Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Summary of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez | Story | Class XII English Note

Summary of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez | Story | Class XII English Note

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Garcia Marquez


‘A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings’ belonging to the genre of magical realism, written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is about the human response to those who are weak, dependent, and different. The story discloses human nature-related curiosity, greed and cruelty.

On the third day of rain, inside the house Pelayo and Elisenda kill many crabs causing a stench. They think that their newly born child is sick because of the stench. When Pelayo returns home throwing the crabs into the sea, he sees an old man with enormous wings putting face down in mud in his courtyard.

Frightened, Pelayo runs to get his wife. He takes her to the courtyard. They examine the man. He is dressed like a rag man. After looking at him for so long, they are able to overcome their surprise of seeing the man with huge wings. They try to talk to him but his utterance is incomprehensible. They conclude that he is a castaway from a foreign shipwreck. However, a neighboring woman informs them that the man is an angel.

The following day, everyone knows about the man who is said to be an angel, is held captive in Pelayo's house. Before going to bed Pelayo pulls him out of the mud and locks him up with the hens in the chicken coop. In the middle of night, the baby wakes up without fever, and is able to eat. The couple make a decision to put the old man on a raft with provisions for three days and leave him to his fate on the high seas. But when they go out to their courtyard, they find the entire neighborhood gathers in front of the chicken coup. They treat the angel like a circus animal.

Father Gonzaga visits the house because he is surprised by the news of the angel. At this time, visitors are making guesses about what should happen to the angel. However, Father Gonzaga decides to find out the truth by talking to him in Latin. Since the old man doesn’t understand Latin and looks too human, Father Gonzaga is certain that he couldn’t be an angel. He then warns the visitors that the old man with wings is not an angel. However, the people ignore his caution.

The news of the captive angel spreads so rapidly that after a few hours the courtyard is full of onlookers. The couple has to call in troops to disperse the mob that is about to knock the house down. Elisenda reaches a point that they are required to set up a fence in the yard and charge people five cents admission to see the old man. However, the old man wants nothing to do with his act. The curious visitors try to get him to react. When they prod him with hot iron pokers, he responds angrily, flapping his wings and yelling in a strange language.

A new carnival arrives in the town bringing a woman who has transformed into a spider. The town folks lose interest in the old man. The admission to see her was not less than the admission to see the old man. However, Pelayo and Elisenda are capable to build a two-story mansion with the money they have earned by charging admission. On the other hand, their child grows older and is told not to go into the chicken coop, but the child disobeys them. Later the child and the old man have chickenpox at the same time.

When the chicken coop collapses due the sun and rain, the old man drags himself here and there. He appears to be in the different parts of the house at the same time that they grew to think that he has duplicated. He then moves into the shed and becomes very ill. Despite his severe illness, he seems improved. The stiff feathers begin to grow on his wings.

One fateful day, Elsenda is preparing lunch. She peeps through the window to see the old man trying to fly. His first attempts are awkward, but finally he manages to gain altitude and fly away from their house. She gets relieved for herself and for him upon seeing him go.

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