Daar word op die oomblik in die kerk meer gepraat oor self-ontplooiing as oor self-opoffering.-Anon.......As ‘n kerk haar woorde begin devalueer, dan word die kerk ‘n ramp vir die volk. - K Schilder

4/15/2009

"Country of the Blind"

Tydens ‘n onlangse pakkery en trekkery ontdek ek 'n ou vergete 'Penguin Classic' slapbandboekie, The Country of the Blind and Other Selected Stories by H.G. Wells. Ek het op die plek, te midde van die horde kartonbokse, platgeval en begin lees aan die titelverhaal - algemeen beskou as Wells se beste werk en dié beste kortverhaal ooit geskryf. Dis een van daardie stories wat jy oor en oor kan lees om elke keer weer iets nuuts te ontdek.

Kortliks: Die verhaal gaan oor Nuñez, ‘n berggids uit Peru, wat tydens ‘n storm in die onverbiddellike Andes-gebergtes van sy klimgroep wegdwaal. Hy beland na ‘n ongeluk in die legendariese Country of the Blind waar die inwoners deur die eeue heen weens ‘n seldsame siekte blind geword het. Hier, meen hy, sal hy kan koning kraai, maar word egter gou ontnugter. Die inwoners dwing hom om aan te pas by hul siglose bestaan en mettertyd begin hy sy sig as ‘n hindernis ervaar....

Intussen raak hy op die jong vrou Medina verlief. Dit ontlok kritiek van die inwoners en plaas hom in ‘n ongelooflike dilemma/tweestryd. Om met haar te kan trou moet die blinde dorpsdokter sy oë uitsny sodat hy ook sigloos soos die res kon wees. Ter elfder ure besef hy dat die behoud van sy sig swaarder weeg as sy liefde vir Medina en hy ontsnap dan uit die land van die blindes...
-Lees verder...

1 comment:

Liza said...

Dit is werklik ‘n diep verhaal met temas/boodskappe wat omskryf kan word as: Enkeling teenoor die samelewing; selfvoldaanheid en nederigheid; die ontoereikendheid van die wetenskap; selfs xenofobie; tradisie en vernuwing; waardering vir die skepping. Vir my versinnebeeld die grootste gedeelte van die verhaal egter die geestelike blindheid van die mensdom en die uiterstes waartoe die wêreld sal gaan om diegene wat nog anders durf dink/sien en voel te oortuig, te oorreed en te breinspoel/verlei - met tong, pen en selfs vanaf sy kansels - om te konformeer en aan te pas.

Dit is voorwaar 'n storie met vele fasette wat die leser kan plooi na willekeur - afhangende van die bril waarmee jy lees. ;)

‘n Greep uit die verhaal: ...The voice of an older man began to question him, and Nunez found himself trying to explain the great world out of which he had fallen, and the sky and mountains and such-like marvels, to these elders who sat in darkness in the Country of the Blind. And they would believe and understand nothing whatever that he told them, a thing quite outside his expectation. They would not even understand many of his words. For fourteen generations these people had been blind and cut off from all the seeing world; the names for all the things of sight had faded and changed; the story of the outer world was faded and changed to a child's story; and they had ceased to concern themselves with anything beyond the rocky slopes above their circling wall. Blind men of genius had arisen among them and questioned the shreds of belief and tradition they had brought with them from their seeing days, and had dismissed all these things as idle fancies and replaced them with new and saner explanations. Much of their imagination had shrivelled with their eyes, and they had made for themselves new imaginations with their ever more sensitive ears and finger-tips. Slowly Nunez realised this: that his expectation of wonder and reverence at his origin and his gifts was not to be borne out; and after his poor attempt to explain sight to them had been set aside as the confused version of a new-made being describing the marvels of his incoherent sensations, he subsided, a little dashed, into listening to their instruction...(Foto: The Parable of the Blind. 'n Skildery deur die Vlaamse skilder Pieter Bruegel.)