…but what does it all mean?

“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”

This short story is titled as being for children. Write a thoughtful response to the short story that includes an assertion about whether you believe this to be true, and explain what you believe to be the most striking theme in the piece. Post your response as a reply to this post. You do this by clicking on the # comments title under the post.



89 comments ↓

  • #   jesus10cuban on 11.12.12 at 5:33 pm     

    The article or short story is definetely targeted for little kids. But the theme can be very well related to adults, and how concerned they are about personal problems. In general the story fits a variety of characters and personalities people adopt during their lifetime. Including being slefish and self centered, not caring for anyone else as long as personal goals or benefits are being achieved.


  • #   erikaselby on 11.12.12 at 7:32 pm     

    I feel that this could have been a great children’s story if in the end there would have been a moral to the story such as it’s not right to treat people so cruelly. This would have been a sufficient way to show how the angel was treated so horribly when “the cripples pulled out feathers” and people “tried to make him eat moth balls”.

    The theme in my opinion is a negative theme of hurting those who are innocent. Throughout the story you see that the fallen angel had done no harm to anyone but yet was treated like a “circus animal”.


  • #   willmoorman on 11.12.12 at 8:34 pm     

    This children’s story clearly relates to my assertion about the poem “A little while, a little while.” You don’t miss the water until the well runs dry. To me that is the most striking theme in this piece, they don’t really appreciate the strange old man for what he is, they just abuse him to make a profit.

    This is definitely a children’s book, it sends a pretty clear message. That’s enough effort for one night.


  • #   purdymelanie on 11.12.12 at 10:49 pm     

    This might be a children’s story, but it sure is loaded with some intense messages and possible commentary that is hard to comprehend at first without analyzing it. I’m not completely, sure that I fully get the meaning. I know that at first, I identifies with the married couple, thought of them as the protagonists, and was creeped out by the old man angel. throughout the piece, however, my opinion changed. As the author revealed that angel as a helpless, misunderstood, persecuted yet not defeated, and utterly human character, I began to see that the humans had misjudged him. I think one of the themes is that when living in this world and being surrounded by all the trash of daily life, people lose their ability to recognize a treasure among the trash. The author communicated this theme as Pelayo and his wife take the “wise” neighbor woman’s suspicions as truth, and instantly scheme up a way to profit at the angel’s inconvenience. Pelayo and Elisenda never repay or even acknowledge the angel as the source of their hefty profits, and think only of the angel as an “annoyance”. The greatest moment of irony comes when Elisenda says she dislikes living “in that hell full of angels”, when really, the angel has done nothing wrong to them. The author portrays humans as ungrateful and corrupt by the society they live in. So much so that they cannot even appreciate an angel.


  • #   kelsayjj on 11.13.12 at 12:23 pm     

    This story didn’t strike me as a story for children at all. Children’s stories are supposed to be happy, cheerful, and inspiring – helping them to grow in a positive way. This story was not watered down to appeal to young minds in the slightest. It was very realistic, using descriptive details that a child shouldn’t need to necessarily read. The story described harsh scenarios of abuse towards the “angel” and frankly, children shouldn’t have to read about that or have to imagine some grisly image in their minds by doing so. The most striking theme throughout this piece seemed to be greed: Greed for the angel’s powers, greed to personally keep one’s child safe over taking care of another, greed for money & riches, greed for entertainment, greed to satisfy one’s curiosity. The story revealed a harsh outlook and exemplified this flaw of humanity through countless off-color situations involving personal gain.


  • #   pandamonia on 11.13.12 at 1:15 pm     

    Although an unconventional kind of story, “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” can be read as a children’s tale. It has a strong message about Christ and Christianity/religion that can teach children about the beliefs their parents follow. Also, it has strong moral lessons about not acting greedy and having gratitude for every small miracle. The story’s main theme is that people need to look past themselves, and instead see how their actions affect others. Every person in this village only saw how the angel could help them, rather than how they could treat the angel with kindness. Even when the angel performed miracles in front of their eyes, they still only believed that the miracles were “consolation miracles” and wanted more. When the angel leaves in the end, Elisenda is only glad because the angel is no longer an annoyance for her. She does not see the good that he brought into her life.


