Blindness Summary and Analysis of Part XVI


The next day the doctor tells his wife that he would like to go to his clinic, to see if everything is in good shape. They arrive and everything appears to be in good order, although completely useless. On the way home, the doctor and his wife pass a square where there are groups of blind people listening to other blind people giving speeches. The speeches are about prophecies and omens, the doctor remarks that none of the people are talking about organization, something that would certainly be necessary if they are going to survive.

Eventually they make it to the girl's house only to find the corpse of the old woman in the front, being picked at by dogs. They pity her, but the girl is especially sad because she thinks that she will never be able to make it back into her house, now, since the woman was holding the key for her. As the doctor's wife looks closer, though, she sees that the woman has the key in her hand. They decide to give the woman a decent burial and they bury her in the garden. The rabbit coops have been opened, suggesting that the woman knew that she was going to die and let the rabbits out so that they wouldn't die of starvation.

That night at the house, the group listens to another story read by the doctor's wife. After the story, the old man and the young girl get into a tiff that resolves with both of them admitting that they loved one another and promising to live together even if they had to split off from the rest of the group. The little boy sleeps with the doctor and his wife from then on.


The doctor's visit to the old clinic brings home the theme which is developed throughout the text of the precariousness of the medical system. Once again role of technology is denigrated–all of this technology in his clinic is utterly useless without one sighted person to operate it. Allegorically, we can read this episode as highlighting the importance of insight and knowledge against pure technology.

The discovery of the old woman's body is another moment of positive depiction of humanity, the sort of which begins to seep back into the narrative in the second half. The old woman, who at first seemed so far gone, now appears to have shown not only a loyalty to her promise made to the girl, but also what might be called dignity to the rabbits. Civilization is marked, essentially by these small, seemingly selfless gestures. The old woman's treatment of her responsibility to the girl and her treatment of the rabbits are two gestures that could have just as easily not been made, but the fact that she did make them proves that she had at least a little bit of humanity left in her.

The burgeoning love affair between the old man and the young woman is also another example of the social leveling effect of the epidemic. These two, who under normal circumstances, would never become lovers, are united through the disease, which erases the difference between people.