Blindness Summary and Analysis of Part XII


Four days later, the men from the ward of hoodlums stop by the first ward to see how the women are faring. The doctor's wife decides she has had enough. That night, she takes the scissors that she hung on the wall and creeps to the ward of hoodlums where they are having their orgy. She finds the man with the gun and stabs him in the neck, slitting his throat and saving the girl that he was in the process of raping. General confusion erupts, the women try to escape and the blind accountant finds the first man's gun, electing himself leader of the ward. Once the men realize that another person has the gun they also begin to panic and let the women go. The doctor's wife tells the blind accountant that every time one of his men leaves the ward he will be stabbed; her ward will collect the food from now on.

This turns out to not be an issue, though, since the food deliveries stop. At first they assume that it might be a normal disruption, but it becomes clear that this is out of the ordinary. They then realize that the ward of hoodlums may very well be intercepting the food. They mount an unsuccessful attack on that ward, led by the man with the black eye patch.

Confused and hungry, the internees decide to go into the yard en masse and demand food. This erupts into general confusion and during this time, the girl who the doctor's wife saved returns to the ward of hoodlums and sets fire to their barricade, killing everyone in that ward. The fire spreads throughout the compound and the survivors are forced into the yard. At this point, the doctor's wife realizes that the guards have gone and that the gate is not even locked. They are free.


The murder of the man with the gun is a good example of a way in which the decay of societal norms has led to a situation where what at first seems immoral becomes the only possible moral action. In this new situation, the doctor's wife replaces her husband as the authority. If we take the allegorical reading here, with the doctor's wife functioning as the philosopher who has access to the "real" world, we can see the possibility of the her ascension to the role of the "philosopher king," which was the form of government that Plato actually recommended.

This, however, does not last, as the other people in the quarantine begin holding the wife to blame for the food interruption. This is, again, allegorically legible as the resistance we all feel to someone attempting to bring us out of our ignorance. The philosopher in Plato's allegory, we should remember, is seen as dangerous or insane. Someone even mentions offering her up in exchange for food. This, once again, brings the selfish nature of human nature the fore. It is not coincidence that the person who suggests this is a man, someone for whom the violence was a non-issue. Any shred of sympathy is entirely gone, people only worry about their own immediate concerns.

Finally, the fact that the quarantine was not even locked serves as a metaphor for the fact that their blindness is their true prison. This brings home the allegorical meaning of their blindness, as the ignorance that the blindness is a metaphor for persisted before they physically went blind and persists regardless of their physical condition. In this respect, their physical freedom is an ironic reminder of their continuing bondage not only to their physical blindness, but also their continuing ignorance and lack of reason.