  • #   seena on 11.13.12 at 6:44 pm     

    I think that in a way this story can pertain to children, and the lessons they can learn from it. The story has mystical and fairytale-like elements that children tend to gravitate towards, and it also has several underlying themes in the midst. Throughout the story, we see the tendency of human nature to be greedy and participate in acts that only benefit themselves. Although the angel came to help, the family did not see this, but rather exploited him for their own benefit and profitable gains. The people of the village also used the angel for their own selfish purposes as well, such as the Portuguese man who couldn’t sleep because “the noise of the stars disturbed him” and wanted the angels help. At the end of the story, Elisenda watched as the angel flew away, and at this point it almost seemed like she was a little sad watching him go. A major theme that can be taken away from this story is that people sometimes take things for granted, and don’t appreciate what they have until it is taken away from them.


  • #   darthaaron on 11.13.12 at 9:07 pm     

    I believe that this story could possibly be meaningful to innocent little children. However, only an adult, one who has experienced the harsh realities of this world, could find meaning in this strange work.
    The thing that struck me the most was that the angel did not do anything to warrant the treatment he received. He simply washed unto a shore and his passivity to man’s actions revealed to us how dark human nature is when it has free reign. This leads me to surmise that completely harmless people can be taken advantage of by man’s innately malevolent nature although they do nothing to deserve it. At the beginning I thought this old man could possibly be an angel, discarded from the heavens. At the end of the story I realized him to be a wretched harpy, hated by man.
    – Aaron Thomas


  • #   chihun0227 on 11.13.12 at 10:01 pm     

    Although the short story A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings has a great usage of language and thematic messages, I think it should not be titled as for children, because I believe that the story’s excessively complex and degrading plot is just too early and negative for little children. In general, children’s story books start with cheerful surroundings. However, this story is set in a gloomy and gray shore where people kill crabs, which I thought was very brutal and negative in children’s point of view. Moreover, children’s stories usually have positive and magical images of cherubs, fairies, and animals (or even munchkins). In contrast, this story presents a confound creature that looks like a monster rather than an angel and evil and greedy people who are trying to keep and use him for their good. I think such plot will confuse children’s definition between good and evil, because even though the Old Man with Enormous Wings seems like a monster, the people, including the main characters seem like insincere and greedy people who only come to see and seek fortunes from the creature.


  • #   farrenh on 11.13.12 at 11:09 pm     

    I don’t think this is meant for children at all. It could be read as a children’s story, a dark one at that, but the underlying message and the commentary on religious institutions is certainly meant for a more mature audience. It questions the apparently fine line between the human and the supernatural as well as between good and evil. It examines the complexity and business like qualities of the church. Most importantly, it highlights the lengths the husband and wife are willing to go in this story for money. They seem to set aside their slight misgivings about the treatment of this angel quite easily and continue to use him for their own profit.


  • #   anastasiafrolova on 11.13.12 at 11:13 pm     

    “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is very similar to the Grimm fairy tales, and though the author called this a “children’s story”, I would not classify it as such. Most children’s stories are meant to be simple enough to understand at first read and attempt to teach only one lesson. This short story was much more complex, and was thought provoking enough that we as seniors still had questions about.
    The most striking theme is the horror of humanity. The human emotions of compassion and empathy that we as humans look for in each other was forgotten once something foreign was found, and once its suffering could be capitalized, it was. Never once was the angel considered something good, never once was it even treated like a living being, and that’s makes the story that much more sad. – Anastasia Frolova


  • #   humanehorzon on 11.13.12 at 11:21 pm     

    It’s Hanna from 1st period, and I honestly didn’t like this story. I ready it, and wondered how this would show little kids a valuable lesson. I did like the metaphors though, there were several. I don’t know what lesson a child would get from this, I know if I heard this as a child I wouldn’t know. The couple acted a bit understandably at first, but as time went on, they got greedy and selfish. They made money off of the angel, got a beautiful house, most importantly, their child survived his illness, yet they still saw the angel as an annoyance. I understand it was realistic, but.. I don’t know. I still had, and have, some hope that people would be better than how the story depicted the crowds that visited the house. I guess the theme is about people. Maybe the message to the child would be something along the lines of not being selfish, and being thankful… But the theme in my eyes would have to be that people could care less about anyone but themselves, and are needy, dependent creatures; a child was saved from death, a couple gained a mansion, yet they crave more and feel bothered when another person needs help.


