Introduction With “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” we see an angel who has arrived

With “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” we see an angel who has arrived to collect our main characters’ son. This is his mission. This is his quest. However, due to his crash-landing and imprisonment, the angel is unable to complete his goal.

Consider “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” from multiple angles.

Initial Post Instructions
First, do Foster’s requirements for a quest apply to a character whose mission is thwarted from the start? Is there any difference between the “stated reason to get there” and the “real reason” (Foster 3) when a character is so quickly imprisoned?

Whether or not you believe in angles, accept the conceit of their abilities for our discussion. Why is the angel unable to complete his mission? Why can’t he overpower mankind? Why isn’t an additional angel sent to bring the son to heaven? Is Marquez making a statement about humanity with this story?

***7.2 Discussion Board***

For our final discussion question, you will write about either “The Swimmer” or “The Man Who Was Almost a Man.” Here we have two characters on very different quests: for Cheever, a middle aged man journeying back home through the swimming pools of his wealthy neighbors; for Wright, a young man on a quest to get an object he believes will make him manlier. Though both are on journeys, one character’s is coming to an end while the other is just beginning.

Initial Post Instructions
Respond to one of the following:

  • For “The Swimmer” consider Neddy’s journey and setting.
    • How does Cheever use the element of setting to grant the reader access to Neddy’s mind?
    • As he makes his way through his journey, is there a point at which it becomes clear that Neddy’s task is perilous and that everything may not be what it seems?
    • Identify that point (or those points) in the story and discuss the extent to which setting is representative of Neddy’s psyche.
  • For “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” consider Dave’s mother and Dave’s ultimate journey.
    • How do you judge Dave’s mother as a character?
    • Given Dave’s youth and the racial elements of this story, is his mother being a good mother by forcing her son to be honest or do the circumstances of Wright’s story suggest that she should have lied?
    • When it comes to Dave’s journey, where is he going and how will his fate play out?
    • Is this a youthful mistake he will soon realize and end up returning home or has Dave truly left his family behind?

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