In the short story “The Country of the Blind,” the author H.G. Wells tries to convey a certain message. Wells expresses the theme of how man has difficulties adapting to change. The protagonist, Nunez, attempts to convince the villagers on the existence of sight but fails. The villagers are xenophobic therefore, are not willing to accept the truth and have difficulties to adapting change. Wells uses diction and setting to contribute to the understanding of this theme.The author uses diction to communicate the theme of how man has difficulties to adapt to change.
As Nunez tries to convince the villagers about the beauty of sight, it is evident that they have difficulties accepting this through the use of diction. When they describe eyes as “irritating bodies,” something that is extremely agitating, it shows that the villagers were impatient and bothered with his constant appreciation for his sight, therefore showing their narrow-mindedness (Wells, 1997:21).By also describing eyes as “queer things,” something that is not normal or odd, shows the communities unwillingness to acknowledge an outsider (Wells, 1997:21).
Moreover by describing Nunez’s sight as an “imagination” it shows that they believe his views are ridiculous and unrealistic (Wells, 1997:22). Additionally in response to the words vision and sight, the villagers would be “outraged” and “shocked.” Through their reactions Wells clearly shows how difficult it is for them to adapt and accept something new (Wells, 1997:25).The author also uses setting to communicate the theme of how man has difficulties to adapt to change. Wells locates the Country of the Blind in a completely isolated area surrounded by rocks and cliffs. Due to the geographical location of The Country of the Blind, it is cut off from the “exploring feet of men (Wells, 1997:4)” thus causing the villagers imagination to be “shrivelled (Wells, 1997:13).” The isolated location of the Country of the Blind clearly causes the villagers to have no flexibility and a lack of understanding of the modern society therefore making it hard for them to adapt to change.Furthermore, Wells describes the outside world surrounding the Country of the Blind as an area that is “frightful,” “icy,” and “incessant.” All three of these words have negative connotations that show the outside world to be chaotic and have extremely appalling living conditions (Wells,1997:4). Wells juxtaposes this to describing the Country of the Blind as an area that has “sweet water,” “beautiful flowers,” and “rich brown soil,” all that have positive connotations that show the Country of the Blind to be a phenomenal place (Wells, 1997:4). The juxtaposition between the two worlds shows that they view their land as perfect, therefore there is no need for the chaos that comes from the outside.Wells clearly expresses the theme of how man has difficulties adapting to change through the use of diction and setting. Nunez tries to educate the villagers on what is out there in the modern world, but they just neglect it and have difficulties in adapting to a new idea. Man will always have difficulties adapting to change from what they are well adjusted to, but man should atleast try to acknowledge and appreciate that there is something else in the world. Without loosing their traditional roots man should be willing to learn and knowledge themselves on the modernization taking over our world.