  • #   attilajszabo on 11.13.12 at 11:31 pm     

    It is meant for children since its main purpose is meant to discipline children. A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings is like many other fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood and stories from the the brothers Grimm who wrote Hansel and Gretel. These were not originally intended for children since the dark side of stories, but in the end they were published as children’s books to scare children into submission. The fear tactics of discipline works well on the “symbol-minded” like little children.
    Not necessarily striking since its extremely common, but a very important theme in the story is the one of segregation. Where people will mock others who are not like them even if they are similar . This suggests to become accepted by you have to conform and be like the rest.


  • #   Muhammad Sajjad on 11.14.12 at 8:26 am     

    Traditionally, children stories include morals in the end that the child can easily pick out, but in this story the morale and lessons are more obscure and require a deeper understanding of the text. When I first read the story I did not immediately pick out the vast lessons in the story until I got to English class . The most striking theme in the story is how the mind of society has such short attention span and how always something is necessary to entertain them. People do not like something that doesn’t entertain them.


  • #   jangerxp on 11.14.12 at 9:05 am     

    This story didn’t seem like a children’s tale at all. The moral of the story and the theme of it may be too complex for children. This story can be most related to adults more than children. Human nature and humility is present and children wouldn’t know what the purpose of the story really meant. Also, the diction of this story is very complex for children to even comprehend.


  • #   b770git on 11.14.12 at 5:36 pm     

    I think this poem isn’t a children’s book, because they are young children so they won’t be able to understand this piece even if it was read to them. We as senior had a hard time analyzing this piece how could a five or four year old be expected to know what the author was trying to convey.


  • #   cjason2013 on 11.14.12 at 5:38 pm     

    This story does have the potential to be a fantastic realism children’s story, like the Brother’s Grimm fairy tales. There are a lot of complexities in this story that children can really learn from; such as being different doesn’t mean that you should be mistreated; this is connected with how the “Angel” was treated in the story by being feed leftover food and being stored like a chicken in the dirt coop. Or miracles are not always so plain there are ways to see the beauty in what you are given in life; there are examples like the child healing after being sick, the family getting money for a house, instead of sores the leper had sunflowers and many other things that were unusual but still were miraculous.


  • #   America on 11.14.12 at 8:17 pm     

    If the category of stories for children contains only pieces of simple diction, a clear moral, and events of levity, then “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is not a story for children. Though several themes could be easily applied to dem young childruns’ lives, the higher level diction and syntax does not allow it to be categorized as a children’s story. Readily applicable themes include: disobeying one’s parents will provide for a difficult lesson to learn (coming from the spider woman thing), and being dissatisfied enough to constantly chase the next new thing will only create a cycle of frustration and emptiness. Yep.


  • #   brii30 on 11.14.12 at 8:22 pm     

    The author of “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” calls it a “children’s story”, but I would not call it that. Most children’s stories are short and have one moral but within this short story their were many that left us seniors questioning certain aspects of it.
    The theme of this short story is the horror of humanity. It relates to everyday life in a way that once we recognize something and find interests in it we tend to be amused by it but as soon as something else comes along we are attracted to it.


  • #   Christina on 11.14.12 at 8:41 pm     

    I don’t see this as a children’s story at all. The first thing I think of when I think of a children’s story is one of simple words, a simple story, and a simple lesson, usually learned by the protagonist of the story. This short story was far more complex in every characteristic. The allusions would fly over most kids’ heads. The ending would leave most kids asking, “And then what happened?” Honestly, that was my first thought! Also, kids would either be bored with the excessive descriptions and unnecessary details or lack the understanding needed to analyze the meaning behind them, if any.


  • #   nguyenvt1 on 11.14.12 at 9:11 pm     

    If by children you mean middle school and high school students, then I agree that this story is for “children.” The complexity of the syntax and diction far exceeds the reading comprehension skills possessed by younger children. Parents would have to sit down and meticulously explain this story to their kids as it does contain a very powerful message.
    Although not prominent, discrimination due to communication barriers is definitely one of the themes in this story. Because the villagers understood the spider lady and not the “angel,” they sympathized more with her and treated her a lot better than they did the old man with wings. Perhaps Marquez is subtly screaming at us to look at the issue more closely as it relates to our everyday life in America, a place where cultural differences are cherished. Moreover, he recognized the importance of teaching this to young kids and integrated this theme into his story so that parents could implant the indelible moral lesson into their children’ undeveloped brains.


