Fridays are for readers: Ensaio sobre a cegueira

I don’t think we did go blind, I think we are blind, Blind but seeing, Blind people who can see, but do not see.

What would happen if you got blind? what would happen if suddenly everybody got blind?

Ensaio sobre a cegueira, translated into English as Blindness (which I don’t like, I’d prefer its literal translation Essay on blindness, but that’s just a personal opinion) suggest a world where everybody gets blind. What if blindness is something you transmit?

Saramago presents the horror of a society in which all the inhabitants get blind, gradually, consequently creating different status and injustices among the “blind”. When no one sees what is around they only look for themselves. This books shows us a plate of horror and desperation. When we can’t see we get lost.

This is just an excuse to talk metaphorically. Blindness is present in many eyes who can actually see. Blindness is not only the disability to see but the lack of willingness to do it.

…you do not know, you cannot know, what it means to have eyes in a world in which everyone else is blind, I am not a queen, no, I am simply the one who was born to see this horror, you can feel it, I both feel and see it…

Blindness is a hard book, not because of Saramago’s peculiar writing (he doesn’t distinguish between narration and dialogue or the different characters’ dialogue…) but for its harsh picture of Horror. It’s a wonderfull description of a world that no one sees and still you can imagine it, see it and even smell it.

I read it in September 2009 when working on my own and personal essay on blindness and it helped me to open my eyes and stop being blind.

if, before every action, we were to begin weighing up the consequences, thinking about them in earnest, first the immediate consequences, then the probably, then the possible, then the imaginable ones, we should never move beyond the point where our first thought brought us to a halt.


About Emma Espejo

Graduated from English Philology in the University of Barcelona, I wanted to study a phd on Literature but ended dedicating my life to Photography. Full time teacher of English, and full time photographer (a passion can't be neglected). Working on my photography and making other people happy with my photographs makes me happy, as well as a good conversation, reading a good book and watching a good tv series. I'm a reader, dreamer, lover, photographer, writer, thinker... a little bit of everything.
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2 Responses to Fridays are for readers: Ensaio sobre a cegueira

  1. Nina says:

    In Dutch the book is called “Stad der Blinden” or “The City of the Blind”, I read it twice, at school, years ago and even more years ago. I liked it very much, not because it’s a pleasant book to read, quite the contrary to say the least. But because it contains such a confronting view on how our society is or can be. How cruel humans can become, how deep we can fall… and maybe, how, at all times, there remains a spark of hope, as seen through the eyes of the wife of the man who became blind first (if I remember it well). I’ve always seen it as a warning against ourselves, as what a human being is able to do if he allows himself to become blind. When seeing people become blind.

    • Emma Espejo says:

      You remember it very well…. I added the quote of the doctor’s wife (“…you do not know, you cannot know, what it means to have eyes in a world in which everyone else is blind, I am not a queen, no, I am simply the one who was born to see this horror, you can feel it, I both feel and see it…”) to highlight her feeling, as well, when she’s the only one that sees that doesn’t mean she’s lucky but that she sees all the horror. I see it as a metaphor of all the people who is able to see where everything is going, the ones that are trying to change things but, in the end, blind people are the ones shouting and the ones creating the louder noise, hence, the “mess” and horror… does this make sense?
      I don’t see it JUST as a warning “IF” but as a portrait of our current world. And still… it was written in 1995… almost 20 years ago… has it changed?

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