A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Summary For You!

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings summary

Many students shiver at the thought of ‘A very old man with enormous wings’ essay. Some would throw in the excuse that the title alone is long and confusing. Others would lament that ‘A very old man with enormous wings’ summary is complicated. But those are just what they are – excuses! There is nothing complex under the sun that does not have a solution.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Summary: The Plot

It is a short story about Pelayo and his wife, Elisenda. These two find a significantly older man who has wings in their courtyard. Their encounter was after killing crabs in a rainstorm. After unsuccessfully trying to communicate with him, they get their neighbor, who tells them that he is an angel.

The neighbor informs them that the angel had come for their sick child. The older man lives in the chicken coop. However, the child’s fever breaks out in the middle of the night but later recovers.

The entire community arrives to see the man with enormous wings. When Father Gonzaga arrives, he refutes the possibility of the man being an angel. Nevertheless, people from all over the community begin streaming into Pelayo’s compound to see the ‘angel.’

Elisenda starts charging 5 cents as an admission fee, and they soon become rich. As the events continue to unfold, a carnival boasting a Spider-Girl comes to town. The people shift their attention to her and leave the ‘angel.’

With all the money accumulated, Pelayo and his wife build a mansion. At one time, they neglect the man and even refrain their child from visiting the chicken coop. Later on, however, the man becomes part of their life. In the end, the man flies away as Elisenda watches, feeling relieved.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Theme

This short story’s prevailing theme is human responsibility towards the different, weak, and dependent. We can see the callousness and cruelty throughout the story.

For instance, when the older man appears, the neighbor’s suggests that he should die. The reason for this was that the older man was an angel who had come for the ailing child. Therefore, ‘A very old man with enormous wings’ analysis essay would delve deeper into such human characters.

Other occasions include:

  • How Pelayo and his wife treat the old man
  • The reaction of Father Gonzaga towards him
  • How the man was in a chicken coop
  • The abandoning of the old man

‘A very old man with enormous wings’ magical realism theme is also evident. Instances that support this are:

  • The older man having enormous wings
  • The swarms of crabs present in Pelayo’s home
  • The older man covered in lice
  • A spider woman
  • A tarantula with the head of a sad maiden

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Analysis Example


A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is a short story written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that shows how people perceive those who are weak, dependent, and different. At the same time, The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende describes the life of the Trueba family in light of the post-colonial shift in Chile. Both these stories belong to the genre of magical realism, which was widely spread in the Latin American literature. The current article focuses on a brief comparison of these stories. While both of them are written in the same genre, trying to combine real and magic elements, the ways in which they approach this genre are different.Magic realism was a popular genre that united a number of writers in Latin America. In addition to Marquez and Allende, there were also many other authors whose works were associated with this narrative fiction genre, including Miguel Angel Asturias, Jorge Luis Borges, Elena Garro, Juan Rulfo, and Romulo Gallegos (Bowers 15). The essence of magical realism is in describing events in a real world along with some magical components. Such phenomena as fables, myth, and allegory are often intertwined in magic realism stories (Bowers 11). This is one of the main reasons why this genre remains attractive to contemporary readers.

A Very Old man with Enormous Wings portrays a very old man with enormous wings who appears on one yard in a stormy night (Waver and Jones 5). The existence of this magical figure is accompanied by a detailed description of the attitudes of the family and other people in the town. An attempt to combine magical components with the real-world events and phenomena proves that this story embodies the principles of magic realism. With the help of a magic realism component, the author demonstrated the reactions of real people to a mysterious creature, contributing to the mystery plot’s attractiveness.

It should be emphasized that magic realism plays a crucial role in this short story. A Very Old man with Enormous Wings features an omniscient narrator in order to describe the events that happen throughout the story from the independent perspective (Warnes 19). The narrator does not belong to a real or magical world; however, except for this figure, the separation between these two worlds seems a crucial aspect of the plot. The story shows a precise separation between real and magic phenomena. For instance, a very old man could have been a common person if he had not had wings. Owing to these wings, he is considered as something strange by community members. His wings are secular images because they might demonstrate this man’s connection with an angel who is more honest than people in this town (Hart and Ouyang 10). Moreover, the man’s wings have a similar anatomy to a human’s body. Such description of these wings might demonstrate that this very old man should be also treated as a human being.

