For me, the irony is not that the old man that shows up on the beach one day in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" (by Gabriel García Márquez)—with the potential to be an angel—and is treated shabbily because of his appearance. That is not a surprise. The irony is that even as they see themselves as people of faith—as does the town priest—they are all blind to the fact that angel or not, the old man is God's creature.
There is a strong parallel here with the story of Christ—who was rejected by his own people because they had anticipated a Messiah of great power who would destroy the Romans, their oppressors. Jesus comes, rather, as a peacemaker; because he is not who they expect him to be, the people turn on him and kill him.
While the people in this story stop short of killing the old man (though it does enter into conversation), they fail to treat him like a heavenly creature because he defies their expectations.
Alien to the impertinences of the world, he only lifted his...
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