In "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings," how do the various characters interpret the winged man?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The surprising arrival of the man with wings leads to many different ideas about his reasons for being there and who he actually is. Pelayo and Elisenda for example, by ignoring the wings, conclude "quite intelligently" that he was a castaway from a shipwreck. The neighbour woman they call to take a look at the man says that he is an angel who is so old that the rain knocked him out of the sky. Father Gonzaga, on the other hand, "proves" that the man cannot be an angel because he does not understand Latin, and thus believes the man to be an "impostor" and not a real angel at all.

In every case, the ignorance of the village folk is shown as they try to interpret meaning in the appearance of this figure without having any idea of what it might mean. Their interpretations reveal more about their own ignorance than they do about the man himself.

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