Questions about “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” for study and discussion

1. Do you think that “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is a work of magical
realism? Are there any conventions of the genre that it doesn’t seem to obey? Is there
another genre designation (such as children’s literature) that might be more appropriate to this particular Garcia Marquez story?

I think it is magical realism because it sets in an everyday context. 
2. How would you characterize the community where Garcia Marquez’s story is set? Is
there anything about the townspeople’s attitudes that is ambiguous or unclear?

It is a community of ignorance, dumbness and illiterate. They do not have sympathy nor do they care about others. The townspeople’s attitudes towards Pelayo and Elisenda are unclear. 
3. Explore the differing uses of imagery in Marquez’s story. Why do you think Garcia
Marquez used such vivid, gritty descriptions in this story? How do his descriptions affect
your impression of the townspeople, and of the angel himself?

Because he wants to leave a deep impression on the readers. His descriptions give me a picture of the townspeople’s ignorance and the angel’s weakness and strangeness. 
4. Does ritual and superstition play a role in the story? Discuss.

Yes, but only a little. Although there is a Father in the story, and the story mentions about Roman Catholics, the townspeople care little about those religious issues. They toss stones on and play with the angel. 

5. What affect does the combination of magical and ordinary details have on the reader?

Gives the reader a peculiar sense and cause reflection on their own lives. 

6. Compare and contrast the differing portrayal of the spider woman and the angel. Is there a wider purpose behind this contrast? How can the two be read as representing different approaches to literature?

Similarity: 1. they are both abnormal and inhuman. 2. they are both played with by the townspeople. 3. they are both exhibits. 

Difference: 1. the spider woman has less human-like appearances. the angel is more like a human. 2. the spider woman answers questions and tells a story of her moral punishment. the angel does not communicate with anyone, thus his story is unknown. 

wider purpose: reveal humanity

the spider woman: fable

the angel: myth

7. How does the story comment upon humanity? Who is human in this story and who isn’t? What qualifies someone as human?

Humanity: stupid, selfish, curious

Human: the townspeople, the Father, the couple

Inhuman: the angel, the crabs, the hens

Human qualities: 1. speak a human language. 2. communicate with other people. 3. do not have wings or any strange appearance. 

8. Can you interpret any moral or underlying message in this story? Explain.

If one day you fall to disaster, do not give in to the difficulties. Try hard to fly again.