Study Guide

Father Gonzaga in A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

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Father Gonzaga

If this is the best that the local church has to offer, count us unimpressed. Father Gonzaga is alarmed by the arrival of the old man and wants to officially determine whether or not he's an angel:

Standing by the wire, he reviewed his catechism in an instant and asked them to open the door so that he could take a close look at that pitiful man who looked more like a huge decrepit hen among the fascinated chickens. (5)

He tests the old man by speaking to him in Latin, and then writes a bunch of letters to the Pope in Rome, but he never does quite figure out whether to call the stranger an angel or not. He may have book-smarts, but he doesn't have much imagination—or much true religious feeling.

Like the neighbor lady, he's not a fully developed character so much as a representation of a particular way of looking at the world. And we sure can't see much through his eyes.

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