Short Story Discussion Forum

Read the short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Then read the critical/interpretive essay (Critical Article on “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” File). Respond to the following questions below. Refer to the resource, “Literary Terms & Magical Realism” for definitions. You may need to re-read the stories and essay. This is fairly typical in humanities research and writing. Close critical readings almost always require multiple readings. Due December 6, 2015.

1.) Describe three defining character traits of the “Angel” or “Bird man”. Compare and contrast features of this character to other characters like Father Gonzaga in the story. Why are they different and why does this matter?

2.) Compare the endings of both fairy tales. Write three important differences you notice between the endings of each story.

3.) What part of the story do you like best? Which part of the story do you dislike? Discuss your preferences in a paragraph or more.

4.) Faulkner writes, “In the character of the “bird-man,” we can see this style [magical realism] at work, and experience the charming (but unsettling) effect it often has on readers. His mysterious nature is the story’s central “problem,” the source of its energy and tension.” How does this character create tension and move the problem and plot along? Why is his existence and the story unsettling? Explain and provide examples.

5.) What does Faulkner suggest about the “Angel/Old Man/Bird-Man”? According to Faulkner, there are several techniques contributing to the old man’s vivid “existence.” Detailed sensory imagery is a standard means for writers to reinforce a character’s “reality” to the reader. How does the author do this. Provide examples. How does this add to the effects of magical realism?

6.) Faulkner writes, “in such ways, readers come to rely on the narrator for clues about ‘how to take’ elements in the story that may be unclear. But this narrator seems determined to be untrustworthy.” According to Faulkner why would the narrator/author do this? According to Faulkner, what purpose does this serve the story?


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