  • #   tiffaniejacob94 on 11.15.12 at 9:52 am     

    I don’t believe the story should be classified as a children’s story because although the supernatural and human brutality appear quite frequently in fairy tales, this story’s language is too complex for a child to understand. The story’s intricacy demands a more mature audience as well. One of the themes from this story is humans will be cruel in the face of even the most astounding miracles. I think it was interesting how the humans were so inhumane to this angel. How contradictory yet so characteristic of us.


  • #   samguu on 11.15.12 at 12:21 pm     

    Although this piece was intended as a children’s story, I don’t believe that it should be. If children’s stories are meant to show the harshness of reality and human nature, then perhaps this could be considered a children’s story. However, most children’s stories are simpler than this. One of the themes of the story is that humans treat oddities irreverently once they secure their own safety. This is more of a real-life fact than a moral direction, so I don’t think this is a story for children.


  • #   samguu on 11.15.12 at 12:26 pm     

    Although this piece was intended as a children’s story, I don’t believe that it should be. If children’s stories are meant to show the harshness of reality and human nature, then perhaps this could be considered a children’s story. However, most children’s stories are simpler than this. One of the themes of the story is that humans treat oddities irreverently, especially once they secure their own safety. This is more of a real-life fact than a moral direction, so I don’t think this is a story for children.


  • #   Hana on 11.15.12 at 1:35 pm     

    This should not be a children’s tale. it was so confusing to me at times..if it’s confusing to me I’m pretty sure it’ll be like reading a short story in a different language to children. the evil displayed in it is too intense. It’s a sad cruel story compared to the traditional cheery and happy children’s story. The theme considering emotional change is the most striking to me. The change thRoat went through because of his emotions and lover for the dog was a nice character change to see but again it’s something that children will not be able to figure out.


  • #   ashleybennett4 on 11.15.12 at 3:19 pm     

    This wouldn’t been the best story for children because of its strange way of sharing the moral of the story. Children wouldnt find the tale as entrancing as stories like Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast because of its dark way of depicting the treatment of the “angel.” The moral of the story is fitting for children in that we shouldnt treat others cruelly and that human have a tendancy to lose intrest in things after a short amount of time.


  • #   juliechrisman11 on 11.15.12 at 3:32 pm     

    Although intended for children, the overall theme – humans are capricious in their mindset towards entertainment – can be related more so to adults. This winged creature in a sense represents that theme. Initially reading this short story, I believed this creature to be an “angel of death”, and just as human nature is inclined to change its way of thinking, I switched to feeling sorry for this angel. The poor treatment of our own kind is enough for any adult to understand and reflect on his own decisions and actions. They change constantly and cruelly.


  • #   Abraham Park on 11.15.12 at 3:59 pm     

    This short story is not a children’s story because of the complex morals for the children to understand. For example, the poor couple in the story realize that they could make money off of the angel, while letting him suffer. However, their actions led them to their greed and selfishness, and in the end, the wife regrets how she treated the angel. My theme for this story is to know the true value of something means losing it forever.


  • #   caitlinwebb on 11.15.12 at 5:07 pm     

    “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” doesn’t ever strike me as a story for child for multiple reasons. First off I don’t believe a child would get many of the ideas or themes in the story. A child might simple look at it as a story about not being mean to people, but this story really doesn’t have any consequences that came about because of the abuse the old man received. There is really no underline message that a child could easily pick up on. Also it is full of dark images. Now, one could argue this isn’t a children’s story because it isn’t happy, but many old fairy tales used to keep children in line were very dark. Also one of the theme is, many people create their own troubles from events that could have otherwise been positive. If the family had treated the old man fairly and taken care of him, who knows how different this story might have been. Honestly I was shocked that they threw him into the chicken coop, because I believed many people in a number of cultures highly respected their elders.


  • #   alexsorrels95 on 11.15.12 at 5:58 pm     

    I think that this could possibly be a childrens story considering, most children don’t think into things like adults do and they can’t understand the underlying message of this story. They’ll just think “oh a man with wings, cool.” But, on thoe other hand, this story could also be used on adults as a reference to something religious. While in the chicken coop the old man does show some similarities to Jesus, such as, the beating and how calm he can stay.
    It realy depends on what age you are on how to interpret this story but either way it’s still a good story.


