In the story “A Game of Light and Shade” by Arturo Vivante, why does the blind man think the narrator might not have felt the changes in temperature?

In “A Game of Light and Shade,” the blind man might not think the narrator has felt the change in temperature because the narrator is focused on seeing instead of feeling.

Expert Answers

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In Arturo Vivante’s very short story (some people might refer to it as a work of flash fiction), the blind man might have doubts about the narrator’s ability to feel the temperature due to the narrator’s somewhat patronizing attitude towards him.

Remember, when the narrator spots the man ascending the bell tower, he is befuddled. He doesn’t understand why someone who can’t see would give himself in such a vexing task. He wonders why someone would slug through the tourists and up the “zigzagging stairs” if they cannot enjoy the view at the top.

The narrator’s intrigue makes him follow the blind man. He wants to find out more about him and why he feels the need to climb to the top of the tower. One could say that the narrator is fetishizing this person or, in a way, perpetuating a kind of ableism.

As the narrator discovers, one does not need sight to take pleasure in the views granted by the historic tower. There are other reasons to make the climb. For the blind man, these reasons revolve around feeling the change of temperature on his face. It’s reasonable to conclude that the narrator’s stress on sight causes the blind man to wonder if the narrator is compensating for their lack of other senses, like the ability to feel.

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