Study Guide

Pelayo in A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

By Gabriel García Márquez

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Pelayo is the guy who finds the old man, in the middle of throwing drowned crabs out of his flooded courtyard. And check out the first thing he does:

Frightened by that nightmare, Pelayo ran to get Elisenda, his wife, who was putting compresses on the sick child, and he took her to the rear of the courtyard. They both looked at the fallen body with mute stupor. (2)

Elisenda seems to be the brains behind the operation of their marriage, and Pelayo just goes along with what she says—although he does reap the benefits. He quits his job to raise rabbits, and he gets to live in a nice "two-story mansion with balconies and gardens and high netting so that crabs wouldn't get in during the winter."

No more throwing crabs out in the middle of a rainstorm for this guy.

Good Guy/Bad Guy

Even though Pelayo doesn't play much of a role in the story, he's not entirely off the narrator's hook. He may not have come up with the idea of letting people gawk at that angel for money, but he sure didn't stop his wife.

There's just one thing that redeems Pelayo: when the man loses the last of his feathers, Pelayo throws a blanket over him; and then lets him sleep in the shed. Sure, the narrator says ironically that Pelayo "extended him the charity of letting him sleep in the shed"—ironic because, come on, that's not really charitable at all.

But, still, that's about the only nice thing anyone ever does for the poor guy. We'll take it.

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