  • #   Rachel on 11.15.12 at 6:30 pm     

    I feel that this could totally be a childrens story. Sure they won’t understand nearly as much of it as we can get from it, but it can really peak children’s curiosity. It can make kids wonder why the angel acted like that and had such patience when no one seemed to be respecting him. There is an important message in it to learn that I believe even children can pick up on and that is to treat everyone equally and with respect. You never know when you’ll run across an angel


  • #   mallorietabor15 on 11.15.12 at 6:48 pm     

    I really don’t understand why this was classified as a children’s story. I don’t think any child would understand what was going on in the story. The only way I can think of the reason this was classified as a children’s story is because most children stories have a moral to them. The moral to this story, in my opinion, is to not treat others badly. However, I feel like the events happening in this story are too complex for a child to understand. I’m 18 years old and I still couldn’t understand this story completely without fully analyzing it.


  • #   trogomar on 11.15.12 at 7:13 pm     

    Please note that this is what I interpreted from reading the story, and these are my personal thoughts and opinions. :)

    I would consider this story for children, but I would strongly suggest it for adolescents and adults. I say this because this story shows us how mankind has become (corrupted). This should be a reminder for us to be better people and act appropriately towards ourselves and one another. Mankind has not only become corrupted, but also selfish and ignorant. I make this conclusion from the story, life, and from the sentence in the story, “then got the idea of fencing in the yard and charging five cents admission to see the Angel.” The second time I read this story to figure out what to respond for this blog post, I stopped on this sentence and said, “Wow, just wow.” I thought to myself, “what a greedy woman.” Someone (Angel in this case) helps you by saving your child who was about to die and you are repaying him by using him to become rich.
    This brings me to the next point that as humans we tend to do stuff for our own benefit and for our own good. Some people do not, for those who are saying right now, “I do not do things for my own benefit only.” Anyhow, Elisenda deciding to charge money and build a fence that way she and her husband can make money and be rich, and want the angel to leave because he is annoying shows us how one can be ignorant and unappreciable. Elisenda also show us what most of mankind suffers today, unsatisfactory. Some humans will never be satisfied no matter what they get. For example, a person wants the newest Ferrari, so he goes and buys it. Then they become happy. The next year a newer version comes, and BOOM…What? They go and buy the newer one. I can assure you that you know some people that are like that, if not, I am sorry you do not. For the people who dislike Apple, I am sorry but you have to read this… It is the same thing with IPhones and other Apple products. Every 6 months or so, a new IPhone comes out and people go crazy to get to buy it. Once they do buy it, and see that their friends have it too, they say, “Oh, well I don’t like this phone anymore, I should get a new one.” Trust me, I know people like that.
    To stay on track, take Elisenda. Elisenda was poor woman, and when she became rich, let me quote exactly what was said in the story, “had crammed their rooms with money and the line of pilgrims waiting their turn to enter still reached beyond the horizon,” she became this person who is just ignorant and sort of like, “I am rich and you are not.” She is annoyed that the Angel was still there, especially when he went inside of the house. She needs to thank God that she got wealth from him and that she has a child who is going to school.
    Anyways, I, again, believe that this is a good story to teach to children and ourselves because it shows us of who we are and who we should be. I disagree with other people’s post that say this should not be for children. This story is not that difficult to understand. You may say, “Oh well it is not difficult for you, but it is for kids,” let me tell you my response to that… “If a parent or parents were to teach and explain to their children about greed, selfishness, and ignorance, and show them how people are ignorant and greedy by reading them this story, it will not be difficult for them to understand. I am not saying that parents are not teaching their children about ignorance, greed, and selfishness.

    THANK YOU ! :)


  • #   kkjkxd on 11.15.12 at 7:56 pm     

    To me, this doesn’t seem much like a children’s story. There are themes that would go way over a child’s head, and this story had themes that confused me as well. There are good morals that would benefit children, such as not disobeying their parents, but overall, this story would confuse children. If I had to choose a category for this story, a children’s tale would not have been at the top of my list.


  • #   Gabrielle Frost on 11.15.12 at 8:00 pm     

    Like many children’s stories, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” may target a young audience on the surface with the fantasy of the story, but contains much deeper meaning understood only by a more mature audience. However, children can also benefit from the lighter message of the story. I believe the most pronounced theme in this story is humanity’s greed and selfishness seen in the characters’ gross mistreatment of the old man when he had done nothing but help them.


  • #   ardesjardins on 11.15.12 at 9:07 pm     

    I don’t believe this story is made for little kids, but it is made for the children of God who are able to understand the morals of the short story.

    A theme in the short story is people are more concerned with the tangible things in life. Pelayo and Elisenda charged people to see the angel that was kept in the chicken coup. They wanted the “tangible” things they would only have on earth. Pelayo and Elisenda were more worried about the money than helping the angle get better. People are so wrapped up about everything on earth and don’t consider what happens when they die. What happens to the tangible things they get in life?


