A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
by Gabriel García Márquez
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Theme of Religion
No one sets foot in a church—but they don't need to. Religion is all over "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings," from the neighbor lady who thinks that the old man is an angel; to the priest who doesn't, but writes to the Pope anyway to make sure. But what's the point of all this religion? Does it make people kinder, nicer, more charitable, more generous? More loving? We'd have to say—no. Is there anything redeeming about religion in the story—or is the Catholic Church just one more thing for Márquez to satirize?
Questions About Religion
- How is religion portrayed in the story? What kind of people are religious? How do we know that they are?
- What are the differences between the popular religion represented by the neighbor woman and the official Catholicism symbolized by Father Gonzaga?
- How does Father Gonzaga view the old man? What methods does he use to try to decipher the mystery of the wings?
Chew on This
The story makes fun of the slow, bureaucratic hierarchy of the Catholic Church and its officials.
Religion is only a peripheral authority in this community; people are more likely to rely on gossip than on the priest.