I am Legend by Richard Matheson
Robert Neville has witnessed the end of the world. The entire population has been obliterated by a vampire virus. Somehow, Neville survived. He must now struggle to make sense of everything that has happened and learn to protect himself against the vampires who hunt him constantly. He must, because perhaps there is nothing else human left. I Am Legend was a major influence in horror and brought a whole new thematic concept to apocalyptic literature. Several humanistic and emotional themes in this book blend the horror genre with traditional fiction: we see Neville as an emotional person, and observe as he suffers bouts of depression, dips into alcoholism and picks up his strength again to fight the vampiric bacteria that has infected (and killed off) most of humankind. Neville soon meets a woman, Ruth, (after three years alone), who seems to be uninfected and a lone survivor. The two become close and he learns from Ruth that the infected have learned to fight the disease and can spend short amounts of time in the daylight, slowly rebuilding strength and society as it was. The novel was adapted to film in 1964 as The Last Man on Earth, as Omega Man in 1971 and finally as I am Legend in 2007, starring Will Smith.
Wow, to sum up I am Legend by Richard Matheson: it is Intense. Robert Neville is fighting to survive every day, or rather night, as the last surviving human. A plague has turned the rest of the population, including his friends, family and neighbors in to bloodthirsty creatures, monsters, zombies, vampires, whatever you would like to call them. They are the plague’s fall out. The undead looking to feast on humans.
It is very interesting getting the feel for Neville’s life, alone, fighting off the vampires every night, running errands, doing chores and hunting vulnerable vampires by day. His life is so very lonely. There is definitely the feeling that its futile, maybe he would be better to end it, yet, he can’t quite go there. But living on like he is, what is the purpose? He is completely isolated, and confined to within range of his house (what used to be a home, but is now just a place to secure every day), restricted to move when the sun is out.
How must it be to fight for your life every night against creatures that have taken everyone you know and love from you (or turned them into vampires to join the fight against you)? This book does a phenomenal job relating the feelings of conflict, anguish, grief and guilt that Neville feels.
This is the story of one man trying to tackle the world’s problems. It is very striking, very memorable and very dismal. Mixed in with this, there would be sudden flashes of the lack of normalcy, as Neville would remember a place or a thing and how it used to be before the plague.It really accentuated his quiet existence alone in what used to be normal society, really increasing the impact.
But really, what stuck with me most is the ending. Absolutely loved the ending. I don’t want to say anything beyond that to avoid spoilers, but will leave it with I honestly can’t imagine a better ending to this book. It has to be one of my favorite endings of any book. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s dark and powerful and highly recommended.
7 thoughts on “I am Legend by Richard Matheson”
This is a bit of a grim read really – dismal being a very apt word for it! But the ending is brilliant.
Agreed. I absolutely love the ending. Think it’s one of my favorite endings, just perfect really.
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