LITERATURE: Blindness – The Unreliable Narrator

Another stumbling block here for me; this story is told in third person omniscient which enables (and answers my question of the previous post) him to tell the story from his own frame of reference and abilities. However, he is aware (obviously, since he's the one who tipped us off) that the doctor's wife still has her vision. But here, in a reflective mood, he states:

In the busier places, so long as it is not completely open, like the yard, the blind no longer lose their way, with one arm held out in front and several fingers moving like the antennae of insects, they can find their way everywhere, it is even probable that in the more gifted of the blind there soon develops what is referred to as frontal vision. Take the doctor's wife, for example, it is quite extraordinary how she manages to get around and orient herself through this veritable maze of rooms, nooks and corridors, how she knows precisely where to turn the corner, how she can come to a halt… (p. 81)

With the intimate "Take the doctor's wife, for example," as if the narrator is speaking directly to the reader ("you, take the etc."), he is inviting us to trust him. Yet we know that he is fully aware of the doctor's wife's ability to see.

There is another change in this passage; that of tense. From past, the narrator states:

At this moment she is seated on her husband's bed, she is talking to him, as usual in a low voice, one can see these are educated people, and they always have something to say to each other… (…)The one person who is forever complaining of feeling hungry is the boy with the squint (p. 81)

True, the passage may be conversationally acceptable, but I do wonder if this has some deeper suggestion of meaning; whether it was planned for a purpose by Saramago. It could be, of course, merely something lost in the translation as well.

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