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Words are like that, they deceive, they pile up, it seems that do not know where to go, and, suddenly, because of two or three or four that suddenly come out, simple in themselves, a personal pronoun, an adverb, an adjective, we have the excitement of seeing them coming irresistibly to the surface through the skin and the eyes and upsetting the composure of our feelings, sometimes the nerves cannot bear it any longer, they put up with a great deal, they put up with everything, it was as if they were wearing armor, we might say.
— Jose Saramago, Blindness
That evening they did not eat, only the boy with the squint got something to assuage his complaints and to allay his hunger, the others sat down to hear the reading, at least their minds would not be able to complain of lack of nourishment, the trouble is that the weakness of the body sometimes leads to a lack of attention of the mind, and it was not for lack of intellectual interest, no, what happened was that the brain slipped into a half sleep, like an animal settling down for hibernation, goodbye world, therefore it was not uncommon that the listeners gently lowered their eyelids, forced themselves to follow with the eyes of the soul the vicissitudes of the plot until a more energetic passage shook them from their torpor…
— José Saramago, Blindness (321)
The doctor’s wife placed her hands on his shoulders, and with both hands he reached out for it and raised it slowly to his lips, Don’t lose yourself, don’t let yourself be lost, he said, and these were unexpected, enigmatic words that did not seem to fit the occasion.
— José Saramago, Blindness (294)
…she sat down there and wept, the doctor’s wife came to sit beside her, and told her, Don’t cry, what else could she say, what meaning do tears have when the world has lost all meaning, In the girl’s room on the chest of drawers stood the glass vase with the withered flowers, the water had evaporated, it was there that her blind hands directed themselves, her fingers brushed against the dead petals, how fragile life is when it is abandoned.
— José Saramago, Blindness (248)
She let the girl go ahead since she knew the way, she did not mind the shadows into which the stairway was plunged. In her nervous haste, the girl with dark glasses stumbled twice, but laughed it off, Just imagine, stairs that I used to be able to go up and down with my eyes closed, cliches are like that, they are insensitive to the thousand subtleties of meaning, this one, for example, does not know the difference between closing one’s eyes and being blind.
— José Saramago, Blindness (243)
Wherever you go, I go, this was not the idea she now carried in her head, quite the contrary, but she did not want to discuss it, vows are not always fulfilled, sometimes out of weakness, at other times because of some superior force with which we had not reckoned.
— José Saramago, Blindness (210)
She did the same as me, the doctor’s wife thought, she gave him the safest place, what fragile walls we’d make, a mere stone in the middle of the road without any hope other than to see the enemy trip over it, enemy, what enemy, no one will attack us here, even if we’d stolen and killed outside, no one is likely to come here to arrest us, that man who stole the car has never been so sure of his freedom, we’re so remote from the world that any day now, we shall no longer know who we are, or even remember our names, and besides, what use would names be to us…
— José Saramago, Blindness (57)
The doctor identified himself when they replied, then said rapidly, I’m fine, thank you, no doubt the receptionist had inquired, How are you, doctor, that is what we say when we do not wish to play the weakling, we say Fine, even though we may be dying, and this is commonly known as taking one’s courage in both hands, a phenomenon that has only been observed in the human species.
— José Saramago, Blindness (32)