h As Encyclopedia.com says, ¡§Works of magic realism mingle realistic portrayals of ordinary events and characters with elements of fantasy and myth, creating a rich, frequently disquieting world that is at once familiar and dreamlike.¡¨ h Magic realists usually spawn from South American cultures. h Saramago chooses to turn blindness, a common disability, into an airborne disease and has an entire country split away from Europe. Only a magic realist could create such fantastical stories.
h Before the entire society goes blind, people blame the infected for the sudden outbreak even though they do not know the actual cause. Europe believes that it is Spain¡¦s fault for separating when it is really a geographic catastrophe. h There is a proverbial continental separation between those who are blind and those who are not. There is a literal continental separation between Spain and the rest of Europe. h Both novels deal with denial and anger and the psychological results of change. h Like Camus¡¦ The Plague, Saramago uses disease as a way of representing social and political crisis. Both authors emphasize the human response to social catastrophe. However, there is a problem with the representation of historical events by means of a medical model. In this representation, nature displaces the social and replaces it with an image of fate. As a consequence, blindness is defined as a physical condition. h Since Saramago's writings have often been discussed as an example of "magic realism", he can be compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Salman Rushdie. h Blindness is also like Lord of the Flies. The children seem helpless and savage without their parents just as the blind are helpless and savage without their sight.
h ¡§¡KThe doctor took him behind the scanner which anyone with imagination might see as a new version of confessional, eyes replacing words, and the confessor looking directly into the sinner¡¦s soul¡K¡¨(14). Saramago plays on the idea that the eyes are the windows to the soul h ¡§And so, from bed to bed, the news slowly circulated round the ward¡¨(150). The childhood game of ¡§telephone¡¨ is used as a basic survival skill for the blind. h The doctor¡¦s wife asks if ¡§blindness is¡K to live in a world without hope¡¨(145) and later realizes that ¡§we are blind, Blind that see¡¨(292). h The characters are known as "the doctor" or "the old man with the eye patch" (244) ¡V they have no names, but, ironically, only physical descriptions. This paradox, where blind are referred to by visual elements, aids in creating this magic realist irony. h Near the end of the novel, when the blind people are getting their vision back, he has one of his characters remark:" I don't think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not see" (292). This indicates (but does not disclose) the political and philosophical intention of the novel.
Stone Raft Quotes
h ¡§¡KFrom time immemorial, it was believed that when these canine creatures that had always been silent [blind] started to bark [wail], the entire universe was nearing its end¡¨(1). h ¡§The prime minister said, ¡¥our country has been subjected to pressures which, without exaggeration, I consider unacceptable through no fault of ours these developments have exposed the serious internal contradiction in the debates among the governments of Europe to which we no longer belong¡Kas we drift away¡¦¡¨(146). Those on the peninsula are in denial just as some of the blind are in denial in Blindness. h ¡§Pedro Roce measures the dimension of the ocean and at that moment finds it small¡K Pedro does not know if he is man or fish¡¨(167). The change has disillusioned Pedro. h ¡§Maria Guavaira woke up in her bed, a man asleep at her side¡K¡¨(166). Even after the change, people still manage to fulfill their needs. Sexual relations also happen in Blindness, but...
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