Those who consider themselves religious might even consider themselves more grateful for life’s so called many miracles. Gabriel Garcia Marquez addresses this issue in his short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings. ” The old saying “seeing is believing” does not apply to the characters of this story, as they struggle to make sense of such an outlandish old man, that appears to be an angel. This satirical piece uses the old man as a symbol of faith and religion to mock the role that they play in people’s lives, as well as the overall skeptical nature of humans in general.
Although the old man’s true identity is never known, he is described as a decrepit creature, with no real distinction from other human beings other than his enormous wings. Instead of having a graceful elegant appearance that is normally associated with angels, he is stated as having “buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked. ” The description of the old man is one way of demonstrating the human need to reduce the meaning of significant events. An angel like creature has landed in their yard, yet more emphasis is put on the ugliness of the old man.
Marquez writes, “… his pitiful condition of a drenched great grandfather had taken away any sense of grandeur that he might have had. ” This goes to show how people’s expectations of miracles can blind them from the beauty of what is before them. Despite all of the indications that he is not of the natural world, Pelayo and Elisenda conclude that it is a castaway sailor simply due to his incomprehensible dialect. This suggests that people by nature question their own instincts, and strive to rationalize even the most unexplainable events at all costs.
The Fear of What We Don t Know The main focus of Big Black Good Man is that people are intimidated by things that are different from them in some way. Richard Wright tells his story through the eyes of an old man who works at a tavern and is intimidated by the presence of a big black man named Jim. Olaf, a dynamic character, changes his point of view on black people by the end of the story. ...
Even after writing off his presence as an unfortunate sailor, they still call on their neighbor who is said to know “everything about life and death. ” She is one of the prime examples Marquez uses to characterize the narrow-minded nature of humans. This supposed all-knowing woman even suggests beating the so called angel to death, an exemplification of how easily demeaning humans can be of what they do not understand. Even after their son has recovered from his illness, they are still skeptical of the old man and think it is an act of compassion to want to send him out on the seas with hardly any provisions.
Instead of seeing the old man as a compassionate angel who has healed their son, they still view him as a wretched old soul with whom they want nothing to do with. This shows people’s desire to run from things they cannot comprehend, instead of having faith in the power of such marvels. Marquez pokes fun at religion as an institution, through the letters from Father Gonzaga’s religious superiors. The only mail from the bishop, contained inquiries about the whether or not a navel was present, and if his language had any connection to Aramaic.
Gonzaga’s superior ask how many times he can fit on the head of a pin, which is a reference to the medieval philosophy that angels could fit infinitely on the head of a pin due to their lack of physical self. This showcases the literal-mindedness of the Catholic Church, which is proven to be in this case, completely out of touch with reality. Instead of wanting to examine the old man themselves, the Catholic Church wastes time with stupid questions that provide no more insight than anyone else who has seen him. The only conclusion that the Catholic Church offers is the absurd notion that the old man is a stranded Norwegian with wings.
Father Gonzaga is no more than an example of how skeptical people are despite their claims of faith and religion. Faith is about believing in things that are sometimes unseen. Even with proof in front of his eyes, he follows the word of his superiors blindly, instead of his faith. This is an example of how some need their beliefs to be warranted by certain religious procedures and the approval of others, rather than their own heart. The lack of faith here is illustrated by the need for a finite answer from the religiously superior. Even those who believe the old man to be an angel come to visit him with their own selfish agendas.
We all have heard of Spider Man. He was the average teenager until he was bitten by a radioactive spider. I like Spider Man but I believe there are a lot of things missing in his movies. The police and government are portrayed poorly, as to assisting Spider Man or lack there of. Spider Man goes about doing his own thing, outside of the law. He is something we can all relate to and I believe that ...
A man who cannot sleep, a paralyzed man who cannot walk, a sleep walker, and others with serious ailments come from far and wide expecting answers and healing, even after the harsh treatment and abuse that the old man has been subject to. Marquez uses these people to represent how religion is misused to attract those who only use it as a backup for when they are out of options. There is no real faith found in any of the characters, for as soon as they realize he will not participate in his own exploitation, they consider the few phenomena such as sunflowers growing out of a leper’s abrasions, as “consolation miracles. Pelayo and Elisenda, as reluctant and fatigued they are with the old man, are more selfish than the pilgrims. Their only reason for keeping him around is to gain profit from the desperate souls of those who seek healing from him, like how many people only seek the benefits that they believe religion can offer them. Instead of seeing religion as a spiritual institution, they only run to it when they need something, and when it benefits them. They find no satisfaction in the virtues of Christianity or Catholism, but instead are interested only in what it offers them.
Even after these “consolation miracles” that the angel performs, they still continue to mistreat him, and make a roadside attraction out of his condition. The lack of faith in people is demonstrated even more so through the character of the spider woman. After mistreating the angel for their own personal advantage, another carnival act is brought into the picture. The story of the woman who was turned into a spider becomes much more appealing to the villagers, as she is willing to participate in their mockery. Her story is much more relatable to the people in the story, and they quickly dismiss the old man as old news.
In our history and our society we heard of stories of great men and women who pass through difficult times of their lives and were able to overcome and came up victorious. This made us to draw inspiration from them. People admired their courage and the strength they possess to surpass the tests in their lives. What could have driven this people to continue and press on with their lives? Is it ...
This exhibits how people are so quick to flee from religion when something more appealing is brought to them. While the angel represents true faith, and the patience it requires, the spider symbolizes how fickleness of people in their approach with their own faith. The spider woman’s story is easy to understand, and makes the feel better about themselves. The explanation of the spider woman’s supernatural state is accepted due to its mere simplicity, while belief in the supernatural old man wanes because of it complexity.
Marquez is suggesting that people are interested in results, and that result oriented faith isn’t really faith at all. This is prevalent in today’s society when people flock to Christianity because of the promises of eternal life, and God answering their prayers. People expect to have easier lives if they put their faith in God, but are disappointed when they learn that it is not all about them. Instead of practicing patience as the old man does in the story, their inconsistent hearts soon give up and move on to the next best thing.
As human beings, it is on our nature to seek physical evidence to justify our faith. What many of us do not realize, as Marquez tries to point out, is that real faith does not need to be justified by a physical manifestation of what we believe in. Every character of this story aside from the old man with enormous wings is an example of the lack of faith found in today’s society. We are so easy to overlook the wonders of everyday life because of our need to rationalize everything. Marquez’s tale goes to show that having genuine faith requires more than just your eyes.