A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

The Spider Woman Character Analysis

This minor character has the body of a (very large) tarantula and the head of a fair maiden. She has a simple tale to tell of family tragedy, and because the townspeople recognize themselves in her more than in the angel, she becomes by far the more popular attraction in town. Even though she is physically less humanlike than the angel, her moral tale is easily digestible: “A spectacle like that, full of so much human truth and with such a fearful lesson, was bound to defeat without even trying that of a haughty angel who scarcely deigned to look at mortals.” This shows that the townspeople prefer what is familiar but outwardly exotic (the spider woman) to what is truly otherworldly and mysterious (the angel).

The Spider Woman Quotes in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

The A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings quotes below are all either spoken by The Spider Woman or refer to The Spider Woman . 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

A spectacle like that, full of so much human truth and with such a fearful lesson, was bound to defeat without even trying that of a haughty angel who scarcely deigned to look at mortals. Besides, the few miracles attributed to the angel showed a certain mental disorder, like the blind man who didn’t recover his sight but grew three new teeth, or the paralytic who didn’t get to walk but almost won the lottery, and the leper whose sores sprouted sunflowers. Those consolation miracles, which were more like mocking fun, had already ruined the angel’s reputation when the woman who had been changed into a spider finally crushed him completely.

Page Number: 222
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Spider Woman Character Timeline in A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings

The timeline below shows where the character The Spider Woman 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
Around this time, a spectacular new carnival attraction arrives in town: a woman who has been changed into a spider . She still has her normal head, but her body is that of a ram-sized... (full context)
Patience, Empathy, and Cruelty Theme Icon
Faith, Religion, and Morality Theme Icon
...leper sprout sunflowers. Between the townspeople’s annoyance at the angel and their distraction by the spider-woman, they stop paying much attention to the winged old man. At long last, Father Gonzaga... (full context)