I responded to Jessica’s first post without reading yours, so it’s amazing to me how we came to similar conclusions but by completely different routes. You read the characters in the story as childlike while I argued that the absence of actual children in the story makes it a commentary on adulthood and keeping your humanity.
Middle school students are (in my opinion) the worst, because they are in this strange limbo between childhood and young adulthood. Comparing the adults in the story to this age group is a great analogy because these characters exhibit attributes of children and adults.
If you’ve ever hung out with elementary school kids, you probably noticed how naturally compassionate most of them are. They don’t really care about difference; younger children play games without consciously discriminating or being cruel. (Not to say that kids can’t be cruel, because they definitely can be, but as a whole there is a lot more compassion from what I’ve noticed). The little child in the story only becomes an important character towards the end, when he interacts with the old man. Once the parents get “used to the smell” of the old man and the chicken coop, the child enter the coop to play. Marquez connects the two characters when “they both came down with the chicken pox at the same time.” Through this interaction, the doctor enters and concludes that the old man is as human as can be, plus the existence of wings.
Why am I connecting all of this? It’s a little bit jumbled, but (connecting back to my response to Jessica) the physical humanness of the old man is revealed when he and the little boy both become sick. “A Tale for Children” can be read in many different ways, and trying to connect my initial thoughts with your blog post, I think we are both onto something. The adults in the story are immature but lacking the compassion that children have-they’ve lost is somewhere in the grotesque, cut-off world they live in. The subtitle of this story is satirical (and a bit sassy) and brings the reader’s attention to the absence of compassion these adults have; children being read or told this poem, because your point about how this story is fantastic as an oral one, would pick up on the clear mistreatment of the old man by the adults and understand that fair treatment is important.