Gabriel García Márquez

Start Free Trial

How does magical realism in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel García Márquez work as a postcolonial method of resistance?

Magical realism, as a postcolonial method of resistance, is when those who have been oppressed and discriminated against finally find the strength to struggle against their oppression.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The magical realism in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is symbolic of the postcolonial resistance that people have to continuing oppression and discrimination. Let's look at how this works.

When an old man with wings drops into the mud in front of Pelayo...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

The magical realism in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is symbolic of the postcolonial resistance that people have to continuing oppression and discrimination. Let's look at how this works.

When an old man with wings drops into the mud in front of Pelayo and Elisenda's house, the couple is shocked. They think that perhaps the old man is an angel coming to collect their sick newborn. Not knowing exactly what to do and certainly not trusting this “angel,” they lock him up in their chicken coop. The neighbors gather to stare and taunt the old man. Father Gonzaga comes with advice that no one really listens to. Meanwhile, the old man merely lies there, sometimes ranting a bit, sometimes crying. He is in pain, and this mistreatment does not help.

Eventually the interest in the old man dies down, but Pelayo and Elisenda have made some money off of him. The “angel” manages to survive the winter, and come spring, he actually takes off and flies away.

This old man with wings is symbolic of countries and cultures striving to come out from under colonial rule. They are often badly damaged and still greatly oppressed, often by some of their own people who should know to treat them better. Instead, these “leaders” keep their own nations in bondage for their personal profit. The nations, meanwhile, like the old man, have a difficult time resisting, but they build up their strength, over time and through great hardships, and then, one day, they are ready to fly free.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on