Saturday, December 18, 2010

Robert Neville, Mr. Lonely

In order to find Robert on Facebook Please search: "Robert Danger Neville" and he lives in Los Angeles.

-Please do not try and add him as a friend, his whole page is completely public and I feel it will take away from the idea if he starts adding friends. Thanks!

Robert Neville Has No Friends
When I found out that we could do a creative option for our final project I immediately got excited because I could do something that plays to my strengths and with almost no rules. This is the first time I could utilize my creative talents in a long time, science just doesn’t call for this that often. I made a Facebook page for my favorite (and most interesting) character Robert Neville. What my main focus for this was to really showcase the loneliness and frustration he feels everyday of his life. I think making a Facebook page for the only known human on the planet, which at its core is a way to meet and keep in contact with people, is a great contrast that shows how lonely life really would be if you were in his position. There is something really sad about seeing someone with a page that they update several times a day with no one to read or respond to it, ever. It is almost like an internet journal that he can keep his thoughts written down and express whatever he feels he needs to, although no one will ever read it but himself.
Some of the best parts of this project lie in the posts he makes. I really tried to make him emotional when he posts, either depressed or frustrated to the point where he sometimes loses control for a short while. Finding content from recent history that plays into the loneliness aspect of his world was probably the most fun, an example being the Akon song that Robert posted one of the days he was feeling particularly lonesome. This was a great way to integrate technology from today into his life.
After weeks of working on the page, getting pictures, updating his info, daily status updates, it has turned out great. I tried to make it a powerful idea that he is all alone, but keep it somewhat light by using some of the content of his personality to make it funny. A good example of this is when he posts on his wall about his current thoughts; he is the only one to “like” it. This makes one feel bad for him, considering he is probably devastated that no one will ever be there to “like” it, but also its humorous because “liking” you own posts is commonly regarded as a vain practice by today’s Facebook standards. I think when readers examine his profile page and see that he has no friends, yet lots of content, it hits home that he was the main character in one of the greatest novels depicting human solitude and loneliness. The goal for me was to emphasize his isolated world and I think that after reading his information and full page the readers will get that feeling and understand what he is going through.
This project was fun because it allowed me to constantly come up with new ideas to poke fun at his situation while still getting the point across. There are several not so obvious things about the profile that accent Robert’s isolation in the world and sadness that he has lost all of his family and friends. Some of these things will require looking at all the small details of the page, such as the email address he choose to use to create his account. The fact that there were obviously no computers or Facebook when the novel was written gave me the creative freedom to integrate old ideas from the novel with technology and the new ways of communicating. This being shown when Robert posted links to books he is reading on his wall and becoming a fan of things such as “weapons” and “whiskey”.
There was no need for continual revising because this was an ongoing project that I could add to content to whenever I wanted. I could be sitting in class and come up with a good idea and just go add it without changing the rest of his profile. Many of the things Robert posted were things he was thinking at that exact moment. When he gets frustrated he likes to think out loud on his wall, sometimes cussing and taking refuge in the bottle.
An idea that I keep thinking about during this project was how technology creates people who are isolated just like Neville. I used technology to show how isolated Neville is in his everyday life, but in reality technology is creating more and more isolated people every day. Today we are connected in many different ways, calling, texting, emailing, tweeting, and more. These connect us to other people in more ways than in Roberts time period, but they seem to be shallow and less meaningful when compared to face to face human interaction. Making this page for Robert really made me aware of how technology can create relationships that can sometimes have less depth than if you were to meet someone in person. For this reason things like Facebook and Twitter can be diluting to human friendships.
Robert Neville is the only human left on earth and he deals with it in many ways, sometimes becoming frustrated and sometimes drinking his sorrows away. Facebook is a program that was designed to keep people in contact and make new friends, and it is for this exact reason that we are able to understand how alone Neville feels when he is posting and updating his profile. Seeing zero friends and no comments by anyone but himself shows perfectly what he is going through. I am glad I got to do this project because I feel it gets the idea of his true sorrow and despair right to where the readers live. “Sometimes he had indulged in daydreams about finding someone. More often, though, he had tried to adjust to what he sincerely believed was the inevitable — that he was actually the only one left in the world. At least in as much of the world as he could ever hope to know (Robert Neville, I am Legend)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Final Blog Post

