Blindness Summary and Analysis of Part V


As the doctor's wife awakes from her first night at the quarantine, she continues to wonder why she has not gone blind. Awake before the rest of the internees, the doctor's wife goes to check on the car thief's leg, which is now badly infected. A new crop of internees arrives, including several people that came into contact with the first people to go blind. The first blind man's wife arrives and he is overjoyed. The little boy with the squint's mother does not appear. After the new internees get settled, the food's arrival is announced.

Going to get the food, the doctor and his wife ask the army officers guarding the compound for antibiotics to counteract the infection in the car thief's leg. They are threatened with death if they proceed any further. Back in the ward, the internees eat the food which is rationed for five, even though they are now ten people.

The new internees discuss how and when they went blind, several of the people were present when the girl with the dark glasses went blind and narrate the story to the inmates. As the afternoon proceeds, more internees arrive bellowing like sheep and soon the ward is filled.

The infection of the car thief gets so bad that he resolves to go personally to the army men outside and plead his case. Dragging himself outside to the courtyard, he yells to be heard by the guards. One of the guards is surprised by his appearance and shoots him in the face. The men of the ward are notified that they must come outside and bury the dead body.


In this part, it becomes apparent that the internee's physical blindness is a metaphorical stand-in for the various types of blindness that we all suffer all the time. This means that their physical blindness allows them to see, or notice, things that were transparent to them before. One principle thing is food. In the developed world, the presence of food can be taken for granted. Since it is unproblematic, we can become blind to it. The internees in the quarantine, though, can no longer afford to be blind to these things.

The internee's memories of the last thing they saw is another example of physical blindness allowing greater insight. For those most part, these images and objects are completely ordinary. The fact, though, that they were the last images, makes them take on a special importance to someone who won't be able to see anything, ordinary or extraordinary, again.

As the leg of the car thief becomes more and more infected, it becomes apparent that no medical help will arrive. In the two interactions between the guards and the internees, the reader begins to see that the soldiers who are guarding the gates are just as afraid of the internees as the internees are of them. The killing of the car thief is principally inspired by fear. This interaction has a sadly ironic element in that the soldiers are only delaying the inevitable. They will soon all be blind and, allegorically, this physical blindness will only make apparent their own, life-long ignorance.