Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade November 2001

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to figure out if the old man is an angel directly from heaven, Father Gonzaga has to consult this human chain of command. Again the ambiguity of the true nature of the old man is a vehicle for a more general critique of organized religion.

Unlike Father Gonzaga, the villagers are willing to overlook the rather sad appearance of the old man and the fact that he does not speak Latin in order to accept that he is in fact an angel. The villagers begin to realize that having their own angel might be useful. Some of the villagers want to name the angel "mayor of the world", or to make him a general to help win all of the wars, and "some visionaries hoped that he could be put to stud in order to implant on earth a race of winged wise men who could take charge of the universe" (314).

As the people started lining up to see the angel and ask for miracles, Elisenda began to charge an admission fee to see the angel. However, "the angel was the only one who took no part in his own act" (315). The angel took no interest in the pilgrims lining up to catch a glimpse of him. The villagers soon had to cope with the possibility that if the man was in fact an angel, he may not have come to earth for them. This angel might have just landed in their village. This is difficult concept to grasp, and again the notion that this man could possibly be a real angel comes into question.

The arrival of the spider woman to their village increased the villagers' frustration that the angel was performing only "consolation miracles" (316). This "providential event" (315) lessened the resolve of the villagers to believe in the angel because this woman, although she was as hideous looking as the angel, gave the villagers the show that the angel did not. There is a moral to be learned from this woman, who was turned into a spider for disobeying her parents. The spider woman is perfectly willing to share an emotional account of her story, let the people examine her body, and also let the villagers toss meatballs into her mouth. The villagers can accept the spider woman as being real because her tale fits into their master narrative. Her misfortune came from having done wrong, thus she has an explanation for her condition. The angel offers no explanation of where he is from, and he does not exhibit himself for the pleasure of the villagers. They cannot fit him into the master narrative, for he is