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A Comparison of the Magic in
"The Rocking-Horse Winner" and "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings"
Magic arises out of the two main characters of D.H. Lawrence's "The Rocking-Horse Winner" and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Paul, in the first story, pulls out higher forces to help him decide who the winner of the next horse race will be. In the Marquez story, a nameless and elderly angel lands on earth to experience first hand the human behavior he strives to correct. The magic in the air gives these stories a feeling of suspense. They are horrifying, if not in the Stephen King horror genre. These tales encompass an undeniable amount of magic, faith, greed, vindication and misunderstanding.
Pelayo and Elisenda, in the Garcia Marquez yarn, find the soul retriever on his way to take their child to heaven, or so it is thought. The magical angel's identity had to be discovered by a neighbor of the couple because they didn't think that an angel could wind up on their land. Who would think of an angel landing? Meanwhile, Paul doesn't show when he discovers the magical power of the rocking horse he received as a gift one year. He does ride it often as Lawrence describes. The stories are bound by the fact that the magical things they discover are unbelievable at best. They often criticize Paul for his affection for a horse he should have outgrown long ago. No one would believe that the rocking-horse essentially talked to him. Although the characters in "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" believe that an angel is in their presence, they have no idea what to do with him. No one had ever dealt with a spirit on this level before.
As he rocked back and forth on his rocking horse, Paul had faith in finding the winner of the next horse race. For some reason they could not explain, Paul's uncle and Bassett had faith in him to pick it. They kept making money on the young boy with faith. The boy, whose parents had no luck, also had the faith that they did not have. Sadly, his faith killed him. He wanted so much to rid the house of the voices he heard that he drove himself to death from the intense pressure he placed upon himself. When he died, he killed the voices as the spiritual world claimed the only member of the family with luck.
"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" shows that the people in this small fan can have some level of faith without directly showing it. Although Pelayo and Elisenda lock up the angel to display him, they still believe he is an angel and cannot kill him when another offers this. They don't have the heart to club the old man to death, though he may be an inconvenience at first. Father Gonzaga doesn't necessarily believe in the angel, but the townspeople and tourists do. They wish for things even when others before them don't have their miracles exactly met.
It is hinted in the Lawrence story that Paul may have lived if he hadn't been so greedy. He wasn't full of greed like his parents, but the mysterious voices of the house drove him to greed to rid the house of them. To start with, Mother and Father in this modern fairy tale are downright rapacious. Mother has an especially insatiable wallet. Although her husband makes good money, she must have the finer things in life such as servants and the like. They pass on the ever present desire for more materialistic items to Paul. He wants to gain the love of his mother and decides that using his luck to earn money is the way to do it.
It is the greed of Pelayo and Elisenda that wind up saving the life of the elderly angel. They give him a chance to rest and start anew by the couple putting him on display as a sort of circus freak. Sadly enough this translates over to modern sitings of crucifix marked men. Many religious fanatics have to travel wide and far to see proof of their faith just like in the story. The fact that the poor couple makes money
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Angel, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, The Rocking-Horse Winner, Greed, Warren Worthington III, Luck, Death
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