A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel García Márquez

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What attitudes is Marquez criticizing?

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With no fixed truth to his short story "A Very Old man with Emormous Wings," Gabriel Marquez complicates readers' efforts to assign explanations and morals to his narrative.  Thus, with his depiction of characters, Marquez, in effect, satirizes the adherence to conventional wisdom, religious beliefs, and superstition.

Conventional wisdom

Pelayo and Elisenda, his wife, are initially frightened by the old man lying face down in mud, impeded by his enormous wings.  But, later

They looked at him so long and so closely that....very soon overcame their surprise and in the end found him very familiar.

Once he is familiar to them, he is part of their world.  So, Elisenda decides to charge admission to see him and make money.  When this money-making venture succeeds, she is happy, but later Elisenda wearies of the old man's presence and wishes him gone because he is no longer popular.

When the people come to see the old man with enormous wings, they cannot...

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