Country of the Blind

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The Country of the Blind, H. G. Wells
TITLEWRITER

DATE OF PUBLICATION ⇒ 1904
SETTINGS place Equador
timedoesn’t say
CHARACTERSmajorNunez, a mountaineer
Yacob, a villager
minorMedina-Saroté, Yacob’s daughter

PLOT
While attempting to summit the unconquered crest of Parascotopetl, a mountain in Ecuador, Nunez falls down the far side of the mountain. At the end of his descent, he finds a valley cut off from the rest of the world. He has discovered the fabled Country of the Blind. The valley had been a haven for settlers escaping from the tyranny of Spanish rulers until an earthquake redesigned the surrounding mountains and cut it off forever from future explorers. The isolated community prospered over the years despite a disease that struck them early on, rendering all new-borns blind. As the blindness slowly spread over the generations, their remaining senses sharpened, and by the time the last sighted villager had died, the community had fully adapted to life without sight. Nunez descends into the valley and finds an unusual village with windowless houses and a network of paths. He realises that he can teach and rule them. But the villagers have no concept of sight and do not understand his attempts to explain this fifth sense to them. Nunez becomes angry but they calm him and he submits to their way of life because returning to the outside world is impossible. Nunez is assigned to work for a villager named Yacob, and becomes attracted to Yacob's youngest daughter, Medina-Saroté. Nunez slowly starts trying to explain sight to her. Medina-Saroté, however, simply dismisses it as his imagination. When Nunez asks to marry, the village elders refuse him because of his obsession with "sight". The village doctor suggests that Nunez's eyes be removed, claiming that they are diseased and are affecting his brain. Nunez reluctantly consents to the operation because of his love for Medina-Saroté. But at sunrise on the day of the operation,...
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