Blindness

Josť Saramago
Blindness Cover

Blindness

spectru
4/19/2014
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Blindness was a disappointment. Jose Saramago won the Nobel prize for literature shortly after writing Blindness, but obviously the Nobel committee had not read it yet.

None of the characters are named. The blind have no need for names. Just as their names remain unknown, their characters are never developed. The story is a simple one: Everybody goes blind, not all at once but over a period of days. Initially, the government over-reacts and quarantines all the blind people, with threats of being shot to death if they show any sign of trying to escape their imprisonment. After suffering unspeakable indignities a group of blind people leave their place of imprisonment without incident because everybody, including the soldiers who would have shot them, is blind. They find their way home, regain their sight and everybody lives happily ever after.

Saramago chose not to name his characters. They had labels such as The Girl With Dark Glasses, The Old Man With The Black Eye Patch, The Doctor's Wife, and so forth. This namelessness failed as a literary device for it inhibited our getting to know the characters. They remain anonymous throughout; sightless, nameless, without personalities.