Analysis of Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"

Essay by defacto301High School, 10th gradeA+, March 2006

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"All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. [...] A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-9). As the wise author of Ecclesiastes noted, there is a time for everything and the time for change is ever present. Gabriel Marquez makes this time for change completely apparent to the reader in his short story entitled "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings." Marquez draws a direct parallel between the old, winged man and the individual: each falls from glory and each is often misunderstood by society.

The tragic fall from glory is an experience visited by every individual and is found in the epics of great cultures. The winged man is found saturated with mud and unable to fly. He is taken from the mud and stuck in a chicken coop so that others can gaze at the "circus animal" (106). Society begins making odd, demeaning conjectures about the circumstances that brought this man to their habitation, while he patiently endures their idiocy. Once the general population gets bored with him and refocuses on something else, he eventually leaves the coop and moves into the mansion that is paid for by the profit his captors made off him. Then, his health deteriorates and he even becomes immobile for days...