The House of the Spirits also belongs to the genre of the magic realism. The story of four generations of one family is described along with social and political changes in Chile (Fmovies). In this story, there is a connection between real and magic elements. For instance, the family exists in the real world; however, Clara del Valle possesses some abnormal powers (Allende 69). In addition to this, there is also a character named Rosa, who has mermaid-like beauty.

It should be emphasized that the family has to accept Clara’s power to predict the future. Magic elements in the story are described along with real life and political events. Such combination of a realistic and magic might make a great influence on a reader. In the story, Clara’s character is compared with her brother. Therefore, such juxtaposition can underpin the presence of magic moments that are not even paid much attention from the family’s side. At the same time, such magic abilities of Clara can help her family to overcome complicated hurdles that appear because of a political situation in a country at the end of the novel (Allende 18).

Both stories discussed in this essay belong to the genre of the magic realism; however, they approach this genre differently (Allende 12). It should be emphasized that both of them try to combine magical elements with real-life events happening in the real world. Some characters in stories possess abnormal skills, and the attitude toward these characters differs in stories. Clara is normally perceived by the family, but a very old man with wings causes misunderstandings and judgments from others.

Another difference between the stories is that their authors often focus on different events and topics. The House of Spirits has the description of political events; at the same time, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is devoted to events of one small town without trying to drive some global political agenda (Allende 25). Moreover, in The House of Spirits, the woman’s power is underpinned while in A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, the focus is on a very old man who causes empathy. Clara is able to communicate with spirits, and her magical abilities are helpful when she predicts the future political events.

To sum up, the analysis of two short stories conducted in the paper showed that both stories belong to the genre of magic realism, which is characterized by an attempt to combine real and magical elements. These elements exist together and do not inhibit each other; furthermore, in both stories, they facilitate each other. However, such existence of magic elements might make a person mull over the structure of reality. In accordance with the principles of magical realism, magic and real elements are blended. However, the magic elements are described in such a way that they cannot be distinguished from real ones. Real-life situations are combined with magic elements in both short stories, which contributes to the mystery plot’s attractiveness.

Therefore, we can derive numerous essay prompts for ‘A very old man with enormous wings’ from the two themes described above.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Symbolism

When we conduct ‘A very old man with enormous wings’ analysis, we will discover many symbols. Some of them include:

Wings: In the story, they represent speed, a superior being, or power. That is why they referred to him as an angel. The wings on him suggested a sense of being supernatural.

The spider woman: She may represent how people approach their faith with fickleness. How she turned into a spider is also a matter of concern – it was out of disobedience.

‘A very old man with enormous wings’ symbolism also plays out where the old man is in a chicken coop. It represents his humility and lowly state. The fact that he was old and came in rags also shows this attribute.

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Quotes

Numerous quotes stand out in the story of the older man with enormous wings:

  1. “Nothing about him measured up to the proud dignity of angels.”
  2. “His pitiful condition of a drenched great-grandfather took away any sense of grandeur.”
  3. “His only supernatural virtue seemed to be patience.”
  4. “The angel went dragging himself about here and there like a stray dying man.”
  5. “The majority understood that his passivity was not that of a hero taking his ease but that of a cataclysm in repose.”
  6. “He seemed to be in so many places at the same time that they grew to think that he’d been duplicated”.
  7. “He awoke with a start, ranting in his hermetic language and with tears in his eyes, and he flapped his wings a couple of times”.

‘A very old man with enormous wings’ quotes can make a good start for your essay or, better still, a concluding remark. Such quotes should come in the context of their appearance in the story.

Essay Prompts For A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

From the discussions, it is evident that we draw a list of writing ideas from this thrilling short story. The theme of “A very old man with enormous wings” itself is rich with writing prompts for a tip-top essay. Here are some writing prompts for your inspiration:

  1. Why did the neighbor suggest the death of the older man with wings?
  2. Did the older man with wings play a role in the recovery of the child?
  3. Discuss Pelayo and his wife, Elisenda’s attitude towards the older man with wings?
  4. Why do you think the people deserted the Pelayo’s home after the appearance of the spider woman?
  5. What is the place of religion in combating superstitions in society?

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