Blindness is the tale of a city stricken by a inexplicable "White Blindness". It starts with a single person and soon everyone who makes contact with him goes blind. Trying to contain the epidemic, city officials quarantine the blind and those who had contact with the blind in abandanonded hospitals and institutional buildings. Society degrades quickly as the epidemic progresses, and this story focuses on a group of seven individuals including the original blind man, the doctor who tried to treat him, and the doctor's wife, who for some reason can still see. The doctor's wife hides this fact for much of the story, in order to remain with her husband and care for him, but eventually she is forced to reveal this as she and the others strike out from quarantine only to find that the entire city has gone blind and they must somehow find a way to survive the horrible conditions that have resulted.
This report prepared by H. Armstrong
A man goes blind at the traffic lights. Then everyone he has been in contact with that day also goes blind. Fearing an epidemic the Government interns the blind people in an empty mental institution. At first the squalor is bearable as food is delivered by the guarding soldiers. However as more internees arrive the asylum fills and the nervous guards shoot some of the internees as they feared a breakout.
Next blind thugs arise with a gun and cudgels and take over the food distribution. All the other inmates must hand over their valuables in return for food. However this isn't enough for the thugs and they next demand sex from the women. The woman are raped and degraded horrifically.
However one of the inmates who can still see, the wife of a blind doctor, murders the leader of the thugs. Then another woman sets fire to the ward the thugs are in and they are incinerated. The rest of the internees escape outside to find the guards have disappeared. Wandering the city they discover that now everyone is blind.
The wife of the doctor leads a small group back to her old house to recover from the squalor. The wife finds food in a supermarket basement and brings it back to the group. Everywhere the city is in chaos. Dead bodies, excrement and refuge litter the streets and dogs roam in packs. The book describes the degradation and horror that ensues as society disintegrates with Saramago's wonderful gift of insights into humanity.
This report prepared by John Marcel