In A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Gabriel Garcia uses magical realism to bring the story to life by pointing out the differences in the familys lifestyle before and after the old man left. Also, Garcia points out the differences in appearance between the old man, and the usual preconceived notion of what an angel looks like. The beginning lines of the story tell of a poverty stricken family, living in a ramshackle house, whose baby is sick, and they are killing the crabs infesting their house all day. The reader can picture the dreariness of the setting when the author writes The sea and sky were a single ash gray thing and the sands, which on March nights glimmered like powdered light, had become a stew of mud and rotten shellfish (Marquez 284) The reader can smell the dead crabs, and see the darkness that would make it seem later than it actually is. However, because the old man comes, and becomes almost a circus attraction, the family makes a great deal of money. At the end of the story the couple built a two-story mansion.
They also got better jobs, and clothes, yet the keep the cause of their good fortune, the old man, in the chicken coop still. The chicken coop was falling apart, murky and grimy, but they feel no gratitude towards the old man. Instead, they look at him as a burden. The old mans appearance isnt exactly what we think of angels, however. Most people think of angels as beautiful young men and women in long, flowing white gowns, which radiate light, and happiness.
They usually have halos, and are always smiling and happy. This is the exact opposite of the old man. The author describes him as dressed like a ragpicker. There were only a few faded hairs left on his bald skull, and very few teeth left in his mouth.
(284) His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked, were forever entangling in the mud. (284) This makes the man sound like a homeless beggar who happens to have soiled, disheveled wings. He does not even speak their language. Through the imagery that Garcia uses, you can understand why these underprivileged, uneducated people would be afraid of this man. They dont have any special knowledge of angels, and they dont know what to make of the old man, especially one that looks like a beggar.
The story Fleur by Louise Erdrich is a Native American legend. She uses a lot of mythical elements to support the use of theme. The story centers on a girl, who drowns more than once in a lake, and who is courted by Misshepeshu, the water-monster. Fleur is the superhuman being in this story.
The author credits here with drowning twice, destroying a town, and being able to change into animals. She scares little children by caring a small childs finger in her pocket, and she kept the powder of unborn rabbits in a pouch around her neck. They dont pay much attention to the little girl, Pauline, who was a big-nosed, skinny girl with staring eyes. (Erdrich 427) But are fascinated by Fleur, who was attractive, strong and could play cards. They treat Pauline like she doesnt exist, because to them she doesnt.
When they need help on things, they remember her until they dont need her anymore. Fleur is the only one that sees past her looks, and recognizes her as a person. In return Pauline isnt scared of Fleur, despite the things she has heard, or seen of her. Pauline even helps Fleur when she has a baby who most people think is either from a white man, or Misshepeshu. The theme in this story seems to be about the silly things people are judged by. The author is trying to make the point that it isnt looks that make the person.
You cant judge people because of looks, or because of rumors. Because both Pauline, and Fleur look past what other people see, and dont pay attention to rumors they form a lasting friendship. They stand by each other, and are true friends, even though gossip does not stop. An old man with wings, and a woman who can turn into animals is not things that could actually happen.
That is where the element of fantasy comes in. The imagination used by the authors is vast. The story A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings leaves the reader with questions about whether the old man is even an angel. The author never comes out and says he is, he merely hints at it, and leaves the reader to come up with his or her own conclusions about the strange old man.
In Fleur, most of the things they accredit her with are impossible. No person can control weather, or change into animals, or come back to life if they have truly drowned. Gabriel Garcia, and Louise Eldrich are both considered magical realism writers even though they also use fantasy and mythology in their writing. When all three elements combine they create a story that makes the reader think, bringing images to his or her mind.
* The American College Dictionary. New York: Random House 1962Bibliography:* The American College Dictionary. New York: Random House 1962