Arlene Criss

Written by Arlene Criss

Modified & Updated: 21 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Blindness is a captivating and mysterious phenomenon that has fascinated humans for centuries. In this article, we will delve into the enigmatic facts about blindness, with a particular focus on the renowned Portuguese author, José Saramago. Saramago, known for his thought-provoking works, including the award-winning novel “Blindness,” explores the concept of blindness in a unique and compelling way.

Blindness not only affects our physical senses but also raises profound questions about perception, identity, and the human condition. It challenges our understanding of the world and sheds light on the often overlooked aspects of experience that are taken for granted by those without visual impairments.

Join us as we uncover intriguing facts about blindness and delve into the mind of José Saramago to gain a deeper understanding of this complex and captivating subject.

Key Takeaways:

  • “Blindness” by José Saramago is a captivating novel that delves into the emotional and psychological impact of losing sight, challenging readers to rethink their perceptions of the world.
  • Saramago’s unique narrative style and powerful use of language immerse readers in the characters’ experiences, prompting them to reflect on the fragility of humanity and the importance of empathy.
Table of Contents

The Nobel Prize-winning author, José Saramago, wrote a novel titled “Blindness” in 1995.

In his mesmerizing novel, Saramago explores the harrowing reality of a world struck by a sudden epidemic of blindness. The book delves into the themes of resilience, survival, and the fragility of human civilization.

“Blindness” was later adapted into a film in 2008.

Directed by Fernando Meirelles, the movie brought Saramago’s gripping narrative to life on the big screen. Starring Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo, the film captured the darkness and intensity of the novel.

Saramago’s “Blindness” explores the psychological impact of losing one’s sight.

The novel delves into the depths of human emotions and behaviors when faced with a loss of vision. Saramago’s masterful storytelling vividly depicts the fear, desperation, and resilience exhibited by his characters.

The Portuguese title of “Blindness” is “Ensaio sobre a Cegueira.”

Saramago’s native language was Portuguese, and the original title of the novel translates to “Essay on Blindness.” This title reflects the author’s intent to delve deeper into the philosophical and existential aspects of blindness.

The characters in “Blindness” are never given names.

Saramago intentionally leaves his characters nameless to highlight their universality. By doing so, he emphasizes that blindness can affect anyone, regardless of their individual identities.

The novel employs a unique narrative style with long, flowing sentences.

Saramago’s writing style is characterized by long paragraphs and sentences, often without conventional punctuation. This distinctive approach immerses readers in the stream of consciousness and enhances the sense of chaos and confusion within the story.

Blindness is a recurring theme throughout Saramago’s body of work.

Saramago explores the concept of blindness both literally and metaphorically in many of his other novels. This recurring theme reflects his fascination with the fragility of the human condition and the darkness that can engulf society.

“Blindness” was highly acclaimed and awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998.

Saramago’s novel captured the attention of literary critics worldwide, and he was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize for his extraordinary contribution to literature.

The epidemic of blindness in “Blindness” serves as a powerful allegory.

Saramago uses the epidemic as a metaphorical representation of societal blindness and the dehumanization that can occur in times of crisis. It serves as a reminder of the importance of empathy and compassion in maintaining our humanity.

“Blindness” has been translated into numerous languages.

Saramago’s thought-provoking novel has been widely embraced by readers across the globe. Its powerful themes and gripping storytelling have resonated with people from different cultures and backgrounds.

The novel explores the moral dilemmas faced by the characters in the face of blindness.

As the characters struggle to survive in a world plunged into darkness, they are confronted with difficult choices and ethical challenges. Saramago raises questions about the essence of humanity and the consequences of our actions.

The narrative of “Blindness” is marked by a sense of claustrophobia and confinement.

Saramago creates an atmosphere of confinement, as the characters are confined to a makeshift quarantine facility. This physical limitation reflects the psychological and emotional turmoil experienced by the characters as they navigate their new reality.

Saramago’s use of language in “Blindness” is both poetic and provocative.

The author’s prose is rich with symbolism and evocative descriptions that engage the readers’ senses. Through his powerful use of language, Saramago invites readers to experience the world of blindness through a new lens.

“Blindness” challenges traditional notions of sight and perception.

Saramago’s novel prompts readers to question the reliability of their own senses and perceive blindness as a metaphorical state of being rather than a physical condition. It forces us to reexamine our preconceptions about the world around us.


In conclusion, José Saramago’s novel “Blindness” sheds light on the enigmatic nature of blindness and its impact on individuals and society. Through his thought-provoking storytelling, Saramago weaves a web of complex characters, ethical dilemmas, and profound insights into the human condition. The book serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of sight and the fragility of our worldview.


Q: What is the significance of blindness in José Saramago’s novel?

A: Blindness in Saramago’s novel symbolizes the loss of humanity, the breakdown of societal norms, and the vulnerability of the human condition.

Q: Why did José Saramago choose blindness as the central theme of his novel?

A: Saramago used blindness as a metaphor to explore deeper existential and philosophical questions about the nature of humanity, power, and societal structures.

Q: Is “Blindness” a realistic portrayal of blindness?

A: While the novel may not depict the physical realities of blindness accurately, it serves as an allegory that explores the psychological and emotional aspects of the condition.

Q: How does “Blindness” challenge conventional notions of vision and perception?

A: The novel challenges the idea that physical sight equates to true understanding and exposes the limitations of relying solely on sensory perception.

Q: What are some themes explored in “Blindness”?

A: Themes in the novel include the fragility of societal structures, the resilience of human spirit, the abuse of power, and the loss of humanity in the face of adversity.

If you're fascinated by the power of literature to shed light on the human experience, don't miss our exploration of Toni Morrison's life and work, which earned her the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. For a thought-provoking social commentary wrapped in a compelling narrative, check out our deep dive into the movie Citizen Ruth. And as we navigate the challenges of our current reality, stay informed with our comprehensive look at the facts surrounding the coronavirus epidemic.

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