Rhetorical Analysis of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Rhetorical Analysis of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings


The author Gabriel Marquez Garcia inter-weaves through nature and manages to come up with an imaginary supernatural creature in a way that we didn’t expect, ye he manages to produce a scintillating and stimulating work in his novel. After reading the novel, one is left asking themselves how they would have responded to the situation if they happened to be confronted with such a supernatural creature in a similar manner. He does blend the repugnant sections of life using this miraculous supernatural being, and then effectively makes use of a very creative tone with a unique style in creation of a story which he then uses to convey the elements in our everyday lifestyles, going beyond to even supersede it. The author does utilize the story to invite us, to be able to look with closeness at the various events that normally happen in our usual lives. It gives us an insight to be able to determine how to respond if we would be faced with such mundane. The novel does give us an inspiration to be able to take a glance towards the events that seems not to be normal and try to get their deeper meaning. The tale tries to imply that such happenings as miraculous daily lives could much create or indeed influence our daily lives, if we happen to look at this events using a rightful perspective.

The View Point of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

The story sets a clear tone at the very beginning, using an un-natural occurrence which is also unwelcome in the society. This is briefly portrayed when we have to witness a very sick child lying in drab with the inclement type of weather. In the scenes that evolve in several few sentences, the author utilizes a writing style that happens to immediately grab a reader’s imagination in his writing. He portrays the world to have been sad from Tuesday up to now. While still in the very paragraph, the author goes at it again and brings the magical element when he introduces a surreal character, a very old man who has large wings (García, 12). This, by the author of the text happens to immediately shatter the mindsets that we could have developed for the powerful or angels that are holy. He places the character in the mud, first by the face and makes him to be unable to extricate himself, due to the enormous wings.

The author employs a greater stint of irony. He writes that despite the old man having wings, he could not take himself out of the mud that he happened to be entangled in, irony where he could not fly above the elements occurring in day to day lives. The wings also hinder him from getting out instead bringing with it the unwanted attention. The tone where he uses irony happens to be evidenced throughout the novel itself (22). We also witness it at the point where the author does describe an old wise woman trying to determine if that old man who had wings was indeed an angel or not, finding him to be an imposter, and not only ending their but goes ahead to make a suggestion that they should club the old man to death. Marquez clearly portrays it also in the wording that he has chosen whereby he says the husband together with his wife were indeed magnanimous and they opted to go ahead and set the old man with wings afloat upon a raft giving him enough foodstuff that could last him for a few more days, leaving him face the fate in the seas.

Also evidenced in this story is where the author using a tone that happens to conveys regret in which humanity fails to be able to appreciate, the magic which is still part of day to day lives. Instead of having an appreciation for a life experience, live to the fullest in this moment, we often tend to look on it in the sense of what we are going to gain from something in general. The author brings out the sense of tone in greed and selfishness when we happen to witness in the story that the husband Pelayo together with the wife Elisenda, decided to make exploits in the advantage of having the ‘angel’ with them and goes ahead to charge the onlookers for them to be able to have a look at him. Here we have been given an opportunity of getting to imagine on what might have done had we been faced by a very similar situation (29). Actually, to tell the truth, there isn’t any angel going to come from the sky and fall into our yards when the day is stormy, but the big lesson here is that in our daily events, how can we be able to employ opportunities as such that do present themselves to us. Marquez, in this text does invite us to be able to ask questions to ourselves such as those in the story.

In employing his unique magical realism, the author Marquez has woven these natural events of humanity using the supernatural elements, and happens to create several scenes that try to make the reader want to go on again and again, to be able to find out if they have missed on something important in the storyline. For instance, the author makes us notice beyond reprieve that the angel was too much of a man when he says that even Father Gonzaga was able to notices that the old man was too much of human. This is all by smelling him. This also portrays everything about the old man as opposite to what we could have pictured as an angel or a holy creature. On a closer look, the angelic character is also witnessed in a glimpsed within the pages by the author, in phrases like the old man had unending patience (36).

