What is the moral of "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"? How is the message applicable to the reader?

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I suppose you could say that the most important message in the story is that nothing is quite what it seems. What we unthinkingly call "real" is actually no such thing and is always a good deal more complicated than we think it is. Marquez's writing style is magical realism ...

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I suppose you could say that the most important message in the story is that nothing is quite what it seems. What we unthinkingly call "real" is actually no such thing and is always a good deal more complicated than we think it is. Marquez's writing style is magical realism, which means that, although it appears realistic on the surface, it is actually infused with fantasy to give us a deeper understanding of that reality.

On the face of it, the events of the story are pretty simple and straightforward, if more than a touch bizarre. But that's not the half of it. Like life itself, life in this remote town is a good deal more complicated than we might think.

Take the eponymous old man, for instance. We might expect him to be shown to be an angel or exposed as a charlatan straight away. But that doesn't happen. Instead, and in keeping with the overall message of the story, he occupies a position of considerable ambiguity throughout the story, veering back and forth between angel and con man as the action progresses. In his portrayal of the old man, Marquez doesn't paint in black and white; he knows, as we know, that life is always a good deal more complicated than that.

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The moral of "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is that miracles occur in unlikely ways. Pelayo and his wife do not know what to make of the very old man, but the townspeople treat the man like he is some of kind of supernatural creature capable of carrying out miracles. Though the old man does not grant them exactly what they want, he does seem to be responsible for some miracles, such as a blind man growing three teeth rather than having his vision restored. The priest discounts the rumors that the old man is an angel, as the old man does not know the ancient language of Aramaic.

However, in the end, the old man does perform miracles. Pelayo and his wife earn enough money from showcasing the old man that they can afford to build a new house. This is in itself a miracle. In addition to the townspeople having small miracles such as sprouting new teeth, the old man flaps away at the end of the story, showing that he is some kind of celestial being. Readers realize that though they might not get what they want at all times, there are moments of grace and small miracles that occur from time to time.

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Defining the moral of “The Very Old Man with Enormous Wings: A Children’s Tale” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a difficult task. The genre of the story is magical realism but it contains elements of fantasy. One lesson that can be learned from the story is the importance of respect in treating those who are different, disabled, or strange because their value to the world may be unknown. They may be angels among us.

In this story, the man with wings surfaces during a tumultuous storm. When Pelayo finds him, his son is ill but recovers after the appearance of the man with wings. The family attempts to set him out to sea believing he was washed ashore, but he survives and they bring him in. Another neighbor declares he is an angel, but that is disputed by the parish priest who defers to the Pope. The strange man becomes something of a carnival attraction bringing prosperity to Pelayo’s family until a greater oddity, the spider woman, comes along. He is mistreated and forced to live in a chicken coop. Although he becomes quite frail, he perseveres through abuse and sickness until he is allowed to live in the household. For the family, it seems that each time their child faces illness or misfortune the strange, elderly, angel-man provides relief, even though the wife considers him a nuisance. In the end, in spite of all the mistreatment, he regains his vitality as his wings grow back and he flies away.

Was he truly an angel among humans? It is hard not to look at the good fortune the unusual creature brought to the family, and to realize that even though he was a great oddity, he provided valuable contributions by his mere existence. This message is applicable to the reader in their everyday dealings with their fellow man.

 

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I don't believe there is one moral to the story. If there is one, it could be that expectations are never going to be met, and the world is an ambiguous place.

The story defies the expectations of the reader, just as the man with the wings defies the expectations of society. The message may simply be that the world is a strange place, difficult to know, so don't think you know what's going on. This is applicable to the reader because the same is true of the story.

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