Jose Saramago Blindness Essay

Jose Saramago Blindness Essay-54
The government attempts to contain the epidemic by isolating the blind in a vacant mental hospital guarded by soldiers who have orders to shoot anyone who tries to leave.

The government attempts to contain the epidemic by isolating the blind in a vacant mental hospital guarded by soldiers who have orders to shoot anyone who tries to leave.

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The city has degenerated into a chaos of the sightless, where life is brutish and short. In fact, Saramago makes obvious what we all know to be true: that sight, moral and otherwise, is the basis of civilization.

It is a world that is perfectly established by the details that Saramago invokes to suggest lives suddenly gone dark: People can no longer, for instance, find their shoes, or their houses. that gives it its charm and that makes it possible to read of such horrors.

The blind man’s wife takes the unfortunate fellow to an eye doctor, but the doctor is mystified.

Later, the car thief, the doctor, and the patients who were in the doctor’s waiting room at the time of the blind man’s arrival all lose their vision.

For instance, in , when Gregor Samsa wakes up and finds that he is an enormous cockroach, he doesn’t say, ‘My God, look at me, look at these plates and brown things on my chest,’ but, in effect, ‘How the hell am I going to get to work?

’ The trick of all of this, of course, is that when the author refuses to react to his characters’ circumstances, the reader does.After a rebellion against the tyranny of the gang members, a fire breaks out and the internees flee the hospital.The soldiers do not open fire because the soldiers are gone. The doctor’s wife leads a small group, made up of the patients from the waiting room, back to a city in which civilization has collapsed.“It is a dark, appalling world, and by the way it is written, in the details that Saramago uses to such good effect, almost all the horrors of the 20th century are addressed: We are continually reminded of concentration camps, of the excesses of capitalism without the least restraint, of the miseries of bureaucratic aloofness, of militarism and, of course, the endless darkness of the human heart.Ultimately this group of the blind, led by a woman who can still see, is able to escape into the city from which it came.The voice and the details it uses refer not only to past excesses but to current ones, too. with the difference that we are not a few thousand men and women in an immense, unspoiled nature, but thousands of millions in an uprooted, exhausted world.’ “In fact, though, because .For instance, when the band of internees escapes from the camp to live in the city of the blind, Saramago writes, ‘We’re going back to being primitive hordes . The critical difference, I think, is that Saramago depends on irony for his effects, on a tongue-in-cheek send-up of the military or bureaucrats or of any of the other legitimate targets of the 20th century.The nadir occurs when thugs steal food meant for the inmates and then sell it to them.After taking the inmates’ possessions, the thugs extort the services of the camp’s women.By turns ironic, humorous and frank, the voice has a way of making one feel a certain empathy with the author, which is to say between author and reader there is a kind of wink of humor that is perfectly imbued with fury at the excesses of the current century.reminds me of Kafka roaring with laughter as he read his stories to his friends.

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