Comparison Of Symbolism In A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings And Swimmer

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

‘The Swimmer’ by John Cheever and ‘A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, both focus on magic realism in the way that people are never content. ‘The Swimmer’ is a story of how one man’s ego can change his life. The plot mostly focuses on a man who has a drinking problem and “swims” pool to pool without living in the moment. He takes every moment for granted and and no matter how he chooses to live his life it will go on. Just like in ‘A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings,’ focuses on a man who is an angel. However, this man may look “weird” to people and because of his looks treated differently, but he can somehow an angle people. A “weird” man can really have a huge impact on us and we would have no idea. In both stories, the author uses symbolism to show how most people are never content on what they have and take many opportunities for granted.

Throughout “The Swimmer” the idea of how you can make one poor choice and everything can change. He shows this idea by use of symbolism, such as the different pools and the weather/seasons changing. In the short story, “The Swimmer” he used the different pools to represent all the different time periods that just flashed past neddy. The first encounter was when he was at a good point in life but, after that it just kept going down hill. For example, Neddy says “Oh, how bonny and lush were the banks of the Lucinda River!” Here, Neddy was reminiscing on his old life, symbolising how his world used to be before he got caught up on the unimportant factors in life. He had his family, friends and a good lifestyle but, that was not good enough for him. Needy got caught up on social status of the modern day that didn’t fit his standards, these poor choices ended up his would turn upside down. Also, Cheever uses the weather and seasonal changes as symbolism. The weather and seasons mirror the main character’s life changing. In the beginning of the short story, Needy is in the sunshine and summer weather. Shortly after this nice weather, a storm comes in representing a turning point in his life. The red and yellow leaves represent fall which is the changing of season representing time. Needy describes the changes, “Then there was an explosion, a smell of cordite, and rain lashed the Japanese lanterns.” This represents that before the storm he felt welcomed he had his friends and everyone support until a thundercloud comes in and changes everything. The storm represents the change for him, since the storm everything has been different. With the use of symbolism though the short story we get a glimpse of how his life started to how he got to this point of no return.

In “The Swimmer” symbolism is used to show the hardships Neddy had to deal with in this period in his life, just like in the short story ‘A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings’ symbolises that most “things” for granted. Many people judge a book by its cover, before they even get the chance to know them. You never really know what type of impact someone has on you, unless you give them a chance. The text states, “His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked, were forever entangled in the mud. They looked at him for so long and so closely that Pelayo and Elisenda very soon overcame their surprise and in the end found him familiar.” This shows Pelayo and Elisenda’s first impression of the angel, they thought the wings as something so gross rather than seeing something beautiful. When they first saw this creature they thought he had no meaning or had anything special, but they were wrong. Also, through the story they show how most people take advantage of this angel that really does have a huge impact on everyone in their communities’ life. In the beginning of the story the author states, “What surprised him most, however, was the logic of his wings. They seemed so natural on that completely human organism that he couldn’t understand why other men didn’t have them too.” This shows how when Pelayo and Elisenda’s son first came down with the chicken pox the physician took advantage and denied the opportunity to examine the angle. The doctor is surprised that both the angel and the kid are still alive but little did he know the angel had the power to heal people.Through the use of symbolism Gabriel Garcia Marquez shows how people can misjudge individuals and take advantage of individuals, just like the angle in this story.

In ‘The Swimmer’ by John Cheever and ‘A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez both authors use symbolism to represent how many people take life for granted, and treat good people with disrespect. “The Swimmer” focuses on how you can get so lost in someone you want to be and forget who you are and lose everything you used to be. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s main focus in ‘A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings’ is how people can get so lost in judging people that you’ll never really know what type of impact they can have on you. Though both of these stories the author uses symbolism to make us understand important aspects of human life.


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