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Saramagos Blindness Essay

Female leaders are not the most common thing in the world, in fact out of 142 nations only 63 of them have had a female leader in the past 53 years (Kent). That makes the novel by Jose Saramago a very unique novel. In the novel, Blindness, the only character that can see is the Doctors’ Wife, therefore making their leader a female. Some of the reasons Saramago had picked a female to be the leader of the story is because it is easy for women to see a problem within in a society rather than a male, mainly because it is the males who are usually causing the problems to happen.

They have a tendency to fix those problems in proper ways and not by violence. That leads up to another reason why Saramago chose to make the leader of the story a female, he did this because females can make a person still feel like a person even while the rest of the world is dehumanizing everyone. The final reason why a female is such a good leader is because they have compassionate and emotional outlook on everything around you, this causes a female to be very cautious and care for those in her group.

It is hard for people to lie about a medical condition, especially if it involves them being taken to a ‘blind community’. To be a good leader, you have to be willing to do anything to stay with your people. In the story the Doctor had become blind and he was going to be sent to an asylum, to be his savior his wife had told the people that she too is now blind and needs to go with. They were getting into an ambulance and when the wife climbed in she was told she could not come with and that was when she claimed, “You’ll have to take me to, l’ve just gone blind this very minute” (Saramago 36).

She did not want to leave her husband and to do that she knew she would have to be blind to, from that moment on she was “blind” just like everybody else. After she was put in the ward she was declared to be the leader because of all that she could do for everyone, the first thing she decided she would do is to help her people by leading them around. The Doctors’ Wife led her group around the asylum while trying to act blind. She knew that she needed to keep her group united and to keep them organized in order to make their situation easier (Preto-Rodas 385).

At first this was easy for her, but soon the wards kept getting fuller and fuller. By the time the Doctors’ Wife would have everything under control more people would show up to the asylum, it soon began to be too much for the Doctors’ Wife and she wanted to give up. She started to hope that she would soon turn blind too because she was tired of being the leader (Preto-Rodas 386). The wife then began to gain little hope because of how many people kept showing up but she always did her best to lead them all and keep them safe.

The Doctors’ wife also had to keep her group well fed but she had struggled with that when a gang group had showed up to the asylum. In the story by Saramago the group that the Doctors’ Wife is a part of is having troubles with a group of gang members. These gang members are trying to enforce prostitution among the girls in the wards. One of blind hoodlums said, “Bring us the women or you don’t eat,” the reply among the people was to not give them their women (Saramago 167). Even though everybody else was solely against allowing these hoodlums to take advantage of their people the Doctors’ Wife was not.

She noticed that giving up the females isn’t the biggest problem they have, the bigger problem they are facing is not eating. The leader herself was the first to volunteer, she was willing to give her body to these people just so she could feed those around her. After the Doctors’ Wife had volunteered the rest of the ward had soon joined her. This shows that a female can understand when there is problem, the Wife did not use violence to solve it either she just simply gave up herself to allow her people to eat.

That is not the only time the Wife wanted to keep her group good feed, once they became free it was much harder. While being inside the ward the soldiers, who were supposed to keep the blind feed and safe were too scared so they blind quickly became starved (Preto-Rodas 385). Once they got out of the asylum they were even more starved, the Doctors’ Wife refused to allow her group to die of starvation she kept telling them, “We won’t die of hunger, I will find us food, clothes, and shelter” (Saramago 224). She had found them a safe place to stay and then ventured herself to a store.

While she was looking for the store the hardest part was for her to try and remember where she was coming from, she had kept repeating to herself the way to get back to the store. After the Wife had gotten her group their food she found her way back and made sure they were all taken care of before she would eat. Not only does that show that the Doctors wife was good at seeing the problems and fixing them, it shows that she wants her group to know that even though they don’t see themselves as people she still looks at them like they are.

