systems of order in the manner of Thomas Hobbes? No matter what his intention, the metaphor of blindness has a real referent. Princeton: Princeton University Press. If so an allegory of what? Or on a more positive note, is the tiny group of 7 the hopeful core that even in such catastrophic circumstances would maintain humanity and re-create a safer environment? What is this odd book of Jose Saramago? With a large number of people going blind quickly and with no apparent cause, public health officials panic and the blind are interned in a former mental hospital to protect the population from infection. I suspected I may have had a weak Saramago novel in my hand. This one, however, plays no central as the dog in The Stone Raft.
I began to wonder - how in the world can he sustain an entire moderately long novel as the story of this blind guy. Like Camus, Saramago uses disease as a way of representing social and political crisis. It allows too many interpretations. As the narrative of Blindness progresses, the conditions of the blind continue to get worse.
This view would harmonize with the direction one finds in other Saramago novels especially The Stone Raft and The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, perhaps even of The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis. Saramago uses a"tion from the Book of Exhortations as the epigram to Blindness: "If you can see, look. Blind people roam the streets looking for food and shelter. Saramago writes as if his metaphorical depiction of misfortune and catastrophe could somehow be innocent of the cultural meanings that are routinely associated with visual impairment. In my day-dreaming imaginings I never went so far as to even dare to consider the inner changes in my person or the other survivors around. The problem the reader is faced with is what to make of the metaphorical illness, the social catastrophe, and the miraculous recovery.
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