. Because of the tragic components of this woman’s story, as well as her cheaper admission price, she quickly dwarfs the old man in terms of attention. In this instance, Marquez is making a further ironic statement on the nature of the magical elements; namely, it is the shock of the new that has intrigued the crowd, not so much the ‘magical’ component itself. Again, one witnesses that while the magic element is a major aspect of this literary technique, it is the realistic reaction to these magical elements which more fully encapsulates the use of magical realism as a literary technique. Another aspect of magical realism appears to be the gradual integration of the magical element into the real world. In terms of the old man, this is witnessed as he becomes accepted by Pelayo and Elisenda. This acceptance then is extended to the villagers, as they tire of his act. Finally, Marquez depicts the man as physiologically integrating into the fabric of human existence. Referring to the doctor’s perception of the man’s wings, Marquez writes, “They seemed so natural on that completely human organism that he couldn't understand why other men didn't have them too” (Marquez). In this section, Marquez additionally describes the old man in human terms, with the dragging of the wing’s potentially representing a metaphor of the old man’s life. While the angel flies away at the end, it seems that this can be a further metaphor on death. In conclusion, this essay has examined Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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