Short Story #2 – “The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings”

1. Provide the title and author of your story.  Then write a well-developed paragraph in response to the story.  Some questions to think about: did you like it or not?  Why? How did the story make you feel? Does this make you want to read other stories by this author? Would you recommend this story to someone else? Why?

The short story I will be discussing is “The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I did not like this story because I didn’t expect it to be somewhat descriptive and moody, the story was somewhat okay but it would’ve been better if there was more to this story. This story didn’t make me have deep emotions, as I read through the story my first initial reaction was “oh, how strange and confusing.” If I had the opportunity to read more stories from this author I would give it another go, it may have been me or the story but everything deserves a second chance. I would recommend this story to others if they had the guts to interpret this story, read through some pages to get to some of the “interesting” parts, and read (what I think) the most strangest ending to a short story ever.

2. Diction analysis.  Diction means “word choice”.  The denotation of a word is its dictionary definition; the connotation of a word is what the word implies or what readers tend to associate with the word.  Many words may have nearly identical denotations, but their connotations can be very different.  For example: frigid, chilly, brisk, and numbing all more or less have the same denotation of “cold”.  But their connotations are very different: chilly or brisk temperatures call for a jacket or sweater, but frigid temperatures probably indicate the need for a coat and a hat.  Examine the diction used in the story, and write a well-developed paragraph about the diction.  Choose a few words (maybe 5-8) and discuss them: why did the author choose these specific words rather than other, similar words?   What do these words connote that other words might not?  How does the author’s diction enhance the story?

Some of the words in the short story that I found interesting were magnanimous, myrrh, antiquarian, pilgrims, and heartrending. Magnanimous is a synonym of giving and kind, however, I think the author chose this word over other words because Pelayo and Elisenda decided to send him on a raft with supplies towards his fate, they felt considerate of the angel and tried to return him to where he came from, this is what magnanimous means; being generous by doing something. Myrrh is another word that is really intriguing, when the couple “burned tears of myrrh inside it every so often, it was not in homage to the angel but to drive away the dungheap stench that still hung everywhere,” myrrh is an excellent alternative to aroma or scent because most people are used to using aroma or scent but myrrh is just mysterious until someone finds the actual meaning. Antiquarian is another fancy word that I find amazing, first off, it describes when the angel “only lifted his antiquarian eyes and murmured something in his dialect.” Since the author is deciding to use antiquarian, it gives the feeling of something antique or primitive when looking into the angel’s eyes. Pilgrims though is somewhat used properly in this short story because the couple uses the angel as means of profits, they gained so much profit that “the line of pilgrims waiting their turn to enter still reached beyond the horizon.” These people are waiting in line just to see the angel and some are not actually pilgrims but more like having a pilgrimage to this place in hopes of finding something, thus earning them the names of pilgrims in the story. Most of all, the word heartrending is just a word that makes someone feel bad for something or someone such as the woman who got turned into a spider, who had “the sincere affliction with which she recounted the details of her misfortune.” The author just breaks the persons heart when the reader reaches the part about the spider woman’s misfortune. In general the author uses amazing diction to describe some of the details in the story, the story may have not captured my eye (plot wise) but the diction was the one thing that interested me.


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