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Blindness

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s Nobel Prize winner for Literature, José Saramoga, has, with his astonishing and superb story Blindness , written one of the finest European novels of the last 20 or 30 years. And the humiliation of being exploited as an object without individual value is not diminished in blindness.

If she conceals her advantage, she can not communicate to others the bad shit that's taking place all around them. I actually found it incredibly effective in creating the air of blind panic that Saramago clearly wanted to impart. There is only one ‘real’ blind person, someone who was already blind even before the pandemic, but he is one of the bad guys. José Saramago’s Blindness can be viewed as an allegory for a world where we see but in fact neglect what is around us.Panicked, the government throws the affected into a disused asylum where gang warfare breaks out a la Lord of the Flies with one group of internees hoarding the food and holding the remaining internees to ransom first for their possessions and then for their women. An absorbing tale of murder, intrigue and revenge, this debut historical novel depicts Brazil under Portuguese colonial rule as a hotbed of vice, corruption and misery.

Weaving together memories of his Portuguese childhood, Nobel Prize–winner Saramago (1922–2010) presents a lyrical portrait of the artist as a young man. When it's every man by himself, when every man is free to do whatever he wants without the impending fear of recognition and judgement, we start to feel - I was going to say see - what the man's true nature is and the crumbling down of a civilization diseased with selfishness, intolerance and ambition, to name just few symptoms.A good belt or a pair of shoes or a glass of water or a sandwich are the only things of any real value anymore. The latter, out of prudence, pretends blindness, and only her husband, an ophthalmologist, is aware of this happy anomaly of fate. The book focuses on the life of a few "patients" locked and guarded into a mental institution, among who lives the only person immune to blindness. As more soldiers go blind fears become reality and in one such moment of desperation the soldiers fire into the crowd of blind people. Fortunately, the altruistic behavior and intelligence of the doctor's wife somewhat attenuate the surrounding darkness!

A huge body of work followed, which included plays, poetry, short stories, non-fiction and over a dozen novels, translated into more than forty languages, and in 1998 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.For his torturing novel, for his fearlessness in going deep and telling a brutal and violent story that makes us wonder, as Virginia Woolf greatly put it, "Why, one asked oneself, does one take all these pains for the human race to go on? Hers read like lines in a “B” (at best) grade movie: “We are already half dead, said the doctor, We are still half alive too, answered his wife,” “The woman I was then wouldn’t have said it, I agree, the person who said it was the woman I am today, Let’s see then what the woman you will be tomorrow will have to say…” and “it is his duty to follow her, one never knows when one might have to dry more tears. The military refuses to allow basic medicine to be delivered, which ensures that a simple infection becomes deadly.

It is not long, however, before an epidemic of the new blindness causes the government to act in the most authoritarian and fearful of ways, throwing many of the recently disabled into a mental asylum, guarded by scared, trigger-happy soldiers, left to fend for themselves. Before we know, we are immersed in the horrifying surreal world of hopelessness, filth, violence, and hate, where the true enemy is not their affliction but people themselves, which we can see through the eyes of the only person who appears immune to blindness.Deprived of the sense of seeing, the characters have to cope with brutal bestiality and suffering to survive in a world limited by the loss of vision - an accurate symbol for overview, control, and objective judgement of reality. We witness perhaps all possible horrendous and grisly acts of humanity, unfortunately as we are not blind, our eyeballs move as swiftly they could to watch murder, thefts and rapes; tears may flow down as a stream of water from those but perhaps our own shame keeps them withhold. After the first blind man was struck blind in traffic, a car thief brought him home and, subsequently stole his car.

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