Please explain the story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel García Márquez and give an example from the short story of what it means.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel García Márquez is considered an example of what is termed magical realism, blending a close attention to the details of ordinary life with spiritual, mystical or metaphysical elements. 

The story is set in an unnamed and relatively poor coastal village. Pelayo, a fisher, discovers an old man with large wings on the sea shore, and takes him home to his wife Elisenda. The man does not speak any known language. At first they wonder if he is an angel, but the village priest discovers that the man does not know Latin, and decides he is not an angel. The couple, who have prayed for a way out of poverty, become wealthy by putting the old man on display like a circus freak or animal. The man initially sickens, but then slowly recovers his health and flies off in the spring. 

The characters in the story continually try to find meaning in the man and the odd miracles that happen around him (an example is the priest trying to discover if the man knows Latin). The story and the man with wings both resist any simple notion of meaning, although the man with wings does serve as a test of the moral character of Pelayo, his wife, the priest, and the villagers. All of them really fail the test of Christian charity, and this failure gives a form of meaning to the story. 

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A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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