Blindness Summary and Analysis of Part VIII


The old man with the black eye patch turns out to be another patient of the doctor's–an old man with one good eye and a cataract in that. He brings two things with him, one a tiny transistor radio which the internees use to listen to a song. He also brings news of the outside world, which he recounts to the ward.

In the first days, the government expressed confidence that the number of cases was reaching its maximum. Meetings and colloquiums were organized, but the futility of these were expressed in the frequency with which participants went blind. The government's morale clearly was at a low, since their strategy seemed to be changing by the day. At first they sought to confine only the blind in the quarantines, then they wanted families to take care of the blind in their own homes. All areas of the city's infrastructure are affected. Traffic has completely come to a standstill, since people are either blind or afraid of being hit by a blind driver.

After hearing the man's account, the rest of the internees are clearly despairing. He suggests that they discuss the last thing that they saw. After doing this, they listen to the news again and hear nothing good.


One aspect of Blindness's allegorical tone stems from its lack of concrete references that would tie it to a distinct time or place. It also contains improbable plot elements that give it an allegorical twist. The arrival of the old man is one of these things, because it means that now their ward includes every one of the doctor's patients. This is also a convenient narrative trope because it allows the narrator to recount what is going on in the outside world without straying too far from the focus of the narrative, which is the quarantine.

The solidarity of the first ward begins to stand out against the barbarity of the rest of the quarantine. It helps that they all share a common experience and this solidarity is helped by the fact, in this chapter, that they share their memories which are, in many ways, all that they have. The role of remembering will become more and more important as the story progresses. Forgetting who you are and what makes you human is a constant danger in the world of the blind. This desire to remember shown in this section is what will distinguish the first ward from the rest of the internees.

It is in this part that it becomes clear to the quarantined that there is no hope to be found in the outside world. While they had no news of the outside, they could harbor some hope that their problem was isolated and that there were people working on a cure. This is no longer the case. It is worth remembering that within the Platonic school of thought, men were not always blind to the truths of the universe. They once knew these things, until they were blinded of them. Eventually enough people people were blind to the truths of the universe that they forgot that they had forgotten. With the final descent of the world into blindness, a similar situation has taken hold. The blind world is now the only world, forming the new standard for all of humanity.