A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

by Gabriel García Márquez

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What is the climax of "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"?

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The climax of Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings " occurs when the old angel causes such a sensation that a traveling carnival and a circus arrive in the town of Pelayo and his wife, Elisenda.  Other oddities that come are a Portuguese man who could not sleep because...

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the noise of the stars disturbed him, a sleepwalker who got up at night to undo the things he had done while awakes, and many others with servious maladies.

Alongside all these oddities, the "angel" takes no part "in his own act."  He is too passive for the crowds.  Instead, they turn their attention on the new sensation.  Because she represents a kind of "magic" from fairytales and folklore, the people turn their attention to her.

The woman who had been changed into a spider finally crushed him completely.  That was how Father Gonzaga was cured forever of his insomnia and Pelayo's courtyard went back to being as empty as during the time it had rained three days and crabs walked through the bedrooms....A spectacle so...full of human truth and with such a fearful lesson was bound to defeat without even trying that of a haughty angel who scarcely deigned to look at mortals.

After this, the old man with wings stays out of the way.  However, his wings grown back, and finally he flies away,  Elisenda is relieved that "he was no longer an annoyance in her life."  Thus, simple human folly wins over the patient exaggerated character.

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What is the rising action in the story "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"?

The rising action of a piece of literature can be defined as the stage following the exposition of the story (where a problem is explained to the audience) and features a series of complications resulting from the initial problem. In this story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, it is clear that the rising action of the story relates to the various responses to the old man with enormous wings - Pelayo and his wife charging admission to view the man and Father Gonzaga denouncing the man as an imposter, for example. We as readers are left to wonder how the story will turn out as a result of all of these complications.

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What is the falling action of "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings"?

Before you can identify the falling action, which culminates in the resolution, you must identify the climax, also called the turning point, which is the moment, event, statement, decision, etc. that determines (predicts) the final outcome of the story,e.g., he jumps out the parachute hatch or not.

The climax is usually associated with a dramatic and emotional event. However the climax is defined as the irrevocable turning point, not as the most exciting or emotional point. Climaxes in stories may be very subtle, quiet moments.

In "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings," the climax is one of those sorts of quiet, subtle turning points. The old man is fading after long months of being isolated in the chicken coop and is expected to die. However a change comes over him, one that he feels and recognizes as anticipatory of something greater coming. Then his wings start to grow new, healthy, clean feathers. This is the climax; this is the turning point. The old man will live and will rise above his captivity.

All that happens after the time during which his new wings are growing is the falling action that leads to the final resolution of the story: his flight on new wings and his new beginning.

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