Said upon seeing two blind men fight over whose bed is whose, the doctor's wife notes that two men resolve their disagreement by recognizing the the real problem is that they are blind, not that they disagree.
"The rabies of a dog is cured by nature."
This quote refers to the commander's desire to let the interns die, pointing out that if they died the disease would die with them. This desire is reflected in the soldier's willingness to shoot first and ask questions later. Ironically, this commander will later be struck blind before shooting himself in the head.
"If we cannot live entirely like human beings, at least let us do everything in our power not to live entirely like animals."
A phrase that the doctor's wife utters so often that it becomes the maxim of the first ward. In the quarantine, the living situation becomes more and more disgusting, from societal decay to hygienic disaster. In the face of these mounting difficulties, the doctor's wife urges an attempt to maintain their humanity by resisting a full decline into animality.
"Fighting has always been a form of blindness."
This is an allusion to the doctor's opinion that the epidemic of blindness allowed them to see that they had been blind all along. The inability or unwillingness to see someone else's point of view has always been the most common form of blindness.
"...nor I your face."
In response to the man with the gun who threatens the doctor's wife by saying that he will not forget her voice. It is at this point that the men in the ward of hoodlums begin to suspect that she is not blind like the rest of the people in the quarantine.
"Inside us there is something with no name, that something is what we are."
The girl with the dark glasses says this upon hearing the doctor and the old man argue about the nature or existence of the soul. The doctor says that sight might be the only place where a soul can be said to be. The girl with the dark glasses affirms that it is unimportant what we call that extra something -- just that it exists and that it is the most important thing that we have.
"The door is the outstretched hand of the house"
This is one of the many proverbs that pepper the text. This one is especially important because it comes at the part of the narrative when the group is seeking the homes of the individual members. It becomes very apparent how important it is to belong somewhere and to have a home even if it is just a group of people who care for you.
"There are no blind people, only blindness."
The doctor says this when the group is in the process of regaining their sight. He is remarking that he thinks that they may have never actually been blind -- in fact quite the opposite. They are truly more blind when they can see, unable to see how complicated and fragile society is. By saying that there are no blind people and only blindness, the doctor is saying that all blindness is the same -- not just being without vision, but unable to see in a deeper sense, unable to see what your neighbor means, unable to see the point of living and so on.
"Do not lose yourself."
The writer who is living in the compound says this to the doctor's wife when he finds out that she can see. He has been able to not lose himself by continuing to write, even though he cannot see. It is not that he wants other people to read his writing -- but rather that it is important to him merely to write in order to confirm his existence. He sees that the doctor's wife could confront the same problem. After all, she is maybe more isolated than anyone because she is the only one with sight and the only one who actually has to witness all of the atrocities that are going on around her.
"When is it necessary to kill? When something that is alive is already dead."
The doctor's wife says this to herself after she has killed the man with the gun. This can refer to several things and is intentionally ambiguous. It could, firstly, refer to the man with the gun. The doctor's wife would then be justifying her actions by pointing out that he was already dead, already inhuman when she killed him. The quote could also refer to herself. She could be saying that it was of no consequence because she herself was already dead. This would undoubtedly be the more fatalist point of view.
Blindness Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Blindness is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The doctor's wife is the only character in the entire novel who does not lose their sight. This phenomenon remains unexplained in the novel. Unable to leave her husband to be interned, she lies to the doctors and claims to be...