He did endure any mistreatment that was guided towards him like being thrown in the chicken house and locked up, being pushed around, being poked at and even being prodded. He didn’t fight back at all. He did wait as if he had a knowhow that these things were only going to happen for a shorter time. This happens to be signs that can only be displayed by an angel, from a supernatural origin. This is very inspiring in the sense that in case we happen to be faced by such events in our humanly nature and sometimes it happens to be unsavory circumstances, we should be able to manifest this attributes from the angel, of patience together with endurance. The story tells us all to be determinant in everything we do and that it even possible to withstand all challenges that we may face (Stephen & Kirszner, 23).

On the other hand, when we try to get a deeper vision of old man, he happens to have a human body and also has unexpected wings. These things make him to be appearing neither as fully human nor even surreal. Also evidenced is that the old man seemed to be more of being human, when the author depicts him as being surrounded in filth, the diseases, the infirmity, and even the squalor. He also had a humanly reaction towards people in the crowd and when a doctor does examine him, they that indeed the wings were all but natural. Therefore any of the heavenly qualities that the old man could have been showing are then completely obscured. The author also happens to take the angelhood of the man for granted, by saying that the wings have lunar dust and with stellar parasite.   All this, the author says that they seem to be genuinely supernatural (29). At the end of the story, the identity of the old man in nature is still a mystery.

Márquez also happens to make use of several inventive diversions in the story line and makes the general interpretation of the story to become more elusive. The diversion technique is totally inseparably from the main story and can therefore not be easily differentiated from the main storyline. While still having the old man or the angel being central in his storyline, with every event having to pick a bearing from him, his behavior, his identity, the fate he is going to face, or even the effects; all the attention that happens to have been focused onto him gets to be frequently interrupted with the author shifting the focus a little bit to the other characters, even going at greater lengths of sometimes giving their brief description. This obtrusiveness by our narrator functions in a larger part to distracting the reader. For instance, as Father Gonzaga is entering, he does get to reveal the suspicions he has for the angel, the observations he has about him, the sermon for the villagers, and then promises in seeking advice from the supernatural power for answers. Then this same very old man totally disappears out in the author’s narrative altogether (36).

Another distractive technique is evidenced in a sub-full story given about a carnival woman that has been transformed to be a spider having disobeying the parents. This episode does well to provide a distraction, just like the others did, bringing out imaginative excesses in the ailments being suffered in the people that seek the angel’s help together with the cures provided by him. The author talks of a blind person remaining to be blind and still grows another three teeth which are all new; a leper with sores which happens to be sprouting like sunflowers; a paralyzed person who doesn’t recover using the limbs and instead does almost win a lottery. All these details take up the attention towards them, and rather don’t bring out the cause for the problems faced by the old man (Stobaugh, 23). Thus, the author used the technique of distraction properly by using several episodes in the structuring of his storyline and the narrative commentary in the novel making combinations purposefully for the distraction of the reader away from this old man, making all rational interpretations for his arrival saying out that the possibilities of departure impossible.

In this story however, the reader happens to also occupy a superior position to the one occupied by the characters. The characters view people who are odd as clowns, thereby believing that they do possess some if not all supernatural powers within them. This superiority sense happens to be very important for building on the story’s humor, only as a minor aspect for the total response to the story itself. The author makes the reader be able to appreciate the invention in the story and helps them to learn accepting their privileged position within the story. It also helps the reader in approaching the stories interpretation very cautiously (29). The author helps the reader appreciate the symbolic values attributed to the angel and his disappearance that was indeed mysterious. Thus, we get to have an experience of the magical realism by Márquez’s style and have a blurring vision of the several divisions that are between real and fantastic, using the magic to be able to underscore our notion that being irrational happens to be a natural part in our lives.

Literary Elements

The author makes the novel to be also full of devices in literature which contribute towards the story’s theme and a clear tone. The important common device throughout this novel happens to be the narrative technique, in a sense of another person narrating the story in limitation. This implies that the person making a narration of this story isn’t in the plot, even not part of the novels characters, and therefore has a limited access for the inner thoughts of the characters, together with their feelings. There is also a heavy usage of sensory language in the novel; a heavily used literary device which happens to run throughout. There is use of several words that evoke the five senses of our being. There happens to be descriptive passages which do not only use visual elements in the novel, but also the sense of smells, that of sounds, for tastes, and the sense of touching things. For instance: the statement which says that there were strange odors from the angel mixed into the heavy air in the field around the angel (33).