This book is behind the idea that the world is dehumanizing people in a society because of power (Esmaeil and Zohdi 2539). Throughout the story everyone who is blind are getting treated very poorly by those who can see. The only person that can see that doesn’t treat the blind like they are trash is the Doctors Wife. She chooses to see the people around her as people and not like animals, even though that’s what the rest of the world is choosing to look at them like (Preto-Rodas 386). The Doctors Wife treated those that were in her ward as her friends and she wasn’t scared to be around them like most people.

For example, the soldiers of the ward were terrified of being around the blind in fact they would say, “Stop, turn back, I have orders to shoot” to anyone that would come near them (Saramago 63). The Doctors wife was not terrified of being by the blind so she did not threaten them like other people did. Another thing that the Doctors wife did well while being their leader was that she didn’t let people get dumped. “Four of you come and fetch the body,” is what the soldiers said once they had shot a blind man because he was beginning to get to close to them (Saramago 76).

They wanted them to figure out what to do with the body because the soldiers did not want to have to do anything with the dead blind man. All the blind internees did not know what to do with the body, they were considering doing nothing. The doctor’s wife did not want to do nothing, she was the one that was insisting on burying the man. She told the group of people, “We must see if there’s a spade or a shovel or whatever there is around, something we can dig with,” she wanted to bury the blind man burial to rest (Saramago 77).

The Wife felt the need to bury him because she felt it was the right thing to do, she did not want him to just be lying there for everyone to see that would make him equivalent to a dead animal on the side of the road. To be a good leader you must make decisions that will benefit your group and make you feel like you did what they wanted you to do. The Doctors wife was in this situation two different times in the book, there was another time when they came across an old lady dead that they barely knew.

The group didn’t know that the old lady was dead, either did anybody else that passed by but the wife decided to bury the lady anyways so she was not like an animal. The fact that the Doctors wife had felt the need to bury these people even though nobody could see them but her proves that she was a compassionate and caring person, like most leaders should be. To be blind in this story means that you no longer care, you don’t care about anything because you have brought yourself down just because you cannot see. The doctor’s wife, who was not blind, tried to keep everyone happy in hopes that they would no longer bring themselves down.

She was known to be associated with compassion and that she wanted to bring back morals to the world (Champagne 2008). Her compassion led her to not only creating a group but to keeping that group organized so that they can keep safe, well fed, and to be sure that they are not losing themselves mentally or spiritually (Champagne 2008). One of the best times in the novel where the wife showed compassion was when the wall of the asylum broke down. She didn’t take advantage of everyone around her being blind, she made sure to find her group and lead them out as well. Not only did she lead them out of asylum but she stayed with them.

The amount of compassion that Doctors wife is a noticeable large amount, many people would not help their group before helping themselves when a chance comes. There are other times where the doctor’s wife does something for her group that shows that she cares for them. “The doctor’s wife had no desire to kill, all she wanted to do was get out as quick as possible,” she was the person who killed the gang members that wanted to rape all the women (Saramago 191). The Doctors wife didn’t want to, or even plan to kill the members of this gang but she knew the women didn’t deserve to be raped.

The only way to stop that gang was to get rid of their leader, and to do that the doctors wife used scissors to kill the leader to stop the gang from harming the women ever again. Even though the wife was not a killer she did what she had to, to make sure the people around her were safe because of the compassion she had. Over all the doctor’s wife had many characteristics and qualities that people look for to have a good leader leading them. Out of those 142 nations and the groups in this book, the most successful groups were those lead by women. Females can see all problems in the order, especially those being cause by the males around them.

Not only can females help spot problems but they can take a problem and fix, a big problem throughout the book is dehumanization and the female leader made sure that people of the story never felt like they were animals. She did all she could to let those around her know they mean something to her. The last thing that makes the wife such a great leader is the fact that she is a compassionate person. She took her feelings and used them for people’s benefits. Overall, it is best to have a female as the leader because they have so much to offer to the group they are in control of.

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