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What is the symbolic......Q1) What is the symbolic significance of the old man and ...

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mileycyrus | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 5, 2007 at 2:21 PM via web

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What is the symbolic......

Q1) What is the symbolic significance of the old man and  his enormous wings? Since he is call an "angel", is there a religious significance to his physical appearance? Why does the narrator stress such details as he "dirty and half-plucked" wings and his grossly physical, animalistic traits? How is the oxymoron "fresh-and-blood angel" central to the meaning?

 Q2) The story contains almost no dialogue. Why is this appropriate? How does it relate to the point of view the author has chosen?

Q3) Discuss the blend of realistic and fantastic details. Does this blend make the story more or less effective? Does it require a different way of reading than other stories you have read that contain no elements of fantasy?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 13, 2007 at 7:32 AM (Answer #1)

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The author has chosen to make this a 3rd person omniscient point of view.  We as readers gain the thoughts of many of the characters, though never the old man.  The central focus of the story isn't so much the arrival and existence of the man, but how everyone reacts to him.  If the focus was the man, then the author would have provided details about his past and the nature of his existence.  Instead, we are meant to see how people treat him and how they explain him.  This gives clues to human nature.  Thus, dialogue is not important.  Behavior alone is important.  People lie often when they speak, but their actions have more truth.  Therefore, dialogue in this story would just get in the way.

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