In “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” author Gabriel Garcia Marquez weaves the natural with the supernatural in an unexpected yet stimulating way. It leaves the reader with the question, “What would I do if I was confronted with something supernatural right outside my door?” By blending the most mundane and ugly parts of life – from rainy days to selfish crowds – with the miraculous, Marquez effectively uses a creative tone and a unique style to create a story that carries elements of everyday life yet supersedes it. His story invites the reader to look closer at daily events and determine one’s response to the normal and not-quite-normal events that have the power to change a life.
The tone of the story is set in the beginning, with the most natural and unwelcome of occurrences: a sick child in the midst of poor weather. In the first few sentences, Marquez’ writing style immediately grabs the imagination as he writes, “The world had been sad since Tuesday,” describing the drab and inclement weather in detail. In the first paragraph, he brings in magical elements by introducing the surreal character of an old man with enormous wings. Marquez immediately shatters any mindsets the reader has of powerful and holy angels by placing him face down in the mud and unable to extricate himself, “impeded by his enormous wings.”
With a hint of irony, the very objects that should have empowered this man to fly above earth’s elements – his wings – hindered him and brought him unwanted attention. Irony is part of the tone weaved throughout the story. It is seen in the “wise old woman” who determined that the old man with wings was an angel… and then suggested clubbing him to death. It is noticed in the wording that Marquez chose when he stated that the husband and wife “felt magnanimous” when they opted to set the angel afloat on a raft with enough food to last him a few days “and leave him to his fate on the high seas.”
In parts of the story, the author’s tone seems to convey a sense of regret that humanity, as a whole, often fails to appreciate the “magic” that is part of life. Instead of appreciating an experience and living fully in the moment, so many ask, “What’s in it for me?” When the husband and wife, Pelayo and Elisenda, decide to exploit the angel by having the onlookers pay to see him, this sense of selfishness and greed is apparent. Here, again, the reader has the opportunity to imagine what their choice would be if faced with a similar situation. Of course, no angel is going to fall from the skies on a sad and…