Gabriel Marquez’s A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings as a Work of Postmodern Literature

Given that postmodernism is something that people encounter every day, describing it can be difficult. Others contend that postmodernism began in 1989 after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, while some claim it began in the 1950s. Despite this, there are a few aspects of postmodernism that incorporate reading experience. In order to engage in social commentary, this paper will examine A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings as a work of postmodern literature, placing more stress on postmodern viewpoints than on absolute truth. It will do this by identifying magical realism through the blending of the fantasy and realism genres.

Surprisingly, postmodern authors champion the reading experience by using humor and odd occurrences to produce bizarre reality. Several aspects such as magic realism, irony, and metafiction are used in novels to demonstrate postmodernism. In magic realism, the supernatural is not reflected in a questionable way. Nonetheless, it is different from fantasy, since it is set in a modern society and real description of people and a community, which cannot oppose it. In postmodern literature, irony is employed to depict an event that is not expected to happen is true. Another element is metafiction, which demonstrates true-life event. The irony, magic realism, and metafiction encourage readers to not only question their reading encounter but also recognition of cultural, life and political values. In magic realism, the supernatural is not portrayed in a question form. Instead, characters accept and do not query the logic of magic aspect.

Postmodern Analysis

In A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, the magic realism is used to depict post-modern perspective. In this story, the old man with big wings is found on the beach by a couple-Pelayo and Elisenda. The couple attempts to communicate with the old man, however, they find that it hard, since he speaks another language (Pabalate 47). A neighbor comes and informs the couple that the old man is an angel who has come to take their child. The society and individual across the world were surprised and wanted to have firsthand experience with the angel.

The couple was tired of people coming to their house such that they imposed a fee for people to see the angel. The couple became wealthy and constructed a mansion. In this story, individuals see the old man with enormous wings as bizarre, though not a supernatural idiosyncrasy; a nature freak and not beyond nature (Márquez 128). The old man seems to be a frail individual with wings and his condition as an angel is eternally questionable. Father Gonzaga believes that the old man is not an angel, since he does not have the majesty or dignity. Obviously, a reader can question is the old man naturally lacks dignity or due to how he is treated (Yadav). Maybe, it is the individuals that do not have the dignity and not the angel. The old man other supernatural attributes include inconceivable patience irrespective of how he is treated. People are happy to exploit the old man until they are bored. In the end, the angel began roaming and disappeared in the sky.

Another magical realism in A very Old Man with Enormous Wings is the Spider-Girl, which is the opposite of the old man. Much as it is hard to construe, the Spider-girl enchants the people due to the clarity of her experience. The girl alleges that she was converted to a spider by God because she disobeyed her parents. Compared to the angle, the community does not debate the Spider-Girl condition. The community accepts the supernatural description of simple morality stories, but denying them due to frailty and intricacy as portrayed the old man is satirical (Pabalate 52). Márquez can be considered as an author with a mystified treatment of old man whilst ridiculing the community’s recognitions of simple explanation like the spider girl, who can symbolize fiction.

In A very Old Man with Enormous Wings there is an element of magic realism, since the society does not query the spider woman or the angel. Even the couple’s neighbor, does not question, though very familiar with the angel. For instance, the neighbor said that he is a cherub. The neighbor is not surprised to see the man, or questions, however, in reality it is extremely strange (Yadav). The utilization of magical realism makes readers to query their reading encounter and at the same time question the very reality.

The reception between the Spider-girl and the old man demonstrates the little importance this community has for strange things. Besides being surprised, this community expects a show and results; however, when the old man ignores them they get very disappointed. Besides, it is of great importance to take into account that the main issue is not whether or not the old man’s wings are real or symbolize a spiritual goal. The community expects to be entertained and not enlightenment, which is a reaction to the main issue (Pabalate 66).

In A Very Old Man with Enormous Wing, the community’s reactions are associated with postmodern views. At first, the community is happy with the old man and uses him for sideshows; however, they are quickly disrupted by the spider girl, since they see that she is amazing (Dhanabal 75). The angel has been forgotten, since peoples of this community, act in unison and move to another thing- the spider-girl. Based on postmodern standpoint, this is an expected reaction as it alleges that nothing is eternal. In other words, according postmodern theory, nothing can last the test of time, including the impression of miraculous beings (Márquez 157).

