Introduction  

The Prophet’s Hair and A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings are fairy tales written at the close of 19th century. Both stories focus on two motivations of human beings, which include money and religion. In both stories, characters can be distinguished among those who consider money as their deity and those that take religion seriously. A key factor that qualifies these two stories as modern fairy tales is the fact that they both inculcate religion and money, which are an essential component in the 20th century. For instance, in Gabriel Marquez’s story, we notice how an extremely old man who is considered an angel by some draws myriad people to Pelayo’s house, which motivates them to start charging a fee for those interested to view the stranger. Salman Rushdie’s story depicts as more successful as there is a clear distinction of the characters in terms of what motivates them.

This essay explicates how The Prophet’s Hair and A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings can be considered as modern fairy tales. The essay concludes by qualifying one of the stories as more successful.

Firstly, the two stories can be considered as modern fairy tales because they incorporate fairies that are significant in the modern world. For instance, Gabriel Marquez story introduces an extremely old man that Pelayo’s neighbor considers as angel. Since the neighbor is deemed as intelligent, helpful, and wise, Pelayo and Elisenda decide to believe when The Neighbor asserts that the old man is an angel. The Spider Woman who was once a troublemaker before she was transformed to a Tarantula also contributes to the story as modern fairy tale. On the other hand, The prophet’s Hair qualifies as a modern fairy tale through its reference to religion and specifically Prophet Muhammad. There is also mention of the Prophet’s Hair that cures people of their misfortunes. In the story, there are several religious overtones in reference to Prophet Muhammad. In the contemporary world, we have different religions that subscribe to angels and those that align with prophets; thus, qualifies these two stories as modern fairy tales.

Secondly, the depiction of the extent that people can go to earn money in the two stories qualifies them as modern fairy tales. For instance, in A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, we realize that Elisenda comes up with the idea of charging people who are curious to get a glimpse of the fairy. On the other hand, Pelayo consents without any objections as he realized the profit they will derive from the business. In Rushdie’s short story, Sin who is a thief goes to the extent of crippling his son’s so that they could earn money from the city dwellers. It is absurd to learn that Sin’s family is the only one that is depicted to be pious in the story, but they still use unscrupulous means to benefit. The crippling of the sons in order to earn sustenance and caging of the old man in Gabriel’s story qualifies the two stories as modern fairy tales as such activities take place in the modern society.

Thirdly, the belief system denoted in the two stories qualifies them as modern fairy tales. In The Prophet’s Hair, we realize that Sins’ four sons and his wife are healed eventually from the ailments that they have struggled with for the better part of their lives. They are healed because they maintained their faith on Prophet Muhammad, and so, by touching the hair, they became healed. On the other hand, in the story A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Elisenda and Pelawayo’s neighbor beliefs in angels and that is why The Neighbor asserts that the old man is an angel who had come to take the latter’s son to heaven. It can be concluded that the son was healed because of the neighbor’s belief because in the story we realize that the child played with the old man occasionally, which proved his good health. Thus, this can be compared to the contemporary society where people believe in supreme beings that heal them. This qualifies the two stories as modern fairy tales.

From the two stories, it can be alleged that The Prophet’s Hair is more successful due to the way the author effectively categorized the characters among those that are devoted to cash and those that believe in religion. Thus, at the end of the story, Rushdie employs the use of The Hair in explicating the religion and money theory and the consequences it had on the characters. For instance, we realize that Hashim and his family who were initially devoted on cash consequently died. “Sin” died from gunshots because of his trust in money. On the other hand, “Sins” wife and four sons who are depicted as more devout throughout the story have a happy conclusion because they are healed of their lifelong ailments. Thus, we can conclude that The Prophet’s Hair is more successful through Rushdie’s employment of the motivation factor, which has been depicted as fatal.

In conclusion, several things have qualified the two stories, as been modern fairy tales. These include the people’s belief systems, the extent that the characters can go to get money, and incorporation of fairies that are significant in the contemporary world qualifies the two stories as fairies. However, Salman Rushdie’s The Prophet’s Hair is more successful because of the effectiveness that Rushdie employs in distinguishing the characters between those that are devout on religion and those that worship money. He succeeds through using the hair to show the fate of those that worshipped money and those that were religiously devout.

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