A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings – Project

As we wrap up our reading of Marquez’s short story and work towards a deeper understand of the characters and theme of this story, you will be working individually and in groups on a project.

For this project you will be in groups of 4 or 5 in class, and each of you will choose one of the characters from below:

  • The Old Man/Angel
  • The Spider Lady/Circus
  • The Townspeople
  • Peylao/Elisenda

For your characters you will need to create a visual aid, and provide the answers to the following questions in detailed, complete sentences.

  1. Did Márquez want the reader to like this character? What emotions did he want us to feel in response to their actions or their treatment?
  2. What were their relationships and interactions like with the other characters? Describe their relationships or the impact they had on at least one other specific character.
  3. What is one way that this character is representative of magical realism?
  4. What greater significance do you think this character might have? In other words, what do you think Márquez was using them to represent, beyond the story, in the real world?

Then, as a group, you will need to:

  • Reflect on these character studies and the roles each character played. Write down one theme
    statement (either your own, or one from class) that you think these characters are clearly used to convey.
  • Explain what connections can we draw between these characters and this theme? Specifically, how do these
    characters help portray the theme you chose?

You will present your individual character project and your group theme in class Wednesday, October 21st.

Click here for the project assignment sheet.

Remember, this is a chance to be creative with your visual aid! Some students are doing a movie or play poster, some are creating a powerpoint-  others are dressing up as their character, while others are making a shoebox diorama, and still others are making puppets or 3D models. Remember – BE CREATIVE! See images below of some creative ideas you can use…

Puppets of Pelayo and Elisenda:

Puppets of Pelayo and Elisenda:

Puppet of Elisenda:

Puppet of Elisenda:


A drawing of the Spider Lady at the carnival.


Construction paper circus tent for the spider lady…this fits over an open show box, and the spider lady is inside.


Student dressed up as the spider lady – poster board with a web and spider body drawn on it, and a hole cut in the middle for her to fit her head through.

4 Spidora - vintage photo 3

Box with a web and spider set up in it – a photograph of a girl’s face taped to the spider’s body.


Drawing of a towns person visiting the angel in the chickencoop.


Poster for a play, featuring the Angel.


Collage from magazine clippings of the angel in the chicken cage.


Drawing of the spider lady.

10th Grade Literature Fall 2015 Fall 2015

Spotlight on Historical Context – Footbinding

After you read the poetry of Chinese activities Ch’ui Chin last week, many of you in class decided that you wanted to write your extended response over how Chin used imagery in her poems to protest the Chinese practice of footbinding. I thought I would post a little information for those of you that were interested in learning a little more about this ancient and taboo Chinese custom.

596441-001Foot binding (also known as “lotus feet”) was the custom of applying painfully tight binding to the feet of young girls to prevent further growth. The practice possibly originated among upper-class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in Imperial China (10th or 11th century), then became popular during the Song dynasty and eventually spread to all social classes. Foot binding became popular as a means of displaying status (women from wealthy families, who did not need their feet to work, could afford to have them bound) and was correspondingly adopted as a symbol of beauty in Chinese culture. Its prevalence and practice however varied in different parts of the country.

The Manchu Kangxi Emperor tried to ban foot binding in 1664 but failed. In the later part of the 19th century, Chinese reformers challenged the practice but it was not until the early 20th century that foot binding began to die out as a result of anti-foot binding campaigns. Foot-binding resulted in lifelong disabilities for most of its subjects, and a few elderly Chinese women still survive today with disabilities related to their bound feet.

Click here to listen to a very interesting podcast that details the history of foot binding, as well as the procedure and when it was outlawed. 

According to some news organization, foot binding has recently made a come-back in China, with modern girls choosing to have their foot broken and bound in the traditional ‘lotus foot’.

Click here to read a 2014 article about modern foot binding resurgence.

Remember, this isn’t information for a test or quiz – I just appreciated how interested so many of you were in learning more about this historical custom, and wanted to point you in the direction of more information! 🙂

10th Grade Literature Fall 2015 Fall 2015