Homework Help

According to the text, how is the old man’s the appearance described in A Very Old...

user profile pic

fumba1337 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 18, 2013 at 12:19 PM via web

dislike 1 like

According to the text, how is the old man’s the appearance described in A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings?

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 18, 2013 at 7:09 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Pelayo finds something “moving and groaning” in the yard.  He does not know what it is at first, but when he comes closer he sees a “very old man, lying face down in the mud, who, in spite of his tremendous efforts, couldn't get up, impeded by his enormous wings.”  Pelayo is afraid of the “nightmare” and runs to get his wife.  The old man is dressed like a “ragpicker,” and he does not look very impressive.  He is nearly bald with a few hairs, and has few teeth too.

[His] pitiful condition of a drenched great-grandfather took away and sense of grandeur he might have had. His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked were forever entangled in the mud. 

As the couple looks on at him, they sense something “familiar.”  Their neighbor declares that he is an Angel.  She thinks he was coming for the child, but was so old he did not make it.

The old man's appearance is full of contradictions.  He seems strange and familiar at the same time.  He is old and ugly, but also majestic.  His wings contradict the ordinariness of his otherwise normal appearance.  As the story continues, his behavior is the same mixture of human and other-worldly.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes