1. His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked, were forever entangled in the mud. They looked at him so long and so closely that Pelayo and Elisenda very soon overcame their surprise and in the end found him familiar.

Pelayo and Elisenda’s initial impression of the old man’s wings as the filthy limbs of a scavenger rather than the glorious wings of an angel is a good example of how García Márquez grounds even his most fantastic elements in the grunginess of daily life. The second sentence in particular clues readers in to one of the central elements of magical-realist fiction—reawakening readers’ sense of wonder at their own world. García Márquez suggests that if people can become inured to the presence of a winged man in a story, then they can just as easily overlook the wonders and little miracles of real life. A story such as “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is meant to serve as a reminder that everyday life is filled with great mysteries and wonders that people overlook too often.