© 2015 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

CHECK OUT SHMOOP'S FREE STUDY TOOLS: Essay Lab | Math Shack | Videos

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings


by Gabriel García Márquez

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Analysis

Literary Devices in A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory


Our entire story takes place in Pelayo and Elisenda's courtyard. (In fact, it's almost like we're held captive.) But, even though we never go anywhere else, we can gather some clues about the large...

Narrator Point of View

The narrator in this story is outside of the action, narrating from a distance. He can get inside the heads of some of the characters when he wants to, but he doesn't spend much time there. Take th...


The subtitle of this story is "A Tale for Children," which first leads us to believe that this is young adult literature. And the story does have a sort of children's-story feel to it. It's got fan...


"Richly bleak": that sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it?No, no, we're not calling you a moron. We'd never say that. But we are saying that the narrator's attitude toward the townspeople and their...

Writing Style

Telling it Like it IsThe writing in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is pretty direct and simple. It tells the reader what happened and how. This isn't to say that there aren't any big words or...

What's Up With the Title?

The title seems pretty straightforward: the story is called "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings," and we do, indeed, get the story of a very old man with enormous wings. But this title tells us som...

What's Up With the Ending?

The last line of the story zooms in on Elisenda, who is watching the old man disappear, flapping off into the horizon while she chops onions: "[. . .] she kept on watching until it was no longer po...


The story is straightforward and easy to understand, with down-to-earth language and metaphors. Here's an example: In the middle of the night, when the rain stopped, Pelayo and Elisenda were still...

Plot Analysis

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?An old man, who happens to be endowed with a pair of enormous wings, crash-lands at Pelayo and Elisenda's house during a rainstorm. This is the setup for all the action...


García Márquez co-wrote the script for the movie version of his story and the film lets us in on something the story doesn't (SPOILER ALERT): the wings are fake! (Source.) Long before he was famo...

Steaminess Rating

Nothing to see here, folks. The only two people who are romantically involved are Pelayo and Elisenda, because they're married, but even they keep it clean for the story.


The story doesn't have any shout-outs, which makes it that much more mysterious and closed off—like a fairy-tale occurring in an imaginary, timeless place.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Noodle's College Search
Noodle's College Search