A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

by Gabriel García Márquez

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What elements of humor does A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings contain?

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I would say that taken as a whole, this particular story is more sad than humorous. It's terrible how the people treat the old man with wings, and they do it for selfish gain; however, there are moments in the story that will cause the reader to perhaps chuckle a little bit. I would say that in general, the story's use of hyperbole can be a bit funny. For example, readers are told in hyperbole about the man's age.

"He's an angel," she told them. "He must have been coming for the child, but the poor fellow is so old that the rain knocked him down."

That's a slightly funny comment if you think about a person literally being knocked down by the rain; however, it's also a very good image of exactly how frail he must look, and that is not funny.

The small paragraph that discusses the letters being sent from Rome asking about the man is a bit humorous because of how ridiculous the questions are.

They spent their time finding out in the prisoner had a navel, if his dialect had any connection with Aramaic, how many times he could fit on the head of a pin, or whether he wasn't just a Norwegian with wings.

Really? A Norwegian with wings? That's such a random question that it's funny. Finally, there is that great little sentence about a girl that has been turned into a spider for disobeying her parents. It's so fantastical, yet treated so normal that readers can't help but chuckle and shake their heads.

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A short story written by Marquez, 'A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings' is one of the most symbolic examples of magical realism. Introducing mythical characters to the story brings in an element of humor and uncertainty. Most commonly read books of magical realism with imaginary creatures were children's fairy tales and the being of such creatures was never considered as a significant or serious individuals. The story is quite serious and mysterious that such strange appearance of an angel is emphasized and creates a sense of humor by irony. The tale of the girl who turned into a spider as well as the attack of the crabs also contribute to the peculiar element of humor in the story.

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