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Blindness Intro

Prior to reading the novel, an overview of the text
by

Julie Hanson

on 25 February 2014

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Transcript of Blindness Intro

Blindness by Jose Saramago
The greatest obstacle humans face is their own nature.
Jose Saramago (1922-2010)
-Portuguese writer
-Grew up poor, abandoned academics due to finances
-Part of the illegal Communist Party in Portugal
-Received widespread acclaim at the age of 60
-Winner of Nobel Prize for Literature (after writing Blindness)

Style - proceed w/ caution
Saramago wants us to experience the same disorientation that his characters do.
Essential Questions:
Part 1 - What becomes of humans when they degenerate into lawlessness and only focus on necessity?
Part 2 - Does the situation cause us to return to our primal selves and, thus, act like savages, or does it merely expose the evil that has been within us all along?
Overview
-A horrific novel, allegorical in nature, detailing the complete breakdown of a society that follows upon a totally unnatural disaster
-Characters learn to live in inexpressible filth, committing acts of both unspeakable violence and amazing generosity that would have been unimaginable to them before the tragedy
Thematic Subjects:
1. Civilization vs. savagery
2. Intricacies of relationships
3. Reaction to government/society in crisis
4. Nature of social organization
5. Cost of human dignity and value of life
"Perhaps only in a world of the blind will things be what they truly are."
Saramago asks us to consider...
What if the natural order of law and customs of civilized life, as we know it, were upset by an unexplainable happening? What would happen? How would we react?
He explores two common convictions we hold in relationship to this question:
-The human spirit WILL survive
-Right and wrong are clearly defined
So what will you find?
-Prose with minimal punctuation but includes many clauses and commas
-Tense/subjects often fluctuate
-Glides between 1st and 3rd person
-Wry objectivity + Stream of consciousness
-No quotation marks to define dialogue
-Abandons use of proper nouns
Full transcript