A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Summary

A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings Summary Themes & Quotes from assignmentgeek.com

Overview of the Story

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel García Márquez is a magical realism short story. Published in 1955, it centers around Pelayo and Elisenda, a married couple who discover a very old man with enormous wings at their home one day. The couple and the local townspeople are fascinated by the man, but they don’t know what to make of him. The story examines the treatment of the strange visitor and the attitudes of the people who encounter him.

The Strange Visitor

When Pelayo and Elisenda first find the old man, he is lying on their courtyard, covered in mud and feathers. He has a pair of huge wings and is wearing nothing but a rag. Although the couple are initially frightened of him, they soon realize that he is harmless. Despite his strange appearance, the old man is very polite and speaks with a low voice.

The Townspeople\’s Reactions

The townspeople are enthralled with the old man and flock to Pelayo and Elisenda\’s house to see him. They assume that the old man is an angel and start asking him questions, but the old man doesn\’t answer them. Some of the townspeople believe that the old man is a miracle and that he can perform miracles, while others think he is an imposter sent by the devil.

The Old Man in Captivity

Pelayo and Elisenda decide to keep the old man in their courtyard and charge admission to view him. They make a fortune from the visitors who come to see the old man. Eventually, the old man falls ill and the townspeople lose interest in him. Pelayo and Elisenda decide to send him away and ask the local priest to take him.

The Old Man\’s Departure

Before the old man is taken away, Pelayo and Elisenda discover that he is a retired seaman who has been shipwrecked. The priest takes the old man away and the townspeople never see him again. Later, Pelayo and Elisenda become wealthy and build a grand house with a courtyard.


The story of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is a cautionary tale about the dangers of prejudice and superstition. The townspeople are fascinated by the old man, but they are also fearful of him. They assume that he is an angel, a devil, or a miracle-worker, without ever learning the truth about him. This is a reminder that we should never make snap judgments about people based on their appearance or background.


A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is a story that examines the human tendency to make assumptions about people based on their appearance. The story also serves as a warning that our assumptions can lead us to mistreat and misunderstand those who are different from us. By reflecting on the story, we can learn to be more open-minded and tolerant of people who may seem strange or unfamiliar.

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