Between death and non-death

22 Mar

Recovering the concept of a life well lived is one that can be examined, and one must live it to the end, there is another issue that is the gaps in life or what I call the intermittents of death, in reference to what Saramago described in “The Intermittence of Death”, see the post.

If we posted there about the intermittent, here we want to talk about non-death, to address non-life, Saramago’s exercise is to think of a country or fictional place where, for a few days, no death was reported, and he goes further thinking of a situation in which people could know in advance of death, after some reflections, think:

“In theory it seemed like a good idea, but practice would not take long to demonstrate that it was not so much. Imagine a person, one of those who enjoy splendid health, those who have never had a headache, optimists by principle and for clear and objective reasons, and who, one morning, leaving home for work, finds the helpful postman from his area, who says to him, Glad to see you, Mr. So-and-so, I have a letter for you, and immediately sees a violet-colored envelope appear in his hands that perhaps he had not yet paid special attention to …” (p. .123) and receives early news of his death.

He thinks he will be able to avoid stepping on a banana peel, not receiving the letter, throwing it away, but someone will politely bring it back thinking he has forgotten it, finally at the apex of the story he finds it fatal.

If in the previous post the “intermittents” were not clear, here the card is this personification, death made Being not only points to an allegorical discourse, but one can see it as it is.

Then he writes: “Death, where was your victory, knowing, however, that you will not receive an answer, because death never answers. and it’s not because he doesn’t want to, it’s just because he doesn’t know what to say in the face of the greatest human pain” (pp. 123-124).

The speech may seem strange, but only those who follow it can understand that its pure personification brings the understanding that there is something beyond life and not just finitude, this is what bothers Saramago, but he does not give in until he reaches his opposite, which is to accept it as fatal

The personification of death letter and the narrative merge, this is an essential element to understand Saramago’s tale, although he does not refer to it when he says in the cellist’s apartment: “Then something never seen before happened, something not imaginable, death left -If she fell to her knees, she was all of her, now, a body rebuilt, that’s why she had knees, and legs, and feet, and arms, and hands, and a face that was hidden between her hands, and shoulders that trembled you don’t know why, it won’t be crying, you can’t ask so much of someone who always leaves a trail of tears wherever he goes, but none of them are yours.” (p. 152).

Even if it is, in my way of seeing the reverse of life, Saramago remakes the sensible and the finite.


SARAMAGO, Jose. (2005) Intermitências da morte ( Intermittents of death). Brazil, São Paulo: Companhia das Letras.


Comentários estão fechados.