Nonetheless, Marquez compares the supernatural in the story and actual natural details, which conflates the daily supernatural. Pelayo does see the difference between natural bizarre- when crabs invade his house and supernatural when decrepit angel invades his house. Without a doubt, when Pelayo and Elisenda construct a mansion, to protect it from crabs as well as angels, hence they treat them as equal annoyance. Furthermore, the angel’s wings are grossly explained, detailed and during his first appearance they are soiled. In A very Old Man with Enormous Wings, the angel is described as a “senile vulture” and a “huge decrepit hen among the fascinated chickens', while people in this community treat him like a “circus animal” and not a supernatural being (Márquez 160).

Marquez demonstrates that these differences are not necessary or the people are blind. In any case, failing to put the boundary or assuming it is attributed to the story interpretation, and therefore calls for further meaning. In this narrative, the old man is hypothetically a cherub from heaven. However, this is just blending the dream world with reality. The narrative creates an impression where the author examines the modern society as he narrates about Pelayo, who puts the old man in the chicken coop and begins charging admission to see him.

The biosphere of the narrative is one of Magic Realism; this is where the tenets of the supernatural and outright sublime are seen to be ordinary (Corwin 35). It is against this backdrop that the man with wings is not conceptualized as a strange encounter, but rather something to brood over and reviewed; is the wing creature a cherubim or a man with the ability to fly? Marquez brings out postmodern prose when it turns out that magical swear words can alter a person’s physical morphology as opposed to the everyday side shows that the community is used to (Yadav).

In this narrative, Marquez brings to the fore a new universe to the audience with its edicts, and because the world is so different from what the audience is used to, some interpretations are needed to help decipher. In Postmodern prose, the reality is represented in a magical way, as a fictional depiction of this world. The narrative of an Old Man with Enormous Wings is a cruel and touching narrative that reflects how compassion is made rather perplexing and pertinent when it is examined against such an existence of cruelty, maltreatment and horrors (Yadav).

Marquez profound sorrowful narrative is a reminder of how people should be accorded same treatment or respect because they could be angels. While the wings symbolize the freedom of movement synonymous with angels that decides to keep around with family to demonstrate compassion in a bid to change their lives. The spider woman is a representation of the trivialities that people espouse especially when things have to work to their benefit. It demonstrates the wicked aspect of people meted out against their fellow human beings with reference to looks, culture, belief, sexual category, race, creed as the framework that highlights human compassion towards one another.

Marquez employs both natural and divine imagery to illustrate places, protagonists and events in the short story (Corwin 42). Wings for instance, are meant to symbolize freedom, power, and divinity of the narrative. As such, when the old man takes to the sky, he is essentially and symbolically liberating himself as a sideshow attraction that has been for ages.


To sum up, the originality uniqueness of Garcia Marquez’s works has much to a real proof of magical-realistic details’ implication; hence, the ordinary plot is added to fantasy by captivating the reader to consent both in attempting to make sense of the writing. This genre is rather disputable, since it comes up with some difficulty to differentiate between fantasy and magic reality with neither being evaluated within the events’ presentation Though the author’s solely particular creativeness provides revealing magical realism alone, regarding the writer being remarkable. The moral lesson with this narrative is that while everyone has a belief in something, it is human nature to dream big. These dreams may range from turning out victorious in a championship or solving a human problem such as feminine by meat cloning. However, when these dreams are realized, at some point, they may end up as something else. An athlete may win the global championship and yet not everyone would recognize its achievements. Nonetheless, the genetically modified food can be a threat to the genetic orientation.

Works Cited

Corwin, Jay. Gabriel García Márquez. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

Dhanabal, C. “Postcolonial Perspectives in Select Novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez”. Dissertation submitted to Bharathidasan University, PG & Research Department of English, 2014, Aug. 2011. Accessed 2014.

Márquez, Gabriel G. Collected Stories. Penguin UK, 2014.

Pabalate, Jenna. “The Destabilizing Strategies of Magic Realism in Postcolonial Narratives : Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Tahar Ben Jelloun, and Salman Rushdie”. Dissertation submitted to M.A. California State University San Marcos, 2007. Accessed 2014.

Yadav, Subhas. “Magic Realism and Indian Aesthetics : An Attempt to Analyse A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”. (Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research), no. 2(5), 2016. Accessed 2016.

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