Response #3

Andrea Gramajo

Prof. Steven Alvarez

English 363: Experimental Hispanic Literatures

16 October 2011

Psychonarration: The Representation of the Priests’ First Impression of the Angel in Gabriel García Márquez’s short story, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

        Gabriel García Márquez is a fan of confusing and using psychological perplexities in order to mystify his audience. In García Márquez’s, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, he introduces an angel that has fallen from the sky and landed inside Pelayo and Elisenda’s courtyard. Confounded by the news, Father Gonzaga, the village priest arrives to see what the commotion is about and to resolve the disturbance. In Jahn’s Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative, Jahn argues that a character can express his/hers thoughts through,

“Psychonarration: The textual representation of a character’s conscious or unconscious mental states and processes, mainly by using forms of ‘narrative report of discourse’ or ‘narrated perception’” (Jahn N4.9).

Narrative report discourse, which is a “narrator’s summarizing report of a character’s words or thoughts” (Jahn N8.7) and narrated perception, “The textual representation of a character’s perception…” (Jahn N8.11) are used by the narrator in order to communicate the characters feelings. For example, García Márquez writes,

“Alien to the impertinences of the world, he (the angel) only lifted his antiquarian eyes and murmured something in his dialect when Father Gonzaga went into the chicken coop and said good morning to him in Latin. The parish priest has had his first suspicion of an imposter when he saw that he did not understand the language of God or know how to greet His ministers. Then he noticed that seen up close he was much too human: he had an unbearable smell of the outdoors, the back had been mistreated by terrestrial winds, and nothing about him measured up to the proud dignity of angels” (García Márquez 219).

In this quotation, we see how García Márquez uses pychonarration to embody the priests’ visual sense of the angel, and it also represents the priests’ ideals on how an angel should act and react to a figure of godliness, which is the way in which the priest views himself; this is satirical because it’s as if the priest believes that he and the angel are somehow on the same sacred level. This quotation is also a good example of psychonarration because García Márquez does not use quotation marks to show that the character is speaking, instead the audience knows that the descriptions put forth by the priest are brought on by what he is experiencing in that particular moment.


Works Cited

Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” 28 May 2005. Web.  18 October 2011. <http://www.uni\>.

Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” Trans.                 Gregory\Rabassa and J.S. Bernstein. Collected Stories. Harper Perennial. 217-225. Print.


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1 Response to Response #3

  1. salvarez says:


    Nice job with that title, it looks much better. Still, I have a couple suggestions. You wrote:

    Psychonarration: The Representation of the Priests’ First Impression of the Angel in Gabriel García Márquez’s short story, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

    First: you don’t need “short story” or the comma, and remember short stories have quotation marks around them, novels get italics. Also I think I might switch the order around, my suggestion is this:

    First Impressions of Angels: The Representation of Priestly Psychonarration in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”.

    This way I moved the technical term to the second part, because that’s the critical lens you’ll be applying.

    I’m glad to see you thinking about the interdisciplinary approaches to narrative. Actually, narrative and psychology go together quite well, especially when thinking about case studies and experiments. Sometimes in methods as well, especially when subjects offer their life stories.

    I see here two PIE paragraphs though, or two smashed together. You have the P and I for Jahn then the IE for Garcia Marquez (but you still need some more E). Also I see some of that “to be” business mentioned in class the other day. I’ll be taking off points for that in the next few responses, and in your final essay.

    That’s a good point about the priest speaking Latin and the angel not knowing the language. This confirms the priest’s speculations about the angel being sent from God. There are various places in these short stories where Garcia Marquez parodies religious miracle narratives. He gives a strong critique of institutionalized relgions when he does this.

    Check the MLA format on Purdue OWL for using block quotes. No quotation marks.

    You have to use both Garcia Marquez’s last names for the MLA, so the alphabetical needs to change herre in your works cited: Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. Also don’t forget the accents in his last name. Other than that, you had everything else perfect. Great job with that, but perfect MLA is an ongoing battle for everyone, myself included.

    You should start thinking about what narratology ideas interest you the most so far, and see ideas that link between books. Look back to your blogs as well for ideas. Soon you’ll have to start looking for paper topics. I recommend checking out the term “psychonarration” on JSTOR and seeing what kinds of articles pop up. You could try google scholar as well.

    4.5 out of 5 points.

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