Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I am Legend Pt 1

I thought that the beginning of this book was very interesting. In my blog this week I would like to discuss the differences of the vampires in this novel compared to the ones in “Dracula”. First off Robert Neville talks about the things he uses to keep the vampires away from his home. on on page 14 garlic is brought up as a defense, “He’d put garlic there instead. Garlic always worked.” This is similar to how Van Helsing used garlic in “Dracula.” “He punched holes in each clove half, then strung them all together with wire till he had 25 necklaces (pg 15).” In “Dracula” Van Helsing would make similar necklaces of garlic for Lucy to wear whie she slept to keep the count away from her. Robert Neville then brings up the myth of mirrors and being able to turn into a bat and fly. “According to the legend, they were invisible in mirrors, but he knew this was untrue. As untrue as the belief that they transformed themselves into bats (pg 28).” This contradicts two things that were shown in “Dracula.” When Dracula comes behind Jonathan who is looking in a mirror, he cannot see Dracula, but in “I am Legend” the vampires are scared of mirrors and break them with stones. Dracula also turns into a bat and flew into Lucy’s window and would bash his wings against it to wake her to open the window. It is also funny that later in “I am Legend” Robert Neville describes a vampire that is trying to jump off a roof because he thinks he will turn into a bat. Another thing that is brought up is the idea of the cross. While in “I am Legend,” the cross affects Christians but Neville also says, “‘Why should a Jew fear the cross?’ He said. ‘Why should a vampire who had been a Jew fear it? Most people were afraid of becoming vampires. Most of them suffer from hysterical blindness before mirrors. But as far as the cross goes—well, neither a Jew nor a Hindu nor a Mohammedan nor an atheist, for that matter, would fear the cross.’” So in “ Dracula” the cross just effects every vampire but in “I am Legend” you have to use the symbol of the religion for it to effect the vampire. Neville also talks about how to kill vampires. Throughout the start of this book he tries to think of the reason why the stake works. He has many different logics that he comes up with. The first one is hemorrhage. However, there is just some feeling that he has that tells him it is more than that. He first starts to talk about the myth of having to stake a vampire through the heart. He says, “At first I thought the stake had to hit their hearts,…I believed the legend. I found out that wasn’t so. I put stakes in all parts of their bodies and they died. That made me think it was hemorrhage. But then one day…I k new it couldn’t be hemorrhage…I didn’t know what to do. Then one day it came to me… the bacillus is a facultative saprophyte. It lives with or without oxygen; but with a difference. Inside the system, it is anaerobic and sets up symbiosis with the system. The vampire feeds it fresh blood. The germ also causes, I might add, the growth of canine teeth.(pg 144-145).”  So basically Neville is explaining that the oxygen that hits the vampire’s blood is what makes it decompose. Another thing in this quote I want to touch on is that the germ causing canine teeth. This idea is similar to that in “Dracula” when Lucy transforms into a vampire her teeth begin to grow and sharpen.

1 comment:

  1. The connections between “I Am Legend” and “Dracula” were very interesting. It is interesting to see what aspects of vampire legend have carried over and which have not, because it seems to reflect the evolution of the vampire genre itself. Based on the book we have read in this class, it seems as though the genre is constantly changing. The excerpt you include from pg. 28 was a very good example of that. While it is true that Neville’s use of garlic is more or less consistent with the vampire mythology in “Dracula”, but their reaction to mirrors is different. Do you think that maybe certain aspects of vampire mythology were weeded out because they interfered with the believability of vampires, thus interfering with their overall scariness? Maybe it just got to a point where people were just like “What? They transform into bats? That’s not scary, that’s ridiculous.” Who knows?