Literary Essay - A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

2021-08-20 05:56:53
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Harvey Mudd College
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Gabriel Garcia Marquezs A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings is a narrative that about of a strange old man in the courtyard belonging to Pelayo and Elisenda. The couple is stunned by the presence of old man with wings in their courtyard and seek the help of their neighbor to establish his identity. The neighbor informs them that the man is an angel which spread so fast and attract crowds to the location. The couple soon realizes the possibility of making money by charging the crowd some money to see the old man. In the meantime, Father Gonzaga of the Catholic Church exposes the myopia with which the church conceives controversial religious issues. He employs physical medieval approaches such as the number of times that the old man can fit on the head of a pin as a way debunking the idea that the man truly an angel. The story provides a typical portrayal of some of the weaknesses of the church and a pointer to the selfish nature of political organizations.

The narrative points to the inability of the church to live to the majority expectations in the society. Ideally, religion should affirm human faith and provide sustenance of their hope but the Catholic Church is a typical manifestation of the inability of the contemporary churches to live to this responsibility. In the narrative, Father Gonzaga still relies on the church hierarchy to discern whether the old man with wings is a true angel or not. He openly admits that he would get the real truth from the higher courts of the church. Again, the church applies the arcane medieval theory to know whether the old man was really an angel. These trends embody the ineffectiveness of religion to be relied upon as a source of spiritual direction for adherents. More often than not, the church abandons believers and cling to traditional dictates of religious hierarchy when confronted with the need to discern spiritual matters. The effect of this is that believers are left in a spiritual wilderness. Contrary to the need for the church exemplify itself as a source of moral reasoning, it sometimes succumbs to absurd guesses or apply a wait and see tactic which cast aspersions on their reliability as a source of direction to the society.

The narrative also indicts the church for its dwindling role in being a bridge through which people can interact with the things that are considered heavenly. For instance, Father Gonzaga labored to restrain the crowd from interacting with and seeing the purported angel even before it was determined to be a fake. Religion and religious leaders are supposed to act as lenses through which the people can perceive the spiritual world but not a barrier for a direct association between them and the spiritual. In most civilizations, the church and religious leaders have unilaterally taken the know-it-all position by making the believers occupy a more passive role. The religious leaders create an impression that they are the only ones who have the unfettered ability to determine what is heavenly.

The actions and choices of Elisenda and Pelayo typify governments selfish way of treating citizens. Administrations often look up to the citizens as a source of revenue but are not prompt in using such income in responding to the needs of the people. The narrative shows a couple that raises a lot of money from fees charged on the people getting to see the unique creature in their courtyard. However, they do not see the need to provide a decent housing for the angel. The money that the couple collects is enough to build them a mansion but until the time that the old man flies away, they kept him in the chicken coop. In the same way that citizens in any country are the primary source of revenue that runs the administration, some populations remain languishing in poverty.

Like Mother Teresa asserted, the role of any religion is to help the less fortunate in the society and restore a sense of belonging among the disadvantaged. However, Father Gonzaga concentrates more on determining the identity of the old man than helping him to get a favorable shelter or influencing Elishedas family to feed the purported angel well. Religious teachings require that believers actively participate in alleviating the suffering of people irrespective of their identity but sometimes, the church fails to rise up to this calling by delving so much into less helpful roles. Being a religious leader, it would expected that Father Gonzaga does more than labeling the old man as a fake but not recognizing the challenging conditions within which he lived . In doing this, the priest jeopardizes the reputation of the church. The fact that church leaders are embodiments of the status of the sanctuary implies that at any slightest opportunity, they should always be compassionate, non-discriminative and responsive to the suffering of everyone. Without helping the old man, the father shows the failure of religious leaders to offer their flowers a sense of moral guidance.

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