Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in his short story “Avery Old Man with Enormouswings”, shows how we as a culture persecute the different people because we do not want to take the time to get to know them and to understand their humanity. Pelayo, Elisenda and no one else in town showed any kind of support or sympathy for the old man. The village is a place where humanity is almost non-existent. In the past, society has exiled those who were different. Minorities are treated as less than in our society. The way these groups are treated is similar to the way Elisenda treated the old man. Elisenda is not able to reflect on how savage she was until the elderly man flew away.
Elisenda exploitation of an old man for selfish gain shows how people are not able to see their terrible treatment of other until they’re left alone and forced to think about themselves. Pelayo’s and Elisenda’s treatment of the old gentleman was clear. He was forced to “force himself into his nest and endure hellish heat”. He is trapped in the same way as cattle, and forced to live in an animal coup. They make him stay in a place that is meant for animals, but the locals never offer to help. The old man’s wings were being eaten away by parasites, and the hens pecked him. He was thought to be dead. Elisenda decided to charge an extra fee to see him in order to generate some additional income. No money from that was used to help him in any way. The money was spent on a mansion for Elisenda, Pelayo and Elisenda to upgrade her wardrobe. No money was spent to improve the house of the old man. Elisenda squeezed every last penny out of Pelayo.
The treatment of the elderly man by the town shows how cruel people are to those who are different. The old guy was tortured as well. In addition to his being on display, he also had his feathers pulled out and was brandished with a heated iron. This is a shocking and inhumane way to treat an elderly man. The reader initially thinks that the town is full of vile individuals, but after a bit more investigation it becomes clear that the town is no different from any other. This shows that we are all programmed to use others for our own benefit.
Elisenda & Pelayo don’t communicate well with the man. Elisenda, when the old woman first appears in her yard, calls on a neighbour “who knows everything about life and deaths” to pass judgement. Elisenda is not interested in talking to the old man, nor does she want to get to be familiar with him. The neighbor declares the man an angel. She says he’s a bad person and should be killed, because he fell from heaven for a reason. She has not met or spoken to the old gentleman, but she renders a verdict on him. Elisenda accepts her judgment. Elisenda is quick to judge and doesn’t take into account the feelings of an old man.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s story “A very old man with enormous wings” is an example where people exploit and abuse others. Elisenda takes advantage of the old man in order to benefit herself financially and socially. Elisenda is only seen to have remorse after she exploits the elderly man for her own monetary and societal gain. Elisenda’s actions are horrific, and we hope she has learned her lesson.