On the flight back from
The storyline, clearly meant to be an allegory, is not what stands out in The Cave. Instead it’s Saramago’s stream-of-consciousness style that captures the reader as he fills in the characters’ motivations and reactions to events around them or interrupts the story with side discussions about storytelling, family foibles, or the meaning of literature. Amidst it all there are retellings of creation myths, the story of Adam and Eve, and Plato’s myth of the cave, which is retold several different times in different contexts. In several places The Cave and The Matrix echoed off each other in interesting ways. All of this is going on while Saramago is of course also making a point regularly found in his writing, critiquing the evils of corporate capitalism and consumer culture.
If I was allowed to choose my own texts for courses I teach, The Cave would be ideal to assign to my introductory philosophy class that spends 2/3rds of the semester reading Plato as a postmodern reading of the ancient myth. It'd give them a sense of how the dialogues they've been studying continue to live in newer settings. With standardized texts, though, all I can do is mention it as worth reading when we get to the part of the course on The Republic.