Blindness Summary and Analysis of Part XV


The group comes in the house and settles in, deciding to stick together and live there. The doctor's wife finds everyone some fresh clothes and bedding. They eat the rest of their food and get to bed. That night, it begins to rain and the doctor's wife gathers up the women to go outside and wash up. The three women wash themselves in the rain and collect water for the men to wash as well. Bringing the water back inside, the doctor's wife runs a bath for the old man with the black eye patch to take a bath. He goes into the bathroom and disrobes and begins to bath himself, only to find a woman in the tub with him who washes his back. He imagines that it is the doctor's wife but doesn't ask.

The next morning, they give what little food they have to the little boy and the doctor's wife, the first blind man and his wife set out in search of their house. When they finally reach it, they find a man living in their flat. He is very polite and tells him that he is a writer, although it doesn't matter since no word he writes will ever be seen again. He tells them excitedly that he has been chronicling his entire experience. Even though he is blind he has been writing by touch, using a ball-point pen to etch the words into the paper. At first the first blind man wants to stay in his home, but soon decides that it would be better to stay together. The party returns to the doctor's house and the doctor's wife reads to them from a book she found in her husband's study.


The bathing of the women in the rain is another illustration of the attempts of the group of women to maintain their humanity. This is one of the moments of humanity that counteracts the horrible depiction of humanity seen throughout the rest of the text. This can be tied directly to the washing of the women's bodies after they were raped in the quarantine. The difference, however, is that the bath in the quarantine was a ritual of lamentation and of mourning, whereas the bath on the balcony is an affirmation of life.

The figure of the writer serves as a counterpoint to the figure of the old woman in the girl's house and brings up an interesting theme that is seen throughout the text. This is the theme of memory and history. The question comes up throughout the text about whether the human race will continue to exist if it has no memory or history. The case of the writer shows that there is a shred of hope. The writer continues to write even though he is certain that no one will read his work. Writing, for him, is not a process for reminding others of what happened, but rather a method to help him remember who he is. In the midst of all of the difficulty surrounding the blind people every day, it is easy for them to forget that they were once normal humans and that they can hold onto some of those values. It is for this reason that he implores the doctor's wife not to forget who she is, the writer understands the importance of memory and its role in keeping us human.

Read through the frame of the allegory, we can see that the writer forms a counterpoint to the doctor's wife as well. If the doctor's wife can be read allegorically as a Platonic philosopher, then the writer can be read allegorically as the ideal artist. The role of the philosopher is to see how things "really" are and show his fellow man. The role of the artist is to imagine how things possibly could be, against or in contrast to how things are in society. This often means that what they make is useless or fanciful, but, to quote Nietzsche "we have art in order not to die of the truth." The writer is a metaphor for the artist because he engages in his creation as a survival strategy, knowing the importance of memory and imagination even in the circumstances of direst need.