Ryan Wood Alicia Alexander Eng. 131 2, November 2010 Misconception of Religion in “The Gospel According to Mark” and “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings. ” In the two short stories both authors, Jorge Luis Borges in “The Gospel According to Mark” and Gabriel Garcia Marquez in “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” use religion as examples on how different individuals use and believe in it. As we read the story’s we will see how religion is sometimes misconceived and misinterpreted by people so they can benefit in their own personal lives, and personal well-being.In the stories both characters are seemed to be looked at as maybe something they are not. This will lead us to the misconception and misunderstanding that people have on religion and beliefs.
In the short story “The Gospel According to Mark” the main character Baltasar Espinosa is seemed to be looked at like a God by a family that does not know much about religion or the Bible. The Gutres are a small family that seems to be looking for a religious figure they can believe in since they do not understand religious beliefs. In “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” Pelayo and his wife Elisenda find an old man with wings in front of their house.They believe he could be an angel and decide to lock him inside a chicken coup. They believe he could be there for their sick child but at first there not quite sure. As the two stories evolve we will see how both families use Baltasar Espinosa, and the Old Man to gain advantages in their own lives. In Marquez story, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” we see an example of how Elisenda starts using the Old Man to reap personal benefits.
The narrator says, “Elisenda, her spine all twisted from sweeping up so much marketplace trash, then got the idea of fencing in the yard and charging five cents admission to see the angel” (354).As we read Borges story, “The Gospel According to Mark” the narrator says, “The next day began like all the others, except that the father spoke to Espinosa to ask whether Christ had allowed himself to be killed in order to save all mankind” (347). Later we find out that the family decides to crucify Espinosa because they might believe him to be a spiritual character and it could benefit the family in some way. They also find out that something has happened between Espinosa and the daughter. In both stories there seems to be a religious character there to help both families in some sort of way.In “The Gospel According to Mark” the family seems like they take to Espinosa and follow him and learn from him. Where in “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” the family is not sure of him and decides not to take the Old Man in and learn his reasons for being there.
“Pelayo watched over him all afternoon from the kitchen, armed with his bailiff’s club, and before going to bed he dragged him out of the mud and locked him up with the hens in the wire chicken coop” (353). Instead of trying to figure out why he was there, they were more afraid of him and worried about what he could be.In Borges story, “The Gospel according to Mark” the narrator says, “The move brought Espinosa and the Gutres closer, and they began to eat together in the large dining room” (345). As both stories evolve we see some contrast in the two families even though religion is a constant topic. Both stories have similar meaning to them, but both authors use religion and religious beliefs in different ways. As the two stories come to an end we see that both families lose their perception on what they were focusing on throughout the stories.In “A Gospel According to Mark” the family decides to kill the religious figure that has been teaching them the Gospel.
This has irony because the Bible strictly talks about death and murder, even though the family seems upset about what Espinosa has done to the daughter. The narrator says, “There was no roof on the shed; they had torn down the roof beams to build the Cross” (348). In “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” Elisenda is relieved more than happy when she sees the Old Man fly away.This has irony as well because they used him to make money and benefit in their own life. After they used him, she feels happy that he is gone and is no longer a nuisance. The narrator states, “Elisenda let out a sigh of relief, for herself and him, when she saw him pass over the last houses, holding himself up in some way with the risky flapping of a senile vulture” (357). The conclusion to the stories is religion can be used positively or negatively depending on who the person is and what their intentions are.
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