Explain how Gabriel Garcia Marquez satirizes the institutions of authority in his story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings".  

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main way in which Gabriel Garcia Marquez satirizes the institutions of authority in his story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is through his treatment of the Roman Catholic church.
The priest, of all people, should be the one to recognize the true nature of the angel, and yet, being more concerned with the outwards forms of the church, ignores the obvious angelic nature of the old man for two reasons. First, the angel does not understand Latin, which was the liturgical language of the church pre-Vatican II. Of course, in Christian theology, the Adamic language, and the language of angels, was not any of the human languages that developed after Babel (although perhaps they would bear a distant relationship to Hebrew). The priest, and the villagers also think that because the old man is unimpressive, being poor and ragged, he can't really be an angel (true Christians would remember that John the Baptists, the early Catholic saints, and even Jesus himself were known for poverty and disdain for outward appearances and wealth).

Pelayo, the town bailiff, should also be a moral force of good, but is less concerned with the welfare of the village, as his position would demand, than in personal profit.

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A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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