In the last post I introduced José Saramago’s novel Blindness and explained the relevance of the colour white and the symbolism of milk to represent the titular blindness, especially in the first half of the novel. In this second part of my analysis, I’m going to cover the color red in connection to blood, and the overlap between milk and blood.
Blindness (or Ensayo sobre la ceguera, if, like me, you read it in Spanish) is a novel by eminent Portuguese writer José Saramago, published in 1995. It’s a direct criticism of contemporary society and its morals (or lack thereof), based on the emergence of a disease whose only symptom is causing immediate blindness. It's a novel rife with symbolism and allegory, especially with the use of two of my all-time favourite symbols: blood and milk.
After thinking hard about the idea that “books belong to their readers”, I can easily come up with five different examples of how this can end up being horribly disastrous. People can interpret books however they want, but when a harmful interpretation that normalizes violence, sexism, or whatever your favorite Problematic-ism is, gets perpetuated across entire generations as something good or even begins to be unapologetically romanticized—that’s when you’ve got a problem on your hands. From that train of thought and my own tendency to get, as I’ve been told, “way too serious” about books, springs the first episode of what I’ve titled Your Literary Fave Is Problematic.