A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

“But when they went out into the courtyard with the first light of dawn, they found the whole neighborhood in front of the chicken coop having fun with the angel, without the slightest reverence, tossing him things to eat through the openings in the wire as if he weren’t a supernatural creature but a circus animal.”

Written by Gabriel  García Márquez


After reading Garcia’s short story I felt compelled to write about what I found to be an important premise. I have been thinking a lot lately about consumer culture in America and our need to always be entertained. We have an unending curiosity, or shall I say a large appetite for all things strange, morbid and banal. Whether it be a reality star getting married, a pop star’s fall from grace or a child murderer going free, we become fixated and obsessed. Our attention begins to wane as we turn our hungry eyes to the next big thing.We praise, heckle, ogle and condemn. As soon as we have had our fix we move on.


The lovely, broken angel in Garcia’s short story quickly becomes the talk of the town. He falls from the sky rather ungracefully and lands in a courtyard and finds himself covered in mud. When he is able to comprehend that he has indeed crashed in a strange village he becomes frightened and begins rambling in his native tongue. He is found by a man who lives nearby and is soon held captive against his will. The townsfolk who live in the seaside village come to see the angel and his tattered wings.At first they are in awe and amused by the oddity they see before them. Soon enough they begin to poke and prod him hoping for a reaction. The angel becomes perplexed and saddened  by all the commotion around him. He does not understand why he is confined to a sweltering shed day and night. His lack of entertainment and participation in his side show leaves the looming crowd irate. They rip out feathers and prod the frail angel with hot iron. He flitches and turns away but there is nowhere to hide. His saving grace comes in the form of a circus that rolls into town hoping to capitalize on the large crowd. A spider lady claims most of the attention. People come from far away to see her. The angel is forgotten and fades into obscurity.


Humanity’s fickle need for entertainment drives them to always pursue the next bizarre experience.


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