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Friday, 4 February 2005
Now Playing: RE: what to do with a dead angel 101
Topic: January 2005
Our angel, upon being forced out of the coop, thanks to spiderwoman (see previous entry if you don't know what this means!), is left to drag between rooms in Elisanda and Pelayo's home until it appears to them to be multiplying. The sense of crowdedness leads the couple to think of their home as "that hell full of angels."

Don't you just love the paradoxes of magical realism?

Eventually the angel is allowed to stay in the shed. At some point soon thereafter, E and P are alarmed to discover that the angel is showing signs of fever; they expect an imminent death.

What would you do with a dead angel? I'm not sure what I would do. Committing it to a tomb seems to be taking measures in the wrong direction, but a cremation only calls up images of hellfire, which might satisfy the opinions of the angel's hosts in this story, but which seem catastrophic and immoral to me, a Westerner with a penchant for believing in angels as wholesome and benevolent.

Fortunately for Pelayo and Elisanda, and for the angel too, this is not the outcome it suffers. Once left alone to heal (the townfolk have since grown bored of its presence), the angel grows back its wings and eventually flies away from the earth "with the risky flapping of a senile vulture."

This description is arch and sarcastic. The real vultures were the people who came to see a caged angel, after all. As for its senility, there's little room for this community to preach the morality of craziness.

You can bet Gabo meant every word of this description as a way to characterize society at large. While I generally think of Gabo's narratives as ultimately hopeful, I find his attitude in this story less generous. He seems to be suggesting that society has lost its proper faith, its ability to care selflessly. When Elisanda watches the miracle of the angel's disappearance into the sky, she is relieved, but not for the resurrection of the angel, but for the burden that's been lifted from her shoulders.

Posted by at 12:27 PM PST
Updated: Friday, 4 February 2005 12:51 PM PST
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