Analysis Of Blindness By Jose Saramago English Literature Essay

It is never easy when people refuse to help and worse still, when people refuse to help without remorse. The refusal to help may also be because others feel helpless and it has nothing to do with the one helping. Society is built on the notion that people will always help each other when the need comes. However, when one is no longer considered part of the society, such help is withdrawn. The two groups in the asylum can be used to justify this notion. In chapter three, the doctor’s wife is awake at night and suddenly hears some one being ejected from the wards of those not yet infected. She hears, “Out, out, Get out, away with you. You cannot stay here” (Saramago 58). These voices had chased out a person who had just been infected with the blindness. The security of the society stems from the fact that each member of the society can help each other and trust each other by ensuring the security of one another. Once the sense of security is lost, society turns against the ones who threaten this security. In this case, the person had become blind thus threatening the others.

Essay on Jose Saramago's Blindness - 1557 Words | …

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Saramago redesigns a traditional literary motif and with signifying formsunique to language and to the novel creates a dialogue between literatureand a visually aesthetic reality and ethically blind world.

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The themes discussed above are worth exploring, especially in classroom settings, but one must be cautious of the rhetorical device used to interrogate the breakdown of humanity and its celebration. If blindness is the signifier, what is the referent? What does it refer to in the world outside the novel? What does Saramago tell readers by using blindness as a signifier? Beyond a commentary about humanity and society, what does it say about blindness?

For more on the interpersonal power dynamics in the novel refer to the essay (url below).
Saramago, J. (1997).  Blindness. (Pontiero, G., Trans.). Orlando: Harcourt books


It is not surprising perhaps, since Saramago seems to use blindness only to tell another story, one about the human condition in general. But again, why choose blindness? Saramago's parable, like so many other literary and cinematic depictions, seems to equate blindness with lack of knowledge. The analogy between "seeing" and "understanding" is one of the oldest ideas in Western philosophy. It is perhaps most clearly illustrated in Plato's parable of the cave. Plato describes a cave where people are seated in such a way that they cannot see the direct light of the fire. Instead, they can see only its distorted shadows upon the wall of the cave (Interestingly, Saramago played with this theme extensively in his recent novel The Cave, 2003).

Jose Saramago shows foreshadowing in his novel Blindness to what could possibly happen in the world.

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When I first read the book, I was drawn into the story by Saramago's unique story telling craftsmanship. With its dearth of punctuation and paragraph breaks, the novel is designed be read in one seating. I was also taken by the novel's embodied moral lesson, designed to make readers reflect on the power of societal structures to shape their lives. Then, I became increasingly uncomfortable with being asked repeatedly by acquaintances and colleagues, "Have you read this new book on blindness?" "This is not a book about blindness," I would reply. "This is a book that uses blindness as a parable about society." "Yes, whatever..., but did you like it?" But it wasn't "whatever" for me. The conflation between disability as a metaphor and as an identity was not so trivial for me.

Durkheim, E. (1997). The division of labor in society. New York: Free Press. (Original work published 1893).

Blindness Jose Saramago essay topic example

As far as new stories, Saramago published the novel As Intermitencias da Morte in 2005. The first line: “The next day no one died.” No word yet on the English title or publication date, but judging from the rate of Blindness and Seeing, it should come out late 2007 or early 2008. This blurb from tells a bit more: