Discussion will take place in the Office Conference room.

Kristina Borderia
Wyatt Jackson
Grace King
Liam Mahoney
Jack Taylor
Ya Li Shi (facilitator)
Linda Halloran
Linda Dodge

1. Student Facilitator(s): This person's role will be to read the agenda from his or her computer to direct the conversation. Someone should volunteer or nominate a peer(s). Communicate with each other! Please list all the group members on your wiki page as well.
Ya Li Shi-Facilitator

2. Protocols: Protocols are helpful to give everyone in the group the time and chance to speak. Use at least two protocols and customize them to fit your discussion

3. Discussion Questions:

What are the issues and ideas within this novel you’d like to discuss with each other? Be sure to consider various parts of the text (beginning, middle and end). Collaboratively create 15-25 open-ended questions that promote discussion and organize them logically. You can use them within a protocol or on their own.
  • Personal Response Questions -- These questions might address your personal reactions to the style and content of the novel and ask group members to share and compare.
  • Open-ended, analytical questions -- These promote multiple perspectives and don’t yield a single answer. They address the WHY and HOW.
  • Significant passage questions -- Observe, as you would in close reading, the qualities of the text and how the passage brings meaning to the novel overall.

How did you feel about the author’s writing style (the way he incorporated dialogue, etc.)?

What effect does this style have on the novel?

Something that really bothered me was that none of the characters had names. How did that affect you as you read?

Similarly, what do you think Saramago's purpose was in keeping the characters nameless, as well as not giving a town/city or country?

Which character in the novel did you like the best or relate to the most?

What do you think the purpose was of including the 'Dog of Tears' into the end of the novel?

Why do you think the doctor's wife is the only one not affected by the blindness?

How did the blindness affect the men and women differently?

If you had to pick one main character in the novel, who would it be and why?

Why do you think that all that the blind people see is a milky white color instead of the usual black? What is the/is there a significance for that?

4. Culture & Context

We recognize that we're reading books that take place in different cultures than ours. What do you need to know about this culture that would give you deeper insight to the story? Use a Historical/Biographical approach and pose questions. The bullets below give you some places to start. Each group member should pose at least one question, and each group member should research a resource and post his or her findings that respond to the question. Post a resource for someone else's question. Label your questions and posts so we can see that everyone contributed to both steps.

  • history and political conflict of the nation depending on the time it takes place: historical articles or current news
  • cultural or religious traditions
  • biographical information about the author
  • articles of literary criticism (using Marvel)
  • author information -- interviews, obituaries, statements
  • book reviews
  • research allusions and cultural references

Grace: If a similar epidemic had taken place in our country, how do you think the reaction of the government would have differed?

Yali: Source: http://www.govexec.com/magazine/features/2004/12/viral-time-bomb/18181/
– This article discusses the shortage of flu vaccines in 2004
– The flu could potentially lead to a worldwide epidemic
– The US government turned it into the hands of the WHO in the UN
– I think the US government would have done the same, to isolate those who are infected
– At the same time try to develop a cure for the disease

Yali: How has the time period that the author grew up in affect the author and his writing in this novel?
Source: http://articles.cnn.com/2010-06-18/world/obit.saramago_1_jose-saramago-blind-people-nobel-speech?_s=PM:WORLD
– He was born into peasantry in Portugal
– Political and economic turmoil
– Believes that people are blind but seeing
– Are mentally blind to the world around them but can physically see

Kristina: In the real world, what kind of government is symbolized through the novel (regarding the ward abusing his power over the internees and the doctor being the "good" leader)?

5. Pre-Discussion Processing
The purpose of this section is to sort out the basic fiction elements in the novel. We've put it at the bottom of your agenda, but it is the first place you'll start to work. This is a good way to check your understanding of the novel, and the group can use this information as a reference during the discussion. You can use your collective knowledge to answer these questions and build a foundation for your discussion so the conversation can focus on higher level issues.

Post on the wiki prior to discussion and include textual references wherever necessary
Characters - List a significant detail for each character
  • First Blind Man- First to go blind while struck in the middle of traffic. Goes to doctor's office and infects everyone there. Also the first to regain his sight after the epidemic.
  • Doctor- An ophthalmologist that goes blind after treating a blind man. First internee in the quarantine and has authority over internees with the help of his wife.
  • Doctor's Wife- Only character in the book who doesn't lose their sight. Pretends to be blind so she doesn't have to leave her husband. Tries to pull the compound together when they lose control. Kills leader of the ward when he demands that women sleep with them in order to withhold food.
  • Woman in the Dark Glasses- Part time prostitute who becomes blind when with a client. Inside quarantine, she takes care of the boy with the squint and plays the roll of his mother since she wasn't there with him. Kicks the car thief and accidentally kills him when he gropes her. Ends up falling in love with the Man with the Eye Patch.
  • Ward King- Also known as the man with the gun. Leader who takes control over the food supply in the quarantine. He and the ward are responsible for taking the rations of food and the people that don't cooperate were threatened to be shot. He and the other wards rape the women when the bracelets and watches run out. In the end, he is stabbed and killed by the Doctor's Wife.
  • Infected Man- Also known as the Car Thief; he steals the First Blind Man's car when he drives him to his house after going blind. He becomes blind after stealing the car. He runs into the First Blind Man in the quarantine and they get angry. He is the first one to die by being shot by the guards for asking for medicine for his wounded leg after getting stabbed with a heel of a shoe for groping the Woman in the Dark Glasses.
  • Boy With a Squint- Becomes blind after going to the doctor's. Goes with the first ward. In the quarantine, he is taken care of by the Woman with the Dark glasses.
  • Man with Black Eye Patch- Very spiritual and reacts calmly to the white blindness. After they can see he says that he hopes everyone has learned a valuable lesson about human nature.

Setting - Locations and time periods
  • Asylum
  • Outside

  • Important plot events - Choose at least 3 significant plot elements and explain their importance
  • Conflicts - Identify and elaborate on the conflicts that drive the plot
– Man vs. Man: Those who have not succumbed to the disease yet against those who have, no one wants to be infected, does everything they can to stay away from those who have contracted white blindness, with the exception of the doctor's wife. Those who have contracted the disease learn to bond, stay united, and work together as a 'family'.
-- Man vs. Self: The blind man's wife is struggling with whether or not to admit that she is not blind. It is an internal struggle that she deals with for much of the book.

  • Narration (point of view) - Describe how the telling impacts the story
– Narration is kind of a detached observer
– The point of view switches around depending on the character

  • Important passages - Have at least 5 important passages on the wiki; a brief comment or question about how and why the passage is important should follow each

P. 280-81: A major turning point in the book, there is a cleansing rain, from here everything improves.