Blindness Book Summary - Blindness Book explained in key points

Blindness summary

Jose Saramago, Giovanni Pontiero

Brief summary

Blindness by Jose Saramago is a thought-provoking novel that delves into a society struck by a sudden epidemic of blindness. It explores the fragility of civilization and the human spirit’s resilience in the face of extreme adversity.

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Table of Contents

    Summary of key ideas

    Surviving the Unthinkable

    In Blindness by José Saramago, we are introduced to a city struck by a sudden and inexplicable epidemic of blindness. The first victim is a man waiting in his car at a traffic light. The blindness is not a typical one; it is a milky white blindness that leaves its victims seeing nothing but a sea of white. The government's response is to quarantine the first victims in an abandoned mental hospital, but the situation quickly spirals out of control.

    As the epidemic spreads, the government's response becomes increasingly authoritarian. The blind are rounded up and confined to an asylum, where they are left to fend for themselves. The asylum quickly becomes a microcosm of society, with all its flaws and virtues magnified. The inmates are left to their own devices, and the situation quickly deteriorates into chaos and violence.

    Humanity in the Face of Adversity

    Amidst this chaos, a small group of inmates emerges as the protagonists. The group includes a doctor, his wife, a boy with a squint, a girl with dark glasses, and a dog. The doctor's wife is the only one who has not been struck blind, but she chooses to stay with her husband and the others. She becomes their guide and protector, leading them through the asylum and helping them to survive.

    Despite the grim circumstances, the group manages to maintain a semblance of humanity. They form a makeshift family, looking out for each other and sharing what little they have. They also resist the authority of the self-appointed leader of the asylum, who hoards the food and demands payment in exchange for it. Their resilience and solidarity in the face of adversity are a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

    Struggle for Survival

    As the situation in the asylum worsens, the group decides to escape. They manage to break out of the asylum and venture into the outside world, which has been left to its own devices in the wake of the epidemic. They face numerous challenges, including finding food and shelter, avoiding the military, and dealing with the hostility of the sighted population, who view the blind as a threat.

    Despite these challenges, the group manages to survive, relying on their resourcefulness and their bond with each other. They find refuge in an abandoned mental hospital, where they establish a new community based on cooperation and mutual respect. They also find a way to communicate with the outside world, using the doctor's wife as their intermediary.

    Hope in the Midst of Despair

    Throughout their journey, the group never loses hope. They refuse to be defined by their blindness and instead focus on what they can do. They adapt to their new reality, finding ways to navigate the world without sight. They also refuse to give in to the baser instincts that have consumed the asylum, choosing instead to uphold their humanity and dignity.

    In the end, the epidemic is mysteriously reversed, and the blind are able to see again. However, their experiences have left an indelible mark on them. They have seen the worst of humanity, but they have also seen its best. They have survived a harrowing ordeal and emerged stronger for it, proving that even in the darkest of times, there is still hope.

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    What is Blindness about?

    Blindness by Jose Saramago is a thought-provoking novel that explores a world struck by a sudden epidemic of blindness. As society crumbles and the government struggles to maintain control, a group of strangers bands together to survive in a world of darkness. This gripping and haunting story delves into the depths of human nature and the resilience of the human spirit.

    Blindness Review

    Blindness (1995) by Jose Saramago and translated by Giovanni Pontiero is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that explores the fragility of society in the face of an epidemic of blindness. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its unforgettable characters and vivid imagery, the book offers a mesmerizing portrayal of humanity's resilience and vulnerability.
    • The dark and unsettling narrative raises important ethical questions, forcing readers to confront the fragility of social order and the true nature of humanity.
    • Saramago's powerful storytelling grabs the reader from the first page and keeps them engaged throughout, ensuring that the book is definitely not boring.

    Who should read Blindness?

    • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and philosophical novels
    • Those who are interested in exploring the darker aspects of human nature and society
    • People who appreciate unique and unconventional writing styles

    About the Author

    Jose Saramago was a renowned Portuguese author who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998. Throughout his career, Saramago wrote numerous novels, essays, and poems, exploring themes of power, politics, and human nature. Some of his notable works include Blindness, The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, and Death with Interruptions. Saramago's unique writing style and thought-provoking narratives have made him one of the most influential literary figures of the 20th century.

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    Blindness FAQs 

    What is the main message of Blindness?

    The main message of Blindness is a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition.

    How long does it take to read Blindness?

    The estimated reading time for Blindness varies, but the Blinkist summary only takes a few minutes.

    Is Blindness a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Blindness is worth reading for its powerful storytelling and profound insights into humanity.

    Who is the author of Blindness?

    The author of Blindness is Jose Saramago.

    What to read after Blindness?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Blindness, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • The Now Habit by Neil Fiore
    • Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susann Jeffers
    • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Incognito by David Eagleman
    • Quiet by Susan Cain
    • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Happiness by Richard Layard
    • Influence by Robert B. Cialdini