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Blindness by Jose Saramago

Free «Blindness by Jose Saramago» Essay Sample

A world well-known Portuguese writer Jose Saramago is not only considered as a talented author of such novels like Death with Interruptions and The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, he is also a well-known author for his awards in literature including the Nobel Prize. During his literature career, Jose Saramago was highly criticized by Portuguese government and came in conflict with Catholic Church for his works and especially for his novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. Still even after his death, Saramago stays one of the most influential persons in Portuguese literature.

Blindness, or as it is called in its original language, Portuguese, Ensaio sobre a cegueira, is considered as one of the most famous Saramago’s works along with The Gospel According to Jesus Christ. As in some of the other author’s works, the epidemic of blindness in this novel takes on the global scale. In the unknown city, it affects almost everyone. The story of Blindness mostly centres readers’ attention on several characters, the ones who were first affected. Several people including the doctor, his wife and some patients were gathered together by chance and made altogether under the circumstances of the epidemic a sort of a family. The unexplained terrible epidemic of blindness caused huge panic in the society. Moreover, one by one the soldier from the army, which was called by the city’s government, also got infected. The simple unknown epidemic of blindness in the terror of panic became deadly. Members of different families could not find each other, friends could not find friends, and moreover, they could not find the means of survival. Strolling from building to building, people were trying to find at least some food. However, the whole action in this story is centred on the so-called new family with the doctor, his wife, who is still able to see while others are infected, and his patients. Like most of Jose Saramago’s works, Blindness is full of long sentences mainly in the style of monologues. There are no names in the novel; everyone is described by some objectives that are identified by simply people’s actions. The city, as in almost every Saramago’s work, is unknown and even unnamed. However, some critics have hints that in his novels, Saramago describes different cities of Portugal. In Blindness, Saramago reveals his readers all human traits, and these high feelings like the real meaning of love, loyalty, bravery and cowardice, happiness and grief, disappointments and pride. Being in the circumstances of the unknown epidemic, Saramago is trying to bring his readers both the worst and the best traits of human nature. Moreover, there is a note of heroism in this novel, because it is as if one saved everyone. The doctor’s wife, as it was mentioned previously, remained not only with her sight, but also used her advantage in helping her “family”. She can easily find food and water, while everyone is going mad and blind in panic. Saramago showed us how people with losing their physical ability to see are also losing their ability to think clearly and are losing their sanity. However, there is so much more about this novel than just the story itself. The style that Saramago used in his Blindness is the exact features that differ this novel from all his other works. To somehow punctuate his sentences and certain periods, Saramago is using many commas. With the writing style which the author used in Blindness one always knows who is talking at this certain moment, even though the author does not use proper names during the whole story. There are no quotation marks or any other signs that could identify what the author is using in a certain sentence. From the first sight, the whole narration could seem like some mess, but with commas, periods, and capitals where it is needed, it is understood why the narration goes this way. The places are always unknown and the persons are always unnamed. Everything in Blindness has its secrecy and allegory. Almost all novels written by Jose Saramago seem like the author’s own experiments, and each of them is different from the other. For the ones who are getting to read Saramago’s work for the first time, the style of his novel could even seem a bit scary. The picture of chaos that the writer used in his Blindness perfectly fits the story. Jose Saramago has the kind of talent to make his stories scary and nightmarish that perfectly allows his readers to feel the whole darkness and inevitability of the situation in the city. For instance in the novel, once the disease of blindness became an epidemic, the government decided to sent all infected people to some empty sanctuary, where they are left strolling around the place all alone. While Saramago’s style could be quite confusing, in the middle of the story you will understand what is happening, where and with whom it is happening. With long sentences, direct and indirect speech, and using many proverbs, Saramago is trying to stress on the tragic character of the whole situation and the effect of this unexpected epidemic.

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While reading the novels written by Jose Saramago, one can honestly say that this writer is a genius in his style and writing career. The race, allegory and themes of every his novel again and again prove readers that despite any critics or despise from the government or church, Saramago will always stay as one of the most remarkable writers in the world’s literature.

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