- What are some of the different ways that people react to the "old man" and how is the old man characterized?
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The two major supernatural occurrences in the story are the old man with wings and the girl who has been turned into a spider. The people in the story treat the old man as an oddity, but not as a supernatural oddity: more a freak of nature than something beyond nature. The old man appears to be nothing more than a frail human with wings, and so his status as an angel is endlessly debated. Father Gonzaga thinks that he cannot be an angel because he lacks dignity and splendor. Of course this begs the question of whether the angel lacks dignity intrinsically, or whether he lacks dignity because of the way he is treated - cooped up in a chicken cage. Perhaps it is the people who lack dignity, not the old man. The old man's other supernatural characteristic - his incredible patience in the face of his treatment - does not make much of an impression on the majority of the people, who are happy to exploit him until bored with him.