  • #   Rachel Steele on 11.15.12 at 9:58 pm     

    Although the underlying themes and verbose grammatical structure may be difficult for most to sort through, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” could still be read to children. This story is obviously not intended for younger readers. However, this story could be read to a older child (around ages 8-12). Additionally parents could start a dialogue and the tricky subject matter that is dealt within the story.


  • #   pimpdaddynickalicious on 11.15.12 at 10:56 pm     

    Although I agree that in its present form “A Very Old Man with Enormus Wings” is not a story geared towards young children (due to the complex nature of the story’s themes, structure, and dark/malicious tones) people forget to realize that this work is a perfect example of how a majority, if not all folktales and fairytales originated historicaly. These types of stories were originaly told to mature audiances in a gruesome or cruel fashion in order to teach culturally specific morals. If you just take a brief search into your favorite child hood story’s history, more often than not you will find a darker original story! It’s just now and days those folktales tales have undergone extensive “Disneyfication” (Yes! A real word) and strayed far from its orginal plot and morals.
    With time and modification from generation to generation I have no doubt a story like this would have the capibility to shift into a child oriented audiance.


  • #   jesse on 11.15.12 at 11:17 pm     

    I do not believe that “A very Old man with Enormous wings” is a short story for children. Although it is written on a child’s level and some themes are easy to understand, the themes and morals surrounding the story are very complex and take a lot of thought to decipher. plus, when I was a kid, I wouldn’t have liked it.


  • #   disc on 11.15.12 at 11:19 pm     

    I believe that while intended for children, there’s two layers of meanings that can be gleaned from the story dependent on the ‘category’ ( be they child or adult ) that the reader falls into. While an adult can perhaps process the deeper ideas of human greed and absorption, a child would be more likely distracted by the presence of angels and large spider women and the overall surreal fantasy the story took on. Basically, while still readily available as a darker children’s book – “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” can definitely fall under a more mature audience category as well.


  • #   pimpdaddynickalicious on 11.15.12 at 11:22 pm     

    Themes extracted from my interpretation of “A Very Old Man with Enormus Wings” include:

    - The nature of mankind is by default manipulative, cruel, exploitive, and malicious (It seems as if Thomas Hobbes wrote this…)

    - Society has lost almost all respect for the forces of the supernatural, paranormal, spiritual, and extraterestrial (either in myth or in reality)

    “Pretty much… the magic is gone”


  • #   Justin Joy on 11.15.12 at 11:26 pm     

    The short story “A very old man with enormous wings: A tale for children” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez should not be a children’s short story. This opinion of mine is mainly because the story is promoting inhumane and despicable actions by the contemplation of clubbing the angel to death. Another sadistic action was when Pelayo and Elisenda decided to keep the angel in the chicken coop making him a circus-like freak. The visitors would burn him with a branding iron and throw stones at him. The most striking theme in this short story is that compassion and cruelty can exist together. Even though Pelayo and Elisenda were barbarous to the angel, he still helped the couple out financially.


  • #   Sierra Sanchez on 11.15.12 at 11:35 pm     

    I found the short story to be too long and meandering because nothing really happened. The “Angel” was found by their house, he attracted a large crowd, then after a year or so he just flew off. There were no static characters nor distinguished antagonists, assuming the angel is the protagonist, though he does not completely fill that role. I know children’s stories to have more substance in the storyline so the writer can apply a good moral lesson or strong theme, but this one didn’t have a strong story to carry that weight. So it may have been a children’s story, but not a very good one. I’ll just take the side of not-a-children’s-story now so I stop rambling. The most striking theme from the story was that human nature causes us to always seek a new source of entertainment. Because the crowd moved on from the angel to the spider-chick so quickly it proved that the fact that he was an angel didn’t matter as much as him simply being different. This story it made humans seem so shallow. The family used the angel to make money, the people were inconsiderate and disrespectful to him, the wife in the story wanted him gone because he’d get in the way, the husband put him in the chicken coop… It wasn’t a good story and definitely not a good children’s story if it truly is one. Harumph.


