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fit-for-fitch
05-14-2014, 08:29 PM
Hi, I'm Lex, I'm new here c: Looking for some advice for a book I'm planning, set in a post-apocalyptic world. My main character has been blind in his right eye for years and has learned to adjust, but I'm planning on having his other eye be ripped out later in the book. Since this is a post-apocalyptic world, he'll have no technology or Braille to help him cope with losing his sight, so he'll probably just have a crude cane and nothing else. Any advice of how I should write his reactions to being blind, and how he can cope without modern inventions?

williemeikle
05-14-2014, 10:44 PM
I suggest watching the Denzel movie "The Book of Eli"

Jamesaritchie
05-15-2014, 12:32 AM
I suggest watching the Denzel movie "The Book of Eli"

Only if you want a character who has God for eyes.

Trebor1415
05-15-2014, 12:33 AM
Blind in the apocolypse? He's going to need some help from other people in the story or he's pretty much doomed.

Seriously, at least someone who was blind before TEOTWAWKI would have adapted. Someone who is newly blind, without any support structure, friends or family to help, is pretty much doomed.

Eli had help. Watch the movie and you'll see what I mean.

Once!
05-15-2014, 01:19 AM
The day of the triffids.

Orianna2000
05-16-2014, 06:09 AM
He's pretty much doomed, unless you have someone help him. If he can't see, he can't find food or water. Can't defend himself. Most people can adapt, given time, and will develop a superb sense of hearing to compensate for their blindness. Meanwhile, though, he's going to be pretty helpless.

There's also a high risk of infection and death from the accident that removes his eye. Depending on what kind of medical care he receives, of course. Do they have antibiotics? There are primitive antibiotics, such as honey, garlic, and wine, but I don't know how effective they would be against something like this. Or whether your characters would have access to them.

If he knows someone clever, they could carve him a very sophisticated cane. No need for it to be crude or rudimentary. Make it out of a lightweight, yet strong wood. Perhaps carve a grip into the top for his hand. It could even be collapsible, if they carve it hollow and add some elastic string down the middle. Think tent stakes. Heck, they could even use a scavenged aluminum tent stake! Just cut it down to size.

fit-for-fitch
05-16-2014, 07:05 AM
He's pretty much doomed, unless you have someone help him. If he can't see, he can't find food or water. Can't defend himself.

There's also a high risk of infection and death from the accident that removes his eye.

This is really helpful, thanks! As a teeny bit of background, my character is a really powerful man and is pretty much the ruler of eastern North America, so he defiantly has help in the form of people who will be with him, though most of them kind of think he's insane!
I can imagine that he would get pretty violent and try to lash out at anything and everything that makes a sound around him. He honestly might die pretty soon after the injury, though, now that I think about it. I was thinking of having him commit suicide, but he'll likely be extremely near death from infection anyway.

Bufty
05-16-2014, 01:19 PM
My guess is your character isn't going to remain in power for very much longer.

A post-apocalyptic dictator who goes blind wouldn't exactly have the greatest life-expectancy.

Once!
05-16-2014, 02:55 PM
I suppose it depends on whether you want to keep him alive or not.

There have been a few successful blind characters. The Marvel superhero Daredevil springs to mind. Then there is Zatoichi, the blind samurai. Williemeikle has already suggested the Book of Eli. "Blind Fury" is a film with Rutger Hauer.

All of them had skills or abilities which allowed them to survive, thrive and generally kick bottom.

If your character has sighted people to help him then there is no reason why he could not manage. That's why I suggested the Day of the Triffids, where sighted people and blind people work together.

Your character might force other people to help him. If he is such a powerful person he might be able to bully or coerce people into looking after him. Maybe he prepared for this eventuality in some way?

You're the writer. You can make this story go in almost any direction you want - with varying degrees of plausibility.

Or picture this ... let's say that your protagonist is the meanest, toughest, most amoral tyrant that the world has ever known. He will do anything to survive. A brutal dictator who was schooled as a street-fighter on the mean streets of ... oh, I don't know, some city or other. A man who will do anything to get his own way. Cunning, resourceful, pitiless.

A bit like my first wife, possibly ;-)

Now put this man into a seemingly impossible situation. He is blind in a post apocalyptic world and surrounded by enemies. But he - and you as the writer - are absolutely determined to keep him alive. His strength of will and mean SOB nature means that he will not give up.

How does he survive? Hell, I don't know. But I'd probably want to read it.

In other words, please don't ask us whether he would survive or not. Tell us a story where he tries. You are the writer.

fit-for-fitch
05-16-2014, 04:04 PM
I suppose it depends on whether you want to keep him alive or not.

