Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Critique Of Human Nature In A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

In “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”, Gabriel Garcia Marquez mirrors the way humans tend to act in real life situations with how the townspeople, Pelayo, and his wife acted towards the angel. It also shows that Marquez has a negative view on human nature because he shows the lack of logic and ignorance of the people in the town. They mistreat the old man because he is different and can not appreciate the simple fact that he is a miracle. This short story is startlingly accurate in the way Marquez portrays the human behaviour compared to real life scenarios. One way he demonstrates human nature is by showing the lack of intelligence in the townspeople.

First off, when the angel first washed upon the shore, Pelayo and his wife Elisenda believe he was a castaway from a foreign ship that wrecked from the storm because he did not speak their language. They overlooked an obvious factor that is if he were to be a sailor, then he would not have wings thus indicating their serious lack of common sense. Secondly, since the woman thinks the angel came for the child, she is essentially declaring that he is bringing death. There are numerous reasons why he could be coming to the town, so the fact that she believes this is not logical because she has no proof he is bringing harm. She is not thinking realistically based on the reality of the situation at hand. Lastly, the priest is portrayed as the least educated of them all because he declares the man is not an angel since he does not speak Latin. The Bible was originally written in languages far older than Latin and no smart human would state that angels only spoke Latin.

Another way Marquez shows the true behaviours of humans is by portraying the lack of compassion in these people. When the angel first appears, Pelayo and Elisenda’s neighbor suggests clubbing him to death, but the startled couple decided to keep him in a chicken coop instead. The townspeople began to visit the angel and they had no compassion for the poor guy. He was getting beat and kicked around like a piece of dirt, and worst of all is that Pelayo and his wife were charging people as if he was a zoo attraction. They keep the angel locked up in this chicken coop for years with no feeling of kindness towards him. Since he looks different and does not speak the same language, they automatically believe he is worthless. This is comparable to the way people act today; they discriminate and treat others differently simply because of the color of their skin. Discrimmination towards blacks began in 1619 when they were made slaves by the wealthy white class and it is unfortunate that this prejudice against them still happens in today’s society. Additionally, since Pelayo and his wife were making money, they did not stop the charge of the townspeople, so this increased their lack of compassion for him. They believed that as long as he was making them money, it did not matter how they treated him. This shows that when society gets a taste of something they have never had, typically money, they lose their humbleness and make everything about themselves. These kinds of people also have tendencies to not know how to handle all of the success. In the story, Pelayo and Elisenda bought a bigger house where crabs and angels could not get in, meaning they intentionally got this mansion in order to keep the angel out. Elisenda bought silk clothing and satin shoes. They paid no attention to the condition of the chicken coop that the poor angel was living in.

At the end of the story, the readers get to witness the angel getting up and flying on his own. This is significant because it demonstrates the strength of the angel after everything he has gone through to be able to get up and fly. It mirrors the human life as in when people go through hard times in their lives, they come out stronger on the other side of it all. Additionally, it shows that when you persevere, you can make it through the difficulties of life no matter what your circumstances are, as long as you keep going.

10 October 2020
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