  • #   priyalii on 11.15.12 at 11:49 pm     

    From the short story’s title, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, the story sounds like a typical fairytale with a moral lesson for children. Even though this story is filled with many moral lessons that can be beneficial to children, I think this story is to complex for the average child to understand. The imagery in this story is way to dark and I do not think that children should be reading about the cruel and inhumane things the townspeople inflicted upon the angel for their entertainment. I know that children will eventually grow up and see cruel things in the world but I do not think that they should be introduced to those things through a story that they cannot understand. One of the major themes of this story was that even though one may live a life of hardship and discomfort one should still treat others how one wants to be treated. After the “old man” fell in Pelayo and Elisenda’s yard, the couple became rich by charging people money to come see this “old man” who was believed to be an angel. The angel was kept in a chicken pen and abused by the people who came to see him even though he did not do anything wrong. I think that this shows how a human can become so cruel after facing hardship. Even though the Pelayo and Elisenda become rich at the end of the short story, they did not realize the “old man” was actually an angel that brought them a miracle.


  • #   willschleich on 11.16.12 at 1:50 am     

    To me the underlying message was something along the lines of people experience misfortunes and successes together. When the destitute old winged man found himself disoriented and unable to fly after a stormy day, he encountered an equally unfortunate family. When they became successful from his predicament, he then regrew his wings and was able to fly away.

    There was also a peculiar scene where the man and the family child got chicken pox at the same time, implying that if a bad situation occurs to a person, its misfortune spills over into the lives of others.


  • #   cheezychloe on 11.16.12 at 7:14 am     

    This story sounds very similar to the stories I was told as a child. Like most children’s books, tv shows, and movies, it teaches a moral lesson. I do not believe it is true. I believe it was written solely to teach a lesson, not to reflect an actual event. The lesson that is taught through this story, or the theme, is the ironic truth that people are often too skeptical for their own good. The townspeople focused so much on disproving the angel’s angelhood that they were inable to recognize his angel like qualities. Similar to many bible stories, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” teaches children to have unwaivering faith.

    “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1


  • #   jenniferswanson on 11.16.12 at 8:13 am     

    This story is geared towards children yet the theme is geared towards adults. A child wouldn’t be able to comprehend the story, whereas an adult would and would understand the hidden message. The theme seems to be about hurting the innocent people.


  • #   Itzel Escobedo on 11.16.12 at 8:34 am     

    The lack of appealing imagery, such as happy sunshine and rainbows, to a more readily apparent use of realistic commentary makes me think it is not a children story. The language used and the tone expressed show a more sentimental and complex theme. An angel is usually associated with godly figures, but in this story he is displayed as a spectacle. The author’s juxtaposition of displaying him as wondrous phenomenon and a religious entity tie together a moral to the story.


  • #   alexizmagromalo on 11.16.12 at 8:57 am     

    A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings could fall into children’s literature. Although we have a different view of what children’s tales should sound like, a key element is the lesson/moral of the story. While the diction is simplistic the meaning is very ambiguous. The theme I came up with for the tale is Life is all dependent on how you react on your problems. The old man symbolizes life’s problems and our tendency to over react to them. Notice how the couple was much happier when they learned to deal with the old man (problem) and finally threw him out in the shed and ceased to worry about him. While the religious elements might lead one to think the man was an angel or a demon portrayed as an angel I would have to disagree. One could ask well Alexiz why does he have wings then? I would reply that the wings are also symbolic of the evanescence of problems. A problem does not last forever it is fleeting and therefore the man would require wings to be evanescent. The mockery of the catholic religion is upsetting but I see the author’s point of view. The author feels that one should not rely on the church to handle your problems but handle them yourself. Notice how the priest stood befuddled as to what to do with the old man.Well I hope the was enough evidence to prove my point. The very old man with enormous wings is symbolic of life’s problems. Okay. Toodaloo.

    1st period


  • #   laurenava on 11.16.12 at 8:58 am     

    This poem could definitely fall under the genre of children’s literature. It teaches the lesson of human nature and how to persevre through trials in life. No matter what the people did to the man with wings, he never retaliated. This is something that everyone should learn and it would be helpful for children to learn because they are still at an early stage in their life. The man with wings was also able to have a positive effect on the couple that found him even after he had been mistreated. This is another important lessson that will help children understand how to act towards one another. If you are able to still have a positive effect on someone after they have treated you badly then you will live a fulfilling life. If children can understand this concept then they’ll have an easier time understanding the things they will go through while growing up. At face value, this poem doesn’t look appealing to read to a child, but once you understand the lessons that it is able to convey, it’s obvious that it would be beneficial to read to a child.


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