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A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Story) Exercise

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Story) Exercise Question Answer Solution note. Class 12 English Short Stories Section Chapter 7 Complete Exercise.

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Exercise

A Very Old man with enormous Wings (Story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez) Questions Answers and Exercise Notes Class 12 English



Understanding the text


Answer the following questions.


A. How does the narrator describe the weather and its effects in the exposition of the story?

Answer➜ It had been raining for three days in the exposition of the story, and Pelayo was dumping the crabs inside his house into the water. The sea and sky had become a single ash-grey entity, and the beach’s sands, which had glinted like powdered light on March nights, had turned into a stew of mud and decaying shellfish.


B. Describe the strange old man as Palayo and his wife first encounter within their courtyard.

Answer➜ The strange man was clothed in the manner of a ragpicker. His bald head was almost completely shaved, and his mouth was almost empty with sans teeth. His enormous buzzard wings, filthy and half-plucked, were constantly twisted in the muck.


C. Why did Pelayo and Elisenda imprison the old man in the chicken coop?

Answer➜ Pelayo and Elisenda imprisoned the old man in the chicken coop thinking that he is an angel and he was there to take their child. 


D. Why was Father Gonzaga not sure about the old man being a celestial messenger?

Answer➜ Father Gonzaga was not sure about the old being celestial messenger because the old man was unable to understand the language of God, he has unbearable smell of the outdoors, the back side of his wings was strewn with parasites and his main feathers had been mistreated by terrestrial winds and there was nothing to prove him as the dignity of angels.


E. Many people gathered at Pelayo’s house to see the strange old man. Why do you think the crowd assembled to see him? 

Answer➜ I think the crowd assembled to see him because they had heard about the captivated angel in Pelayo's house. Some of them were surprised and wanted to see that unique creature. While others wanted to tease and make fun of imprisoned strange old man as if he was a circus animal.


F Some miracles happened while the crowd gathers to see the strange man. What are these miracles?

Answer➜ Some miracles happened while the crowd gathers to see the strange man. Some of the miracles are: the blind man who didn't recover his sight but grew three new teeth, the paralytic who didn't get to walk but almost won the lottery, and the leper whose sores sprouted sunflowers.


G. State the irritating things that the people did with the strange old man.

Answer➜ People started doing irritating things with the old man such as they poked him with iron and burnt his side with iron. They pulled his feathers. Because of their mistreat, the old man became violent due to pain.


H. How and why was the woman changed into a spider?

Answer➜ In her childhood, she had sneaked out of her parent's house to go to a dance, and while she was coming back through the woods after having danced all night without permission, a fearful thunderclap rent the sky in tow and through the crack came the lightning bolt of brimstone that changed her into a spider.


I. Describe how Elisenda saw the strange man flying over the houses.

Answer➜ While she was busy in the kitchen, she felt something outside. She went to the window to see what was happing. She saw that the old man was trying to fly. Soon, he flew off the horizon of the sea and disappeared.



Reference to the Context 


A. The arrival of a strange old man at Palayo's courtyard arouses many suspicions and explanations. Explain how the neighbour woman, Father Gonzaga and the doctor speak of the strange man. Why do you think these three people give three different kinds of interpretations?

Answer➜ 

The arrival of a strange old man at Pelayo’s courtyard arouses many suspicions and explanations. All these three people speak of the strange man with their different interpretations. 

The neighbouring woman speaks of him saying that he is an angel. According to her, the strange man must have come for the child but due to his weak body and oldness, he is knocked down by the rain. 

Next, father Gonzaga speaks of him being quite doubtful. He states that the strange man with wings doesn't know the language of God or know how to greet His ministers. He is too similar to humans and his body has an unbearable smell. His feathers are strewn with parasites and the main feathers have been ministered by territorial winds. Father concludes that he hasn't found any matching qualities of angels within him.

The doctor, at last, puts forward his opinion after inspecting his heart and kidneys. He says that the old man can't be alive. He hears so much whistling in his heart and so many noises in his kidneys. He is amazed to see the natural wings in the human organism. He cannot understand the reason and says why other men don't have similar wings.

I think these three people give three different kinds of interpretations because the strange man is a kind of mystery for them. All these people are well-known in their community for their knowledge of their fields. They speak out their different opinions about the strange-looking man because they want to be smarter in front of gullible people. This is the usual human tendency to respond to those who are weak, dependent, and different.


B.This story belongs to the genre of 'magical realism', a genre perfected by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his novels and short stories. Magical realism is a narrative technique in which the story-teller narrates the common place things with magical color and the events look both magical and real at the same time. Collect five magic realist happenings from the story and argue why they seem magical to you.

Answer➜ 

"A very old man with enormous wings" is a short story where the narrator has used magical realism technique to narrate the story. He uses both natural and divine imagery in his descriptions of place, character, and events in a short story.

