Villagers in “The Very Old Man”

While reading “The Old Man with Enormous Wings,” I was struck by the way the villagers responded to the angel’s arrival and eventual lack of miracles.

First, when they saw the angel they poked and there food at him, and the author mentioned how the villagers who gave him food were the most “charitable souls.”  I thought that even this supposed act of generosity was very deprecating, and when reading this I pictured the angel more and more like a circus animal that is cruelty treated, the very opposite of a creature that is connected to a god that the villagers look up to.

The villagers also had very little loyalty to the angel, especially when the spider woman appeared to have more knowledge or lessons to teach them than the angel did.  In a way, the angel and the spider woman represent two different religions. The villagers had no allegiance to the angel as soon as they realized that he could not give them solutions to all their ailments and problems.  They were only focused on what the angel could do for their own personal gain.

After evaluating their actions, I question if religion is only to make you feel better about yourself.  Is it just a means of getting what you want? I think poorly of the villagers and consider them to be very materialistic, considering that they seem to be unable to have faith in something that cannot give them direct results. Their lack of allegiance revealed them to be very shallow, shedding light on how the author views human nature.

5 thoughts on “Villagers in “The Very Old Man”

  1. Danny K

    I agree that the two examples you name show the little appreciation and respect they have for the “angel”. The owners found a more materialistic value within the angel rather than a spiritual or mental one making the reader think about their religion, and how strong the villagers faith is. I see the greediness within the owners specifically when it talks of the mother “Elisenda her spine all twisted from sweeping up so much marketplace trash”, I take her spine being twisted as how she herself is twisted for profiting off of the angel. Great post.

    Like

  2. Yasmin R

    I completely agree with you about how the villagers treated the angel in a way that is similar to how one might treat a circus animal. Their behavior was inhumane and revealed their true, materialistic nature. It makes me sad to think about how they treated the angel, but it also is a reminder to me that even today, people treat others with differences in a similar way. This story and your post are wake-up calls to people who might now even realize that they are behaving like this in their own lives.

    Like

  3. Yasmin R

    I completely agree with you about how the villagers treated the angel in a way that is similar to how one might treat a circus animal. Their behavior was inhumane and revealed their true, materialistic nature. It makes me sad to think about how they treated the angel, but it also is a reminder to me that even today, people treat others with differences in a similar way. This story and your post are wake-up calls to people who might not even realize that they are behaving like this in their own lives.

    Like

  4. I think it is really good that this story made you question life because it definitely had me doing the same thing, which really shows how powerful this story really is. I wonder if humans unwittingly take most things for granted, especially in developed countries in middle-class communities. The author’s commentary is quite interesting.

    Like

  5. spaul86

    This is funny, I also wrote my post on the same idea, about how not really charitable the villagers were. I like your points on this because I think it can be applied to real life. Many people do charity for external image or for a facade of devoutness. I wonder if we stripped away all expectation, would people stop being kind or is there some deep down morality that the villagers in this story were lacking.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s