A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Magical Realism and Symbolism

Garcia Marquez’ short story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is an example of magical realism in which the author intends to convey symbolic and allegorical meanings through characters and their actions. Two of the most obvious and important symbols in this story are the title character, the “old man”, and the “spider-woman”. Write a 3-4 page essay answering the following:

What is the story an allegory for (immigration, healthcare, politics, art, etc.)?
What do the “old man” and the “spider-woman” symbolize in that allegory (using their physical descriptions and actions as evidence)?


Introduction should introduce topic of the essay then the subject.

Thesis statement should come at the end of the introduction answering the questions in the prompt briefly but specifically.

Body paragraphs should each focus on a single point that work to support your thesis (For example a paragraph that shows how the old man’s physical description show what he symbolizes in the overall allegory). These points should be made clear through topic sentences.

Specific quotes from the story should be used as evidence to support your points in each paragraph.

Conclusion should discuss what the story seems to suggest about the allegorical topic (for instance, different types of immigrants are exploited in different ways).



A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings