Compact that the author sought, between the lines of the text, to build a narrative that could not be summarized only in a dichotomous and closed discourse about what is blindness depicted, how it spreads and what its nuances are.
It is a crushing book of any a priori interpretive expectation, since it is not possible to fit the characters described there only as good or bad, all are all at the same time.
Saramago it uses and abuses resources not only metaphorically, but also blindness and the places – meticulously chosen – through which the story unfolds.
It is not for nothing that they are trapped in an asylum, or that the first blind person loses his sight in a place with too much light – traffic. It is not for nothing that the book is called Test; the author’s expression about the current world and the issues rooted in it are clear.
I look tired and it is always a sacrifice to revisit Essay on Blindness. What always caught my attention was the fact that the book is tiring and without a solution, even if everyone sees it again.
They are blocks and blocks of text grouped into blocks and blocks of pages – no divisions, no recurring periods, no paragraphs, signs, chapters, respect for writing.
The transgressive way in which Saramago puts his ideas on a completely white page, like that of blindness, is to tire; it has that purpose, that’s what I think. And the eyes will read and get tired.
The author’s criticism
I do not know if I am going too far, but it is interesting to reflect that the criticism of the author is exactly this: to be so involved that there is or is no possibility of seeing from a distance, about new perspectives. From seeing so much, we are blinded. We don’t see the next ones, the neighbors, the problems, or the metaphors.
And I bet that many of the people, after the successive “crates” in the sea of whiteness that the book throws at us, did nothing more than just read. At some point, it may become read-only.
It is even said that there is no blindness, but blindness, when the experience of the times has done nothing but tell us that there are no blindnesses, but blindness.
Blindness essay, page 306.
For Saramago himself “it is necessary to leave the island to see the island. We don’t see each other if we don’t get out of ourselves ”. (The tale of the unknown island).
The lack of punctuation in the book Essay on Blindness
The first blind person loses vision on the first pages, when the score is still respected. After being blind, it is as if the author himself began to live in a progressive deterioration of his vision, which makes the book a novel in abandonment.
The reader is the one who is most adrift in the sea of milk. They are people immersed in a world of glories, conquests. Today, with social networks and, it gets worse.
Their blindness is excess, it means finding more values in themselves than in the world and, therefore, refusing to agree with the progress of simple things. White blindness is a representation of us all immersed in the vanity tub.
But there is no way out. After all the torture of the sight when reading, imagining himself as a character and already being blind outside the pages, with the book in hand, the wretch of the author proposes absolutely nothing. And then the affirmation of the readers being abandoned is confirmed.
Nobody has a name
It is a drowning tour that only makes you more brooding. Nobody has a name in the work. Nobody has a chance. They see again, but so what? Hope is broken in every word within that novel.
“Blindness is a private matter between the person and the eyes he was born with”, page 39. Playing another “trick” to hide what, even without eyes, one can notice, Saramago plays in our face, ironically, that, at least on the contrary, blindness is social.
The moment they pick up the doctor at home and the woman discovers that she is not going with them, she pretends to be blind and clings to her spouse. She’s smarter, notices more. It is curious to think that she, the only one to pretend she was blind, did not blind. Like someone who knows he knows he doesn’t see before he even stops capturing the world’s information.
On page 60, Saramago reaffirms his literary debauchery and writes that “It would be horrible, a whole world of blind people, I don’t even want to imagine.” The statement on page 52 demonstrates that “they seemed to see and did not see”. I say the characters in third person, but it is understood that they are us, it is you, it is me.
A parallel with our days
It is as if all the characters and we have a sun within ourselves and that, by the resplendence of continued glory, we are blinded by the intensity of our futile achievements.
And this can be confirmed with the excerpt “For these, blindness was not to live banally surrounded by darkness, but within a luminous glory”, page 94.
What Saramago, I believe, proposes with the book itself is not just making people with eyes. It is, above all, to question what it is to look, what it is to have a view.
With the acid irony and genius of reconstructing a realistic dystopian world, he first blinds us, to then show what good it is to see. It lowers the world of the successful and glorious to the most humiliating surroundings, and gives us an idea of what we really are: animals.
Without the “I’m the best” cap that we apply to each other, what we have left is a blind, impure and childish bestiality. Making people see has eyes is part of the author’s goal, the rest, honestly, I don’t understand. It is beyond my sight.
If we are active people from the cities and it can be read, we write it too. This is what the Communication and Literature course has taught me so far.
It is beautiful to think that we can all walk through political and literary places without even touching. And it is more beautiful to idealize that we are all walking poetry, adding a little to the narrative of the city. But what if we, in all our splendor, were only disease-causing agents?
In the city marked by discontinuity, I declare: we are blindness and we remove from the eyes of the world everything that should be seen.
I think we are not blind, I think we are blind, Blind who see, Blind who, seeing, do not see.
Blindness essay, page 310.
By Gustavo Magalhães – Speak! PUC RIO