What is the climax of the story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The climax of Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" occurs when the old angel causes such a sensation that a traveling carnival and a circus arrive in the town of Pelayo and his wife, Elisenda.  Other oddities that come are a Portuguese man who could not sleep because the noise of the stars disturbed him, a sleepwalker who got up at night to undo the things he had done while awakes, and many others with servious maladies.

Alongside all these oddities, the "angel" takes no part "in his own act."  He is too passive for the crowds.  Instead, they turn their attention on the new sensation.  Because she represents a kind of "magic" from fairytales and folklore, the people turn their attention to her.

The woman who had been changed into a spider finally crushed him completely.  That was how Father Gonzaga was cured forever of his insomnia and Pelayo's courtyard went back to being as empty as during the time it had rained three days and crabs walked through the bedrooms....A spectacle so...full of human truth and with such a fearful lesson was bound to defeat without even trying that of a haughty angel who scarcely deigned to look at mortals.

After this, the old man with wings stays out of the way.  However, his wings grown back, and finally he flies away,  Elisenda is relieved that "he was no longer an annoyance in her life."  Thus, simple human folly wins over the patient exaggerated character.


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