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These two short stories The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World and A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings by Gabriel Marquez deal with the arrival of unusual and rather strange visitors.

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Introduction

Essay #1 - IB Chronicles These two short stories "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" and "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" by Gabriel Marquez deal with the arrival of unusual and rather strange visitors. One story deals with the arrival of a rather handsome, impressive dead man, while the other story deals with the arrival of a sickly, rather raggedy looking old man with wings, respectively. The subsequent, yet differing reactions of the people in both stories demonstrates a similar view of the human condition, although depicted differently by Marquez in these short stories. In "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" and "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings", Marquez uses characterization and setting to convey his theme that one's reactions towards strangers can have a profound effect on, and can shape one's life. Both stories satirically examine the human response to those who are weak, withering, and different (or, in the case of Esteban, dead). Marquez effectively uses characterization to portray the people in both stories who take in strangers, and the differing way they treat their respective stranger. From the beginning, the people in the "Handsomest Man" realize that the man who has washed up on their shore is a stranger to them. Even so, while the men make an effort to see if neighboring villages know of the dead man's identity, the women stay behind to care for him. ...read more.

Middle

Not only do the people in this story disrespect a divine being, but they act as though sparing his life is a magnanimous act on their part, which is horrifying. And, once they discover that they can profit from showcasing the angel, Pelayo and Elisenda imprison him in a chicken coop outside, where strangers pelt him with stones, gawk, and throw food at him, as if he weren't a celestial, divine being, but a "circus animal". Marquez uses what the major and minor characters do and say to demonstrate the people's reaction to the newcomer. Marquez uses characterization not only to accurately portray the effect of the angel's arrival on the people, but also offers a parallel of this to the effect of a stranger's arrival on the people in "The Handsomest Drowned Man Alive". Marquez also uses setting in order to demonstrate how one's reaction towards strangers can affect their lifestyle. In "The Handsomest Drowned Man Alive", the story takes place at a fishing village by the sea. It's important to note how the arrival of Esteban drastically affects the scenery of the village. At the story's beginning, the village is simply a "desertlike cape" with "no flowers". Later on, the village is also described as "arid" and "windless". This village appears desert-like, and the residents are fine with that. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rather, his arrival gives them the possibility and the means to be extraordinary on their own. He makes them look at their own lives in the light of his supposed greatness. What they find when they look is "the desolation of their streets, the dryness of their courtyards, the narrowness of their dreams" (12). This new possibility of greatness takes root in the villagers, and they end the story not with the funeral, but with a hopeful vision of the future. Their villages, and the people in it, are definitely changing. In "The Very Old Man With Enormous Wings", the locals reaction is rather sad- they treated a celestial and magnificent being with disrespect and cruelty, by making him out to be a common animal. His arrival lets the locals experience mystical things, such as miracles, and helps the owners of the house experience prosperity. By the time the old man finally flies away, Elisenda sees him go with a twinge of regret. One major characteristic of the old man was his extreme patience with the villagers, and it is that which ultimately transforms Pelayo's and Elisenda's lives. Seen in this light, the old man's refusal to leave might be interpreted as an act of compassion to help the impoverished couple. Marquez effectively uses setting and characterization in order to demonstrate just how big an effect the arrival of a stranger can have on people. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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