How “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” Relates to the Modern Obsession with Appearance.

In “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, although the people take great interest in the man who fell from the sky, they are quick to dismiss him as a real angel solely based on his appearance.

When Pelayo and Elisenda first discover the angel, the first thing they do is point out the flaws in his appearance: “There were only a few faded hairs left on his bald skull and very few teeth in his mouth, and his pitiful condition of of a drenched great-grandfather had taken away any sense of grandeur he might have had” (Marquez 354). Their first impression of the angel is only about how he looks at first glance. Even with his enormous wings that should most definitely indicate that he is a magical being, they assume he is a castaway from a ship. This is all because the old man did not fit the typical description that is associated with an angel.

Just as Pelayo and Elisenda make assumptions based on the appearance of the old man, the media today similarly overemphasizes appearance. Every model in magazines or on social media has physical features that people are expected to strive for. If people do not fit the stereotype for the “ideal” appearance, the media makes it seem as though they are imperfect. This unrealistic expectation for physical appearance makes people, especially teenagers who are heavily influenced by social media, unhappy with how they look. In a time when appearance has been prioritized over other characteristics of a person, it can be easy to lose sight of what really matters.

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