There have been a few successful blind characters. The Marvel superhero Daredevil springs to mind. Then there is Zatoichi, the blind samurai. Williemeikle has already suggested the Book of Eli. "Blind Fury" is a film with Rutger Hauer.

All of them had skills or abilities which allowed them to survive, thrive and generally kick bottom.

If your character has sighted people to help him then there is no reason why he could not manage. That's why I suggested the Day of the Triffids, where sighted people and blind people work together.

Your character might force other people to help him. If he is such a powerful person he might be able to bully or coerce people into looking after him. Maybe he prepared for this eventuality in some way?

You're the writer. You can make this story go in almost any direction you want - with varying degrees of plausibility.

Or picture this ... let's say that your protagonist is the meanest, toughest, most amoral tyrant that the world has ever known. He will do anything to survive. A brutal dictator who was schooled as a street-fighter on the mean streets of ... oh, I don't know, some city or other. A man who will do anything to get his own way. Cunning, resourceful, pitiless.

A bit like my first wife, possibly ;-)

Now put this man into a seemingly impossible situation. He is blind in a post apocalyptic world and surrounded by enemies. But he - and you as the writer - are absolutely determined to keep him alive. His strength of will and mean SOB nature means that he will not give up.

How does he survive? Hell, I don't know. But I'd probably want to read it.

In other words, please don't ask us whether he would survive or not. Tell us a story where he tries. You are the writer.

Thank you very much X3 Definitely gives me a lot of ideas tbh, so I think I know how I'm gonna write this bit of the story now! Now I just have to start it XDD

jaksen
05-16-2014, 04:16 PM
Is he 100% totally blind? Living in a dark or black world?

Many blind people are not 100%. I had a number of students over the years who could see if something was held up close, or they could see an object or face directly in front of them. Some could see only in a 'blurry' sort of way and one could see light and dark. She could see if someone stepped between her and the window, for example. In fact she had a pretty acute sense of this and could tell when I approached. I asked her once if it was my 'smell' and she laughed and said something about my 'outline.'

If he was any of these, and you can certainly read up on this, he might be able to tell if a person was near, other than using sound or smell.

As for a heightened sense of hearing when blind? That's been debated. Hearing remains basically the same, it's the attentiveness to it which might be heightened. Small sounds which sighted people learn to ignore or pay no attention to, a blind person will. One parent told me her daughter 'could hear' when the family cat walked into the room, and then said if she (the mother) paid as much attention as her daughter did, she'd be able to hear the cat walk in, too.

btw I worked in an ordinary public school but occasionally would have a student with CP, who was deaf, blind, etc. Some parents wanted their children to be in the regular schools as much as possible. I actually had some students who insisted on it and 'refused' to go to special schools which catered to their disability. I had one 'blind student' who had books made which were about 3X the size of a regular book. With his nose right up to these huge books he could read the page.

Bing Z
05-16-2014, 04:18 PM
This is really helpful, thanks! As a teeny bit of background, my character is a really powerful man and is pretty much the ruler of eastern North America, so he defiantly has help in the form of people who will be with him, though most of them kind of think he's insane!
I can imagine that he would get pretty violent and try to lash out at anything and everything that makes a sound around him. He honestly might die pretty soon after the injury, though, now that I think about it. I was thinking of having him commit suicide, but he'll likely be extremely near death from infection anyway.

In that case you've shifted the question from wilderness survival to political games. As a dictator, blind or not, he can still eat the best food available and sleep with the "best looking" slaves. No much changes in lifestyle.

I think how he'll survive/thrive depends on his governing style, loyalties of other powerful people and his aides, benefit of keeping him alive (vs eating him alive), his reputation as a crucial icon, etc--circumstances that have been established prior to him becoming blind.

jaksen
05-16-2014, 04:21 PM
And btw, if this guy comes from an 'important' bloodline, depending on your society, their beliefs, etc., they might protect/help him at all costs.

LieForALiving
05-16-2014, 06:06 PM
I have worked with many blind people, and I can tell you that he will have a serious time adjusting, mostly due to extreme disorientation. I had children who had been blind their whole lives (though, as mentioned above, many could see a slightly darker outline of shapes against a dark background and could tell if they, say, passed a window on a sunny day--something you would NOT have if your eye was ripped out), and even they had great difficulty manipulating spaces they were not used to. When they started at the new school, we would have to walk them around and around, until they had built up a sort of map in their heads. They also had trouble remembering to use their canes, because they were young teens and people had always led them by the arm (therefore reducing the need to arch their cane in front of them and limiting their independence--but it was easier and teens love easier).

