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Blindness By Jose Saramago: Self-Involved People Are Blind

There was a woman in Portland who got her dating profile taken down after disclosing that she has not fully transitioned from male to female. There are stories of bullying no one hears of until it is taken to the extremity of death. There are health epidemics that people do not care about because it is simply far away from them. The world is extremely self-involved. Overall, it is a fact that everyone is worked up over themselves and things that are only revolving around their needs. When we see things on the news, whether it be another death, another attack, another story of discrimination, we simply only care enough to be able to talk about it, and not enough to do something about it.

In the novel Blindness, by Jose Saramago, which is about a city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” that spares no one, everything and everyone are seen to be nameless. The blind people are simply disclosed as their descriptions, same thing with the abandoned asylum they are taken to, as well as the guards who are taking charge. The city as well is also not disclosed to the readers. With that common pattern in the novel, I developed the theory that when people see a health or social epidemic happening elsewhere that does not socially or physically involve them, they only care about being informed, but not enough to do something about the issue. The fact that the blind people are seen as descriptions, such as The doctor, The girl with dark glasses, The blind man, The car thief, and The old man with the eye patch, it shows more proof that if people truly did care, they would be given names and more than just what they look like. That helps prove that no one cares about the victims unless it is something fatal because it does not involve them. Not only are the people unnamed, but the blind epidemic, the city, and the name of the asylum are also unnamed. In the novel, it is impossible to discover the city name and even if you look into it while doing research, it is titled as an “unnamed city”.

I believe the city is unnamed because it represents how we would see it if this was non-fiction and on the news. If this story was on the news, you would not be given any key information, such as names of the victims, names of the guards, name of the city, and the name of the asylum without doing any extensive research yourself. And again I mention my theory where people only care so much, so it’s rare to find someone who will take time out of their day to look into it because it simply enough does not involve them nor the surrounding people.

Another pattern I noticed, in the first half of the novel, it states “The blind people in our city are getting taken” meaning that the city is taking all precautions to keep that city safe. But the neighboring cities or anywhere else did not do any safety precautions to keep their city safe, solely because they will only care when it does reach their city and when it does affect their people. I connect this to the real world with the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in the year 2014. Once the world found out Africa had discovered Ebola, people only took things seriously when there was a slight chance it could appear in America. When the threat to America occurred that caused people to take things seriously and put out more precautions for safety reasons. Before that, all the support that it got was different hashtags telling people to pray for the victims of Ebola, which again proves that people only take things seriously when it affects them, and the people they care about. They have no idea who the victims or doctors are so it is a challenge to accept that there is an issue and how they can help it.

There is a quote that states; “After suffering from Ebola, I now know what to do if one of my family members gets sick. I can recognize the signs, I will take them straight to the hospital.” from the World Health Organization website on the Ebola outbreak. You do not view their name or what part of West Africa they are from unless you do excessive research which as I have mentioned before is highly unlikely that people will do. I also connect this to the social issue of bullying.

There was a case about a girl named Amanda Todd, who after getting bullied and harassed with nobody caring because it wasn’t serious enough, all of a sudden when she committed suicide, it becomes a trend to post “#prayforamanda”, but people only cared when she committed suicide, not when she was crying for help. This is comparable to the novel because of how nobody outside of the city is shown to care nor are they shown to do anything about it in ways to aid the issue or prevent the issue from spreading, like the issue with the victim, Amanda Todd. In conclusion, in the real world, it is quite obvious to see that when there is an issue going around, few people will bat their eye unless it is something that could affect them or the people around them.

The novel Blindness, written by Jose Saramago, which is about a city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women, it shows a pattern that everything is nameless, including people, the city, and everything around them. Due to the pattern, I stand by my theory which is that people are too self-involved to care about anything that does not involve them socially and physically and that they are blind to the world.

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