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100 Book Challenge: # 74 Blindness | Culture


02 March 2018

Portuguese writer and poet, playwright and translator, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Jose Saramago even during his lifetime managed to annoy the religious community with his novels. For example, he angered the Vatican with his anti-clerical attacks in the book "Memories of the Monastery," and for the "Gospel of Jesus" in general was accused of blasphemy and blasphemy. Nevertheless, religious themes often play a key role in his works, which became world bestsellers. Roman "Blindness" was published in 1995, and in 2008 – Fernando Meirellis presented a screen version of Julian Moura in the title role.

# 74: Blindness / Ensaio sobre a Cegueira

Honestly, I'm not a fan of the post-apocalyptic genre, because I'm not particularly interested in reading how our world is rolling into the tartaras. Anti-utopias are more curious, because there are proposed other forms of government. And then the development of the plot is always about the same. But the plot in the novel of the Portuguese Jose Saramago still with a twist. At first glance, another sudden epidemic is threatening the city, threatening all of humanity, with all the ensuing consequences (quarantine, isolation, disturbance of public order, etc.), where total chaos becomes apogee. Usually the essence of the epidemic is secondary. Whether it's a zombie, an approaching meteorite or global warming – still the result is a priori predetermined. What I like about Saramago is that he deprived all the characters of vision, except for the doctor's wife, so you can observe the adaptation of the new-born blindness, but also her eyes to look at the situation from the outside. In addition, the author sated his parable with philosophical thought, which he gradually developed:

"The eyes are the only part of the body where, perhaps, the soul is still alive."

And indeed, once people lost sight, they ceased to be
like reasonable adequate people. Unfortunately, I first saw the film adaptation of the book, so the main twists and turns of the story line were known to me in advance, which significantly reduced my level of empathy for the main characters. Nevertheless, violence and cruelty, terrible conditions in quarantine under the sights of the military, real internecine wars for a small fraction of food cause emotional resonance. We want to believe that in evolutionary development we are always at the highest level, but here it turns out that animals have more compassion for their fellow human beings than for people like themselves. In metaphorical terms, blindness is expressed in indifference. This moment Saramago identifies in the behavior of the guardians of order, who are given the order to act according to the statute, without interfering even in the event of a fire. In general, the morality of the parable is obvious.

But I can not help but note that I do not like this book. First, the awful structure of the text. Continuous paragraphs with indirect speech are learned much worse than the form of dialogues. The absence of names like it should depersonalize the characters, making history universal for any time and people. But these self-repetitions terribly strained and made the text even more monotonous. Secondly, the abundance of all sorts of sayings and jokes increases the moral tone of the author even more. Thirdly, I did not like the smell. And then I do not mean antisanitary, namely, religious perfume. Well, if you suddenly did not realize that the doctor's wife is straight forward the new Jesus Christ leading his flock along the path of the righteous, there will be another episode in the church and a symbolic culmination. This is so that you look clearly, in what understanding and care the inhabitants of the first chamber live and what horror is created with the rest of the sinners. The religion is too deliberate for religion. I think this is an insolent deception of readers who are waiting for post-apocalyptic music in the genre, and in the end they will receive a brainwashing on a religious topic. Therefore, my brain flatly refused to perceive what was described as reality. Just another parable about how to live right.


If we can not live at all like people, we will try to live not quite like animals.

* * *

The door handle is the hand of the house stretched out for greeting.

* * *

If I am sincere today, what do I care, that tomorrow I will repent.

* * *

Surely, he is worse than a blind man who does not want to see.

* * *

That's from what substance we all are – from indifference in half with meanness …

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100 Book Challenge: # 74 Blindness | Culture

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