Blindness Questions and Answers
by José Saramago

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What is the purpose of Saramago's use of proverbs, folk sayings, and cliches throughout the novel?

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Saramago has a dual purpose in using cliche's, folk sayings and proverbs in Blindness. The first part of his dual purpose is to illustrate the nature of his characters. The second part of his dual purpose is to illuminate his theme.

Illustrate the Nature of His Characters

His characters are acquainted with proverbs, folk sayings and cliches and they sometimes pepper their dialogue. Sometimes the narrator adds these sayings. Saramago illustrates the nature of his characters by showing that they have the guidance and wisdom from cultural truths to hand and even memorized yet do not live by the wisdom available to them in their culture.

These are not sayings of theologians or philosophers that are generally inaccessible to ordinary people. These are sayings past down through generations and made a part of everyday speech. Thus his characters have the means to be wise...

(The entire section contains 440 words.)

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