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Who is the narrator of the story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings?"

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joshr6925 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted April 16, 2012 at 9:42 PM via web

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Who is the narrator of the story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings?"

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 16, 2012 at 10:12 PM (Answer #1)

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Gabriel García Márquez's story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is a classic example of magic realism in storytelling.

The narrator is a standard third-person omniscient viewpoint; there is no one character telling the story, no "I" or other personal pronoun, and the use of metaphor and stylistic strokes show that no one in the story is simply telling it to someone else. For example, the last lines of the story:

She kept watching him even when she was through cutting the onions and she kept on watching until it was no longer possible for her to see him, because then he was no longer an annoyance in her life but an imaginary dot on the horizon of the sea.
(Márquez, "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings," salvoblue.homestead.com)

--show that the narrator can see the inner thoughts of the woman. Normally, if there was a narrator telling the story, inner thoughts of other characters could only be guessed. However, it is normal in third-person omniscient to show multiple viewpoints. The narrator therefore takes a backseat to the story itself, instead of intruding with opinions and bias. In this manner, the story could be told by any person, either present at the scene or recounting a story told by another. The effect is to remove the need for judgement from the author and place it on the reader, who must decide what the story means personally.

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