Use the comment section for this post to engage in a discussion of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”
To see your requirements and parameters for our discussion, see our Reading/Discussing Short Stories guidelines. Strive for a vigorous exchange, including debating differing interpretations, but always strive for mutual recognition of each other, working toward enhancing our collective understanding of the story.
Watch your period’s group presentation on the story and see the DQs below, if you are looking for inspiration.
- In the short story, there are characters who believe that the man with wings is an angel and characters who do not. Do you think the man is an angel?
- How is this magical world Marques has created reflective of modern society? Is she trying to highlight how people would treat a holy figure if it were present in our world today?
- When the angel gets the chicken pox, the doctor listens to his heart. What do you think the whistling in his heart and sounds in his kidneys is? Also, chicken pox is usually a sickness kids get, and the angel is a very old man. What does this say about the angel?
- The man is finally able to fly away at the end of the story. Do you think the family whom he stayed with was more helpful or hurtful? Did they help him recover, or make his recovery time longer?
- In the story, it is stated that a woman who disobeyed her parents was turned into a spider as punishment. In many cultures, spiders symbolize an increase of awareness. Do you think that Marquez kept this in mind when she decided to turn the woman into a spider? If not, why do you think she chose that specific insect?
- How would the story be different if the Very Old Man had been a Very Little Baby?
- What impact does the combination of magical and ordinary details have on the reader?
- In the story why do they choose to include another supernatural creature in a spider person?
- How did the old man with enormous wings gain enough strength to fly out of the coup?
- What do you think the crabs may symbolize?
- Do you think that religion had a major influence over the story and the belief among the people in the story?
- Why do you think that the couple mistreated the angel and had much antipathy towards him?
- Do you think that the old man with wings was an angel, a literal man who had wings, or something else?
- Why do you think that the old man with wings leaves at the end of the story? How was he able to flourish after being really run down?