A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

by Gabriel García Márquez

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What does the story suggest about religious faith and modern miracles?

I am particularly interested in the chapter where Pelayo and Elisenda, his wife, found the old man in the courtyard and subsequent arrival of Father Gonzaga.

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The story could be a statement about modern man's cynical nature toward religion. The author uses a fairy-tale-like setting to make his point. We live in an age of science and technology, needing proof of our faith in God. We have become numbed by the world we live in to our ability to believe in angels and modern miracles.The old man doesn't fit a human's stereotypical view, contradicting the religious beliefs we've been taught. Pelayo and Elisenda can't understand his language because they're blinded by their callousness. We know he's "magical", but his miracles are dismissed as "consolation miracles" because they don't fit the image. Even though he brings wealth to the couple, they resent his presence.

The angel's relationship with the child also supports this belief. The child gets well when the old man arrives, and they both get chicken pox at the same time. Only the child is tolerated by the man to play around him. We all know that children and animals are able to see what can't be proven more clearly than adults who have become jaded by the world. The child can accept the angel without making judgments about his appearance or his actions. His view of the man is pure and untainted by the world.Perhaps the lesson is to open our eyes to all around us, not just seeing reality, but the magic behind it as well, as through the innocent eyes of a child.

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