The author also happens to have used several literary elements like imagery to be able to build up on the various characters in the novel. For instance, he uses imagery to build on the old man’s character being like an unusual angel. The author does try to base his descriptions of the old man to being a human with the use of irony rather than using typical descriptions of beauty, grandeur, grace, and perfection for the angelic image to come to the mind of the reader.  He doesn’t create a sharp contrast between humans and angels that we know of. But the angel has a lot more dirt; he is senile and also portrayed as an old man rather than being graceful as a majestic figure often associated to the angel, making him to lack the usual glowing that is normally golden for the angels. This brings out the imagery bit in a greater sense (Zamora, 21).

Marquez also uses a narrative language that does well to be able to combine the realistic and also the unrealistic elements in the story line. For instance, the author writes about Pelayo together with Elisenda being surprised with the old man’s appearance, soon getting to be able to overcame this surprise where at the end, they did find him to be familiar in the society. Towards the story’s end, the angel’s character of being patient is seen to be rewarded. His wings do even sprout newer feathers at the spring dawn. The tone together with the setting of this story does match his action. This also depicts an image of a newer life that happens to begin all around, and even within the place of the storyline. The angel, with the newly grown feathers, does look in the sky, feeling a cool breeze, begins to start flying, by slowly rising higher, disappearing beyond the ocean, and the blue sky (23).

The author also does utilize juxtaposition, to place two different scenes nearer each other, in a side to side relationship to be able to highlight its contrast. There happens to be very sharp contrasts within this novel, like flowery descriptive manner used by the narrator against the very blunt speeches given by the characters. For instance, we witness Elisenda watching inside the kitchen. The author says that she was watching from the kitchen until she could not see him anymore, then she had a clear that he was no longer an annoyance to their lives. He was now only an imaginary thing like a dot viewed from the horizon. This is a very strange juxtaposition seen in her emotion. This happens to be very funny to witness as Elisenda watches the angel take off; the very same angel provided them with enough funds to build their mansion. It is indeed very funny that she felt nothing, only relief for the annoyance to have gone. At the very end, just the way it did happen at the stories beginning, we see a normal person being confronted by surreal events, failing to see how amazing it is (29). This shows that Elisenda likely was never to truly appreciate a miracle to enter into her life as it fades away. This indeed is a great imagery portrayed by the author.


With this tone which the author has set in the story’s end, it only leaves us with a question to ask even another question: As in many a times we get an opportunity to witness an extra-ordinary event as such, but we look away. We get confronted by something that is very amazing and we do often fail in seeing what is there for us since we refuse going past these questions. Using the magical realism, Marquez has opened a door onto some very interesting questions which invites us as readers not to only be able to enter into imagination with a lot of mystery, but look into another person’s thoughts with their actions to be able to see their measure in every day’s lives elements. The author has brilliantly challenged the social ideologies facing us in both in the daily life events and the current periodical perceptions of anything in the society, bringing out his novel to portray her views and sentiments in the public prominence. The major issue a reader may have with this novel is the idea that the owners of the ‘angel’ do abandon him to continue being in a poor health despite the fact that he was bringing them a lot of funds. To the author’s audience, a character that happens to overlook against an opportunity brings out a shocking revelation to the readers. Therefore, such character evokes a lot of criticism from the reader and the society at large. The author makes the work to be remarkable in that the novel in the sense that he does a keen analysis for his characters, bringing out a presentation of all the emotional effects which seems to be revealing life.


Works Cited

García, Márquez G. Very Old Man with Enormous Wings. , n.d.

Kirszner, Laurie G, and Stephen R. Mandell. Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2013.

Stobaugh, James P. Handbook for Literary Analysis: How to Evaluate Prose Fiction, Drama, &

Poetry. BookBaby, 2012.

Zamora, Lois P. Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Duke Univ. Press, 1995.