Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Am Legend Part One

To be honest, I was not at all excited to read this book. I am not a fan of scary movies and though some may not classify I Am Legend as a scary movie, I sure do, and I found it really hard to watch. SO you can imagine my excitement at reading this.
I actually found that I enjoyed Matheson's writing though. It is easy to feel for Neville; his anguish is transferred through the pages very realistically.
I found the novel to be very much less stressful than the movie except for the sexual theme introduced. It was weird, and pretty unnecessary, if you ask me. Maybe Matheson wrote it in to add to Neville's humanity, but I think that his pain is already human enough. The fact that it was introduced on one of the first pages was also a bit much. It was as if Matheson wanted to make sure that the reader knew that Neville was still very much a man. It seemed obvious to me, but I don't know, maybe not to others.
The most obvious difference between the vampires in I Am Legend and the others we have read about is their complete lack of intelligence. Matheson's vampires are mindless, only focused on hunting down Neville. Whereas the other vampires we've read about are refined and interesting. They are able to see beyond their thirst and have interests besides drinking blood. This gives them humanity where Matheson's vampires have none. From this, I believe that Matheson is making a comment on his society's humanity. This book was written soon after World War II and could be a comment on the war's ending. I Am Legend is also an apocolyptic novel, therefore it could be a comment on the atomic bombs and the world ceasing to exist because of them.


  1. I like your take on the reading. But I am slightly confused in the statement you made about Matheson's vampires are mindless and the other vampires we have read about have other interests. I think that the main goal of every vampire is to drink blood no doubt about it. I think the difference between the vampires in this novel versus the others we have read would be the great ordeals the other vampires go through to appear to be something that they are not. Matheson's vampires are just down right blood suckers they are not trying to portray anything more. They don't need to change their names or live in big fancy castles they are just being who they are. They are going to hunt and kill and then go to bed. It seems like with the other vampires they just want to put on a show of deception.

  2. Matheson's vampires are more instinctual I think, they're just driven to their need for blood. Even though they aren't given a personality like Carmilla or Dracula, they are basically the same. I mean, you could give each of the vampires a story and a bigger part in the plot but I think the focus is on Neville and his struggles of survival. Vampires in this book aren't romantic at all--in fact they're pretty repulsive so they're probably just there as monsters and an obstacle for the main character.

    The desire Neville feels when he sees the women acting badly seemed a little sudden for me too, but I suppose I can understand. It's just one more way for him to feel lonely and frustrated. The vampires might be playing on his frustrations to try and get to him.

  3. I really enjoyed your take on the aspect of these vampires being instinctual. These vampires has it out for Neville and wanted him dead. This concept of protecting what is yours also comes through in the novel as well. I find this characteristic in men commonly, they have this instinct to protect their own. Much like the vampires in the novel, they where out to get Neville. ALso the way in which Neville was protecting the last thing he had which was his homestead and his life. I have to disagree with the vampires being mindless although, I did not get that feeling from them, they had a mission and wanted to accomplish it and where not going to let anything stand in their way.

  4. I think that he added the sexual parts because he wanted the reader to see how he resisted. And the fact that he resisted his desires is the important thing to be, because he does not want to be contaminated by the vampires. I read the I Am Legend essay this week, because it was my turn for literary criticism, and it was about the racial undertones of this novel. If you think about the novel in this way, with Robert as one race and the vampires as another, it really gives meaning to this resistance.
    He did not want himself to become a part of their race. And he did not want to be 'contaminated' by them.

  5. i agree, i think Matheson's vampires are different. But they aren't mindless. They know what they want and they wait outside of Neville's house every night waiting. The other vampires that we've read about just tried harder to fit in and to fool their victims into thinking they were normal people. Matheson's vampires didn't have to fool anybody because Neville was the only human left and he was fully aware of what they were.

  6. I was actually really excited to read this book mainly because my friend read it and told me it was good. I have also seen the movie and really liked it but I definitely agree with you about it being really scary.
    I also wrote about the differences between the vampires in this book and in the other ones we've read. The vampires here seem so unintelligent compared to the others. The fact that they are talking directly to Neville and the women are trying to seduce him did take me by surprise though. I was thinking of them how they are portrayed in the movie; much more zombie like.
    As for the women. I agree that the sexual situations that take place in the book took me off guard too. I do not really like reading about it because it makes me uncomfortable but I believe that is exatly why Matheson put it in the book. He could have tried to romanticize it for the reader or clean it up but what he is writing is real and raw, which is the exact situation that Neville is in; something real and raw.

  7. Also I have already read Interview With A Vampire and I think you might notice some similarities to the vampires in there compared to Matheson's vampires.