A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Questions and Answers
by Gabriel García Márquez

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What metaphor is there in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"?

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Marietta Sadler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The eponymous old man with enormous wings, who some think is a fallen angel and others think might be a Norwegian, is arguably a metaphor representing difference, which would make this story one about how we respond to difference.

The first reaction to the winged man is fear. Pelayo is at first frightened and stands over the winged man "with his bailiff's club," before locking him up "with the hens in the wire chicken coop." The fear provoked by the winged man's appearance reflects the fear that often, unfortunately but perhaps naturally enough, is the first reaction to difference. This is evident in all kinds of different ways, and throughout all eras, whether it be the fear of immigrants or refugees that we see today, the fear of people with a different skin color that characterized the European colonization of Africa in the nineteenth century, or the fear of disabled people which in the sixteenth century led the likes of Luther and John Calvin to declare that disabled people were...

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