From the beginning of the story, the narrator's style comes through in his unusual,almost fairy tale-like description of the restless rain. ' The world had been sad since Tuesday." There is mingling at the fantastic and ordinary in all the descriptions, including the swarms of crabs that invade pelayo and Elisenda's home and the muddy sand of beach that in the rainy grayness looks " like povedered light". It is in this strange, highly textured, dreamlike setting that the old winged man appears a living myth, who is nevertheless covered in lice and dressed in rags. The narrator has also included some miracles, like the slindman who didn't recover his sight but grew three new teeth, or a paralytic who didn't get to walk but almost won the lottery, and the leper whose sores sprouted sunflowers. The author introduce the episode of a woman who became a spider for having disobeyed her parents. this episode at once shifts people's concentration from the strange old man to the spider woman. The story behind the spider woman is unbelievable but the human attraction towards " truth" and " lesson" reflects human nature.


C. The author introduces the episode of a woman who became a spider for having disobeyed her parents. This episode at once shifts people's concentration from the strange old man to the spider woman. What do you think is the purpose of the author to bring this shift in the story?

Answer➜ 

The author introduces the episode of a woman who became a spider for having disobeyed her parents. This episode at once shifts people's concentration from the strange old man to the spider woman. I think the author's intention in introducing this change in the story is to show the examples of magical realism.

It is also found that from the magical realism, humans want to earn which is their greed. At the beginning, Pelayo and Elisenda got benefit from the old man by charging some money to the visitors. Later on, their earning was stopped because of the arrival of the spider woman. He brings this shift to show that greed also.


D. The story deals with the common people’s gullibility. How do Pelayo and his wife take advantage of common people’s whim?

Answer➜ 

Pelayo and Elisenda take advantages of the common people’s gullibility in the story. They see an old man with enormous wings in their courtyard and their next door neighbor suspects him to be an angle that has come to take their child. They entrap the man into their chicken coop. The rumor spreads throughout the town and people gather to visit him. When people gather to see the man, Elisenda gets an idea of charging them to have a look at him. They earn lots of money because of curiosity of people to see the strange creature. In such a way they take advantage from the gullible people.



Reference beyond the Context


A. An irresistible crowd queues at Palayo’s house for many days simply to look at the strange old man. Narrate an episode from your experience or from another story where people assemble in crowds, not for any noble cause. 

Answer➜ 

An Episode of Captivated Young Woman in the Movie Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters

A similar kind of irresistible crowd queues to watch a young woman that has been presented in a movie called Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. Both Hansel and Gretel have been presented in their adult ages. When Hansel and Gretel arrive in the town of Augsburg, they find a crowd of people surrounding a captivated young woman in a white dress. She is bound with ropes. All the people including Sheriff Berringer of the town are intending to execute a beautiful young woman named Mina for witchcraft. All the people of that town are looking at the young girl with suspicious and aggressive eyes. They are making noises in favour of killing the girl. But in the meantime, Hansel and Gretel prevent all of them from doing this crime. They examine the girl and conclude her as a simple human. They set her free from all the people's traps.


B. The taste of children is different from grown-ups. What are the elements in the story that make ‘The Old Man with Enormous Wings’ a children’s story?

Answer➜ 

The taste of children is different from grown-ups. The elements in the story that make ‘The Old Man with Enormous Wings’ a children’s story are:

  • Characters: The old man is presented as an angel who has unexpected wings who appears to be neither fully human nor fully surreal.
  • Conflict: The characters like the neighbour woman, Father Gonzaga, the doctor etc have conflict or tussle regarding the character of the old man.
  • Fun time: The situation becomes funny as the crowd gather in the yard to see the old man and even pay 5 cent admission fee for seeing the angel.
  • Setting: The weather location of the story is rainy and muddy outside with chicken coops, seaside, woods, yard etc.
  • Five senses: Among the five senses, some senses like the sight of the people to the old man, dirty smell of his body, and feelings of the different characters and crowd is found in the story. 
  • Sentence structure and devices: The story contains simple sentence structure and devices like symbols. The old man represents Christ-figure comes o save people yet is spurned and humiliated by them
  • Wings: Wings represent power, speed, and limitless freedom of motion. In the Christian tradition, angels are often represented as beautiful winged figures.
  • The Spider-Girl: The spider girl represents the fickleness with which many self-interested people approach their faith.
  • Supernatural elements: The old man having wings, the woman changes into the spider, people’s faith in angels etc.


Read more:

Neighbours Exercise

A Respectable Woman Exercise

A Devoted Son Exercise

Treasure in the Forest Exercise

My Old Home Exercise

Half-Closed Eyes of Buddha & Slowly Sinking Sun Exercise

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About the Author

Iswori Rimal is the author of iswori.com.np, a popular education platform in Nepal. Iswori helps students in their SEE, Class 11 and Class 12 studies with Complete Notes, important questions and other study materials.

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