A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

Elisenda is Pelayo’s wife. She is ordinary and concerned primarily with getting by. When Pelayo finds the old man in the courtyard, Elisenda is the one who comes up with the idea to charge admission to see the angel, and she’s not contented with their new wealth, even when she and Pelayo make enough money for a new house. In fact, she sees the old man/angel as a nuisance, letting out “a sigh of relief, for her and for him” when he eventually regains his strength enough to fly away. Elisenda shows herself to be shallow: she never shows the angel any respect nor seems particularly bothered about the health of her child. In fact, her happiest moment in the story is probably when the admission money she and Pelayo have accumulated allows her to buy “some satin pumps with high heels and many dresses of iridescent silk, the kind worn on Sunday by the most desirable women in those times.”

Elisenda Quotes in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

The A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings quotes below are all either spoken by Elisenda or refer to Elisenda. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings published in 1984.
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Quotes

He was dressed like a ragpicker. There were only a few faded hairs left on his bald skull and very few teeth in his mouth, and his pitiful condition of a drenched great-grandfather took away any sense of grandeur he might have had. 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. Then they dared speak to him, and he answered in an incomprehensible dialect with a strong sailor’s voice. That was how they skipped over the inconvenience of the wings and quite intelligently concluded that he was a lonely castaway from some foreign ship wrecked by the storm.

Related Characters: The Old Man (the Angel) , Pelayo, Elisenda
Related Symbols: Wings
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
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Elisenda let out a sigh of relief, for herself and for him, when she watched him pass over the last houses, holding himself up in some way with the risky flapping of a senile vulture. She kept watching him even when she was through cutting the onions and she kept on watching until it was no longer possible for her to see him, because then he was no longer an annoyance in her life but an imaginary dot on the horizon of the sea.

Related Characters: The Old Man (the Angel) , Elisenda
Related Symbols: Wings
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:
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Elisenda Character Timeline in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

The timeline below shows where the character Elisenda appears in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Pelayo finds his wife Elisenda and together they examine the man: he’s “dressed like a ragpicker,” nearly bald, with few... (full context)
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Pelayo and Elisenda try to speak to the man, but he responds in an “incomprehensible dialect” with a... (full context)
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Faith, Religion, and Morality Theme Icon
...the angel to death because angels are “fugitive survivors of a celestial conspiracy,” Pelayo and Elisenda don’t “have the heart” for that. Instead, Pelayo carries the club and watches the angel... (full context)
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...few hours later, the sick child’s appetite returns and this good fortune makes Pelayo and Elisenda feel “magnanimous”: they decide that the next day they will put the angel on a... (full context)
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Faith, Religion, and Morality Theme Icon
...the strange angelic creature that troops with bayonets have to come to disperse the crowd. Elisenda, frustrated with cleaning up the trash left by the crowd, has the idea to fence... (full context)
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Faith, Religion, and Morality Theme Icon
...got up at night to undo the things he had done while awake.” Pelayo and Elisenda make a lot of money from charging admission fees: they stuff their rooms full of... (full context)
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Pelayo and Elisenda are not upset that the crowds have died down—they’ve made enough money in that short... (full context)
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Faith, Religion, and Morality Theme Icon
...from room to room in the house “like a stray dying man.” Though Pelayo and Elisenda drive him out of one room, he quickly reappears in another. Elisenda grows exasperated and... (full context)
The Sacred and the Mundane Theme Icon
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
...seems less depressed. He even starts singing sea shanties under the stars. One morning, while Elisenda is cutting onions in the kitchen, she notices the old man making clumsy attempts at... (full context)