Blindness is a serious book written by a serious novelist who has always taken his job seriously. The novel's rich texture lends itself to study the work thematically from several perspectives.
Blindness can be considered a critique of social norms in our modern world. In this respect, it also points out the shortcomings of technology as well as the inadequacy of human knowledge when it comes to the simple question of addressing mankind's basic needs. As already discussed in the previous section, this novel discusses fundamental problems in life such as hunger and disease—this is ironic because Saramago examines a civilization with complicated networks developed over centuries, yet one that is incapable of meeting the most basic needs when disaster strikes. In fact, the horrifying mental asylum in which the blind have to live is a replica of our present-day prisons. The horror mainly arises, however, from the fact that eventually, when blindness—figuratively, ignorance—becomes widespread, there is no distinction between the blind, gloomy world of the inmates and that of ordinary people outside.
The novel can also be seen as a political commentary on the futility of the goals of different political parties and regimes throughout ages, and their practical indifference towards the fate of the people whose lives they claim to be concerned about. The quarantine of the blind is no doubt reminiscent of the death camps the writer...
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