In the ending of the story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it says that the angel is an imaginary dot on the horizon of the sea. So does that mean that the angel is...

In the ending of the story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it says that the angel is an imaginary dot on the horizon of the sea. So does that mean that the angel is actually imaginary?

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gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great question!

 

No. It doesn't mean that. That's an option, and a possibility, but not a certainty. First, let us review the final line of the story. Marquez wrote, "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."

That's a crucial distinction. Marquez doesn't say the old man is an imaginary dot per se. He's saying that's how Elisenda sees him. This is a narration of Elisenda's view of things. She's so fixed on watching the old man that she keeps staring even after she can't see him. The most likely meaning of the "imaginary dot" is that she stares so hard she sees little shadows or birds or even flecks in her eye as the angel. She wants to keep seeing him, and she wants to figure him out, so badly that she stares even after it isn't possible.

So, the angel could be imaginary. That's a legitimate reading. But it isn't the most likely reading. The most likely reading is this is saying how badly Elisenda needs to understand.

Read the study guide:
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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