Allegory: Old Age and Younger Generation

Hector Meza Eng. 028 Prof. Gray 04/30/2012 An allegory of the story can define the representation of ideas, events, or characters. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, gives two good examples on symbolic and allegory meanings through the characters and their action. This story is blended with normal humanity, fantasy, and magical realism. The story can bring different meanings to readers depending on your view on life. After an ugly storm went through Pelayo’s town, He found his whole yard ruined with the weathers destruction.

An old man with enormous wings had fallen from the sky, and Pelayo discovers him only to use him as an attraction for the whole town to see. Pelayo and his wife, Elisenda use this man to profit off of his unusual looks. After a couple of days, the crowd loose interest of the old man because a new attraction rises to the fame. A woman gets the peoples interest because she has the body of spider and she is also able to communicate with the people. In the end the old man flies away and the “annoyance” is taken away from Pelayo’s family.

The allegory of the story shows how people can be cruel to each other. The old man symbolizes the older generation that are living their last days here in this world and the spider woman represents the younger generation that many people can relate. When Pelayo found the old man lying face down in the mud, he was unsure on what he would do with this man. He thought about getting rid of the old man by killing him, but his neighbor said that he could be an angel. The old man ended up being caged up in a chicken coop for the public to see him as a circus attraction.

The whole town tried to communicate with the man, but no one offered to help this old man that was caged like an animal. In today’s world, an elderly man can have the most knowledge and experience in life that many people cannot see. The old man’s wings represent the unique experience they have in life. Many elderly people are placed retirement homes and most of them are only visited by their families. Some are just forgotten and left alone until their time comes. An elderly person is not any less than anyone else. Society judges the elderly in a negative way because of their decline in ealth and communication to the world. It is very rare to have a younger generation take interest in someone who has lived a complete life. The author shows how the public had trouble talking to the old man. For example, Pelayo tried to communicate with the man, which “he answered in an incomprehensible dialect with a strong sailor’s voice” (294). Some of the elderly people that live with us today have trouble communicating with the general public as they get older. Instead of trying to listen more carefully, many people just give up in communicating with an older person.

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Since Pelayo got a response from the angel he could not understand he just, “intelligently concluded that he was a castaway from some foreign ship wrecked storm” (294). Mostly Every person in this world reaches the age when their abilities to do every day chores decreases. The younger generation is getting more and more distracted with the technologies that are becoming more advanced every day. Before when there was no technology, no retirement home, and no nursing home, families took care of their own family members when they had less capability.

Today it can be so easy to drop a loved one who has become so old that they don’t want to admit that they have become a burden in their lives. For example, When the old man finally gets his wings and flies away, “Elisenda let out a sigh of relief for herself and for him…because then he was no longer an annoyance in her life” (299). It is rare for someone to bring up this issue, but when we reach that age we wouldn’t want to be treated as if we were the old man in the story. The younger generation can be easy to socialize with since most of us always have our own stories we want to share.

After a while a carnival attraction came into town to show their main attraction which was a woman with the body of a spider. The whole town was amused by this new attraction since, “people were permitted to ask her all manner of questions” (297). The spider Woman ends up taking all of the attention from the old man because of ability to communicate with anyone. Everyone in town also liked how they were able to relate to the spider woman’s misfortune because many got a lesson to not disobey there parent.

The woman’s on time mistake got her punished by getting the body of a spider. This girl disobeyed rules, but yet she still got the attention from everyone. Also it’s not as if no one has broken the rules sometime in their life. When the author has both characters side by side, everyone goes to the spider woman because her story is more interesting than the ugly old man who can’t even communicate. Many people can argue that it is hopeless to communicate with someone of old age, but in reality to talk to someone who has seen it all is worth the challenge.

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