Blindness Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is provided to the inmates for breakfast?

2. In the discussion of organizing the first ward, which is not a suggested task to be assigned?

3. Why does the Thief believe he is in his dire situation?

4. Who pick's up the spade from the soldiers?

5. Which of these is not a condition the Doctor asks if the First Man has?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe what happens when the Doctor's Wife wakes up in the morning.

2. What happens when the hundreds of new internees are delivered to quarantine?

3. Describe the final moments of the Thief's life.

4. Describe the humiliation that occurs when the Doctor tries to use the toilet in Chapter 6.

5. What is the Doctor's conclusion about the origin of his blindness?

6. What appears to be the pattern for the spread of blindness in the novel?

7. Describe the Man with the Eye-Patch.

8. How does the First Man compose himself in the Doctor's office?

9. What news does the Minister of Health have for the Doctor when he calls back?

10. Describe the First Man's Wife's reaction to her husband when she comes home.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

After the central characters leave quarantine, they discover a city where absence of sight has rendered private property nonexistent:

Part 1) Examine the overview of the situation as related by the anonymous man that the Doctor's Wife speaks to as she is walking to the city? What function do residences and stores serve in this new society?

Part 2) Which characters within the group cling to the hope that they will find their old home, and which give up this hope? Prior to regaining their sight, do they find a home?

Part 3) Examine the First Man's arrangement with the Writer living in his house. How has the First Man's attitude toward private property changed since the beginning of the novel?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the use of violence in the novel. Is it seen as a purely evil force, or is its function in the novel more ambiguous? Why is it presented in such graphic detail? Write about each of the following violent episodes:

1. The gang-rape of the first ward women by the Thugs.

2. The murder of the Leader of the Thugs by the Doctor's Wife.

3. The burning down of the asylum.

Essay Topic 3

Choose one of the following topics to discuss in essay form:

1.) Why does the Doctor's Wife not reveal her ability to see while in quarantine? Do you consider this choice prudent or selfish? Does this choice to remain a covert observer give her more or less control over her environment?

2.) Why do you think it takes so long for the blind inmates in quarantine so long to organize themselves? Are they content being at the mercy of systems handed to them by the government and the Thugs? What Saramago saying about the weak nature of human groups?

3.) Why do you think it is so easy for the Thugs to take control of the food supply and one of the wards? Is it exclusively their superior arms? What tactics do they employ to divide and disorient their subjects in the other wards?

(see the answer keys)

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