The Error of Preconceptions in “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”

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The Error of Preconceptions in “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” When Henry Ford was able to mass-produce automobiles by inventing the assembly line, people flocked in droves to get their hands on one. However, when Nicholas Copernicus challenged mankind’s preconceived notion by stating that the sun was not in fact the center of the universe, he was met by harsh criticism. People love innovation which make their lives easier; they despise that which challenges their beliefs. It is only after these challenging theories are proven time and again that they gain acceptance. These moments of taxing inspiration are rarely recognized until their originators have faced extensive hardship or even passed away. English author George Eliot addressed this phenomenon metaphorically when she wrote, “the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.” This quote might well have been the inspiration for Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings: A Tale for Children,” wherein an angel arrives in a small crab-fishing village only to be scoffed at for failing to meet the villagers’ preconceived notions of what an angel should be. In the work, Marquez conveys the theme that mankind’s arrogance and preconceptions make them blind to miracles they do not understand. He illustrates both the religious and aesthetic preconceptions and biases of mankind, and expresses a skepticism their ways will change by authoring the story as a “tale for children” (1). The preconceptions which initially and most explicitly are conveyed in his story are those surrounding religion, in particular Christianity. Marquez writes that after crab-fisherman Pelayo and his wife Elisenda discover the angel and move it into a chicken coop in an attempt to offer it shelter, word starts to pass of their extraordinary discovery (1). When news of the supposed angel

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