What would you consider the primary dilemma of "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"?

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What is so fascinating about this story is the way that Marquez has created a piece of fiction that has so many parallels with the experience of a reader reading a story. The primary dilemma in this story is what on earth do the characters make of the angel who has fallen into their lives? What meaning do they construct from his presence and how do they respond? Consider some of the ways in which the villagers want to react to the angel:

By that time onlookers less frivolous than those at dawn had already arrived and they were making all kinds of conjectures concerning the captive's future. The simplest among them thought that he should be named mayor of the world. Others of sterner mind felt that he should be promoted to the rank of five-star general in order to win all wars. Some visionaries hoped that he could be put to stud in order to implant the earth a race of winged wise men who could take charge of the universe.

In the same way, we as readers when we are confronted with a character who is begging for interpretation in a story may come to similar erroneous conclusions. The dilemma in this story suggests that Marquez is deliberately taunting us with our need to interpret, our need to find symbolic significance and attach meanings to events and characters. Just as the characters in this story find it impossible to agree on any one likely response, so Marquez views readers suffering from exactly the same kind of problem.

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A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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