Please answer all the questions in each group.
“Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” Latin American Fiction
Group A: In what ways does this story resemble a fairy tale, myth, or an allegory? In what ways does it differ? How does the old man differ from our usual conception of angels? In what ways do people in this story attempt to categorize this winged man?
Group B: What implications can you derive from Father Gonzaga’s failure to communicate effectively with the winged man? Why do you think the winged man tolerates the child patiently? What is ironic about this statement regarding the angel: “His only supernatural virtue seemed to be patience”?
Group C: How do you feel as the angel flaps away at the end? Does Elisenda’s response adequately express yours? What details stand out to you about Pelayo’s little homestead and the village where this story takes place? What do these details make you feel about this place?
Group D: Even though García Márquez does not want us to see his story as an allegory, what could the winged man symbolize? Why do people prefer the spider woman? If you are from a provincial town or village, is there anything about the village in “A Very Old Man” that sounds familiar to you?
Group E: What is a possible theme for this story? How does the old man’s physical description contrast with the idea that he is an angel? Discuss the angel’s treatment by the townspeople and Elisenda’s idea of charging admission to see him. What does this say about the values of these people?