Also, having a cane doesn't mean you can use it properly--it needs to be the right kind of cane. A deaf person has to arch their cane rapidly back and forth in a light, swift movement so that it can make contact with any barriers or people. For this reason, a tent pole would be much better than something wooden--the hollowness not only allows it to fold up, but also keeps it light and easy to swing. Anything too short or too heavy will hinder the ability to arch, and he will run into things with his shoulders because his cane is not covering the 180 degree space in front of him. So make sure he gets the RIGHT kind of cane.

Also, the more that his people help him, the longer it will take this dictator to adjust. As long as someone is leading him by the arm or telling him everything that happens, his senses will NOT improve. He will not remember to arch the cane when he walks or count his steps or memorize directions. So while having lots of people around may help him in the short term, it will also probably hinder his long term progression. Attacking every sound he hears will also be an impossibility: Though you can tell the direction sounds come from, you cannot accurately judge the distance, and since his eye was torn out he will not see outlines. He would most likely fall down trying to attack, as he would need to arch his cane to find his opponent and swing or shoot or whatever at the same time. So he will probably spend a lot of time in a heap on the floor if this is his personality, which I suppose could lead to suicide.

One last note: Braille does not need to be high technology. It is actually a simple system, just another form of writing English (as opposed to a deaf person's ASL, which is a different language--this is why blind children often read better than deaf children). For each letter or common letter combo (like "ea") there are a possibility of six dots, in two columns of three. Depending on the dot pattern, it is a certain letter. It is not too hard to learn, and you can label things in Braille by taking a piece of card stock and pressing the letters into it from the back (raising them on the front). So you don't need high level technology to do it, just someone who is patient enough to learn Braille and transcribe for you.

Niccolo
05-16-2014, 09:12 PM
If he's really that powerful, it may be in his best interest to keep his full blindness a secret, if at all possible. As someone else said, a post-apocalyptic dictator with no vision whatsoever doesn't have the best odds. If he has a loyal servant or a few of them, who he can trust with his new-found vulnerability, then he would have significantly better odds. Infection immediately after the removal of his one good eye would be the biggest issue, but if he has that much political sway, finding good medicine shouldn't be much of an issue (this is just me thinking aloud, you know your story better than me).

Good luck and welcome to AW :)

jimmymc
05-16-2014, 11:27 PM
He can be blind as far as normal vision, but under certain circumstances be mentally capable of seeing as a secret 'sixth' sense.

StuckInMyHead
05-17-2014, 12:45 AM
He can be blind as far as normal vision, but under certain circumstances be mentally capable of seeing as a secret 'sixth' sense.
I like the idea of some secret power he got from the apocalypse...
Or maybe he fools people into thinking he has a secret power, but he really doesn't.
Or maybe he has a sidekick who acts as his eyes, and the sidekick has to be loyal because this guy has something on him.

So when will a draft of your story be done? I want to read it!

fit-for-fitch
05-17-2014, 03:00 AM
I like the idea of some secret power he got from the apocalypse...
Or maybe he fools people into thinking he has a secret power, but he really doesn't.
Or maybe he has a sidekick who acts as his eyes, and the sidekick has to be loyal because this guy has something on him.

So when will a draft of your story be done? I want to read it!

AAAaahhhHH the pressure's on XD No idea when it'll be done, I was planning on starting the planning way in advance and working on it for Nanowrimo this year but thank you very much for the support omigosh
Also I actually really like the idea of him fooling people into thinking he's got some secret ability, that sounds like something he would do... :)

fit-for-fitch
05-17-2014, 03:02 AM
Infection immediately after the removal of his one good eye would be the biggest issue, but if he has that much political sway, finding good medicine shouldn't be much of an issue (this is just me thinking aloud, you know your story better than me).

Good luck and welcome to AW :)

Thank you very much! x3 tbh my character dabbles in science and might be able to create some type of medicine if I want him to, muahaha... being an author is going to give me a major god complex, I can see it now XD

fit-for-fitch
05-17-2014, 03:09 AM
Attacking every sound he hears will also be an impossibility: Though you can tell the direction sounds come from, you cannot accurately judge the distance, and since his eye was torn out he will not see outlines. He would most likely fall down trying to attack, as he would need to arch his cane to find his opponent and swing or shoot or whatever at the same time. So he will probably spend a lot of time in a heap on the floor if this is his personality, which I suppose could lead to suicide.

This this this! I might actually be going for that, I'm not even sure myself now... I can imagine Chorion (finally outs his name because too lazy to keep calling him "my character") would start to drive himself insane because of this fact. Was that a gunshot or did something fall? How close was that to me? Is that footsteps, whose, where, etc. and each time he would have the instinct to attack (or try to, as the case may be). Not the best for the dude's ego, at the very least, and since he's used to being so independent all the time... I can imagine that might be the motivation for the suicide. Either that or maybe his people will turn against him, who knows