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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. How does the first ward compare to the others in cleanliness?
2. What does the second ward finally do in Chapter 8?
3. What action does the First Man take, forgetting that he has gone blind?
4. Which newly blind character arrives in the first ward at the end of the chapter?
5. To what animal does an anonymous inmate compare her fellow internees at the very end of Chapter 6?
Short Essay Questions
1. How does the first ward get its information of the outside world?
2. What does the Doctor do when his Wife tells him that a Man with an Eye-Patch has arrived in the ward?
3. What is the government's plan for dealing with the outbreak at the end of Chapter 3?
4. How does the Girl with Dark Glasses respond to the Man with the Eye-Patch's declaration of love?
5. Describe the spread and dissipation of the blindness disease throughout the novel.
6. What is the Doctor's conclusion about the origin of his blindness?
7. What services will the government offer the quarantined inmates, according to the announcement?
8. Describe the Girl with Dark Glasses' attitude toward her work.
9. How are conditions in quarantine affected as more inmates arrive throughout Chapter 5?
10. What is the Thief's reaction to the suggestion that the Doctor be leader of the quarantined inmates?
Essay Topic 1
Within the quarantine, the dueling forces of authoritarian power and chaos are juxtaposed. The central narrative is the conflict of these opposing forces:
Part 1) Compare and contrast the government's plan for controlling the epidemic through quarantine with its plan for maintaining order within the quarantine.
Part 2) Discuss the results of the rules set down by the government to maintain order in quarantine with their results. Which rules are effective and which are discarded immediately?
Part 3) Compare the authoritarian rule of the government over the blind internees with the authoritarian rule of the Thugs over the other wards.
Essay Topic 2
The beginning of the novel is marked by a sense of helplessness and shame associated with the inability to see. Explore the unifying embarrassment characters feel in these chapters through the following:
Part 1) How would you describe the character of the First Man? Though we do not know anything of him prior to going blind, does he seem like a man used to asking for help? How does he respond to being helped home by the Thief and stumbling around his apartment?
Part 2) In what state are both the Thief and the Girl with Dark Glasses when they go blind? What - in both of their lives - are they hiding from most of the world which is impossible to hide when they are in this helpless state?
Essay Topic 3
Discuss the devolution of post-industrial society in the novel by choosing one of the following questions to answer in essay form:
1.) The Doctor's Wife is a witness to degradation and dehumanization in the quarantine. What are some examples of the subhuman conditions in the asylum, and what is Saramago saying about the trajectory human nature takes when standards of living are reduced to subsistence levels?
2.) Discuss the relationship of the Thugs to the rest of the quarantine after the Thugs take control of the food supply. How does this feudal relationship involve inmates relying wholeheartedly on those who subjugate them?
3.) The Man with the Eye-Patch that the state of the city after the blindness has swept the country is similar to the origins of man. How does this city resemble pre-agrarian times, citing examples of modern social standards that have vanished?
This section contains 2,775 words
(approx. 10 pages at 300 words per page)