I was a little nervous coming into this course because it was A.) the first online course I have ever taken and B.) an English course. I have not taken anything but science classes since my freshman year and I did not know how I was going to handle it. The main thing I think I really got out of this class was a new appreciation for the vampire figure. I have never been a big fan of vampires, mostly because of all the fuss about the twilight series and what not, but I now realize that vampires have a much more serious history and people can learn things from them and their (mostly) sad stories. Also many of the vampires of the books we read were very different and showed a great deal of diversity.
Another thing that came along in this course was the blogging, I have never done it before and I’m glad I got to have a constant reason to learn how. It is a very different feeling posting and commenting in an online community rather than a class room; I find it much more stress free since I don’t care for public speaking much. Overall the class structure was just fine, it was enough work to keep you busy and interested yet not enough to slow me down doing my other work.
My final project actually got me excited because I never really get a chance to show my creative side in any of my science classes. I think my Facebook page for Robert Neville is going to showcase his actual living situation very well. His loneliness is presented and interpreted very easily when shown on a “friendship making” program. I am glad to see how it turned out and I think it may make some of the people who look at it laugh. I definitely think the final project made me think more about what is going on in Roberts head, more than the just reading the book. This class was different from anything I have ever done and I can legitimately say I enjoyed myself.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Little Monsters Causing a Ruckus

Little Monsters Causing a Ruckus
“There’s nothing like a little monster to inspire terror among grown-ups (Calhoun p. 1).”
In John Calhoun’s Childhood’s End: Let the Right One In and Other Deaths of Innocence he explores a few different topics while referencing many movies, stories and films. The media he uses range from the early 1900s to the present and all have one thing in common: creepy, corrupt, and mysteriously evil children. Calhoun goes on to show what it is about this type of media that is so compelling. When the role of children is changed from one of innocence and vulnerability, to one in which they are cunning, evil, and dangerous, it not only terrifies, but captivates, the audience.
To the human mind, the unknown is a common cause of the emotion we call fear. It is for this reason that children, expected to be ignorant, innocent, and vulnerable, can be so terrifying when this role is reversed. Within their socially acceptable role, children are predictable. When they are unconstrained to this role, it calls into question everything adults take for granted about how children act. Calhoun uses the following quote to describe why it is so terrifying to see children as these films depict them:
“But in the world of Let the Right One In, and of the little-monster subgenre in general, the character can be seen as much more than this: she is a repository of adult fears about children, who are so like us yet in crucial ways so different, who are both vulnerable and demanding, and in touch with the id in ways that can elicit great anxiety and discomfort, especially when sexual stirrings begin to take form (Calhoun p.1).”
With this quote, Calhoun explains how the taboo of children, unaware of social norms and rules that adults abide by and who pursue what they want, combined with adult-like intelligence and personality, brings forth fears that the unthinkable, forbidden, and unknown, could occur. There are many examples of this fear of the unknown in this genre. One in particular is Village of the Damned. This was produced in the 1960s and involved a village wide blackout that resulted in the impregnation of every single woman in the village, even the virgins. The children that are then born are sophisticated, experience accelerated growth, and can control adults with their eyes. No one in the village knows how or why they came and generally don’t know what to do about them, thus causing terror and panic among the villagers.
Another idea that is unnerving to the public is that of a child’s seeming vulnerability. If you were to see a small child huddled in a dark alley shivering, you would probably help them, would you not? Now what if this child suddenly lunged out at you and aggressively bit and fed itself on your flesh? Because of their perceived innocence we dismiss the danger that could come from a child. In these horror movies, children are not the ones that need protection, but rather the other characters need protection from them. Calhoun states, “The power of children to inspire pity and terror—because of their vulnerability, because of their uncontrollability—has once again moved to the cultural front, not least at the movies (Calhoun p.6).” With this quote, Calhoun explains how the various elements of these films has helped them to not only become popular at the box office, but has aided in creating a cultural phenomenon.
All of the previously mentioned ways children can be scary involve them having powers or knowledge that normal children do not possess. However, do not think this is the only way children can be scary. There are plenty of ways that children can be very frightening just being terrible to other children. Calhoun agrees by ending with a sobering remark, “The torment he (Oskar from Let the Right One In) undergoes at the hands of the boys at school is unusually violent, easily making the point that monstrous children can come in forms other than the supernatural variety (Calhoun p.6).” This is completely true; none of bullies possess anything special except a broken home and desire to cause pain and suffering to others. This is most frightening to adults when children, who are suppose to be care-free and innocent, are showing adult emotions and evil intentions. The fact that these children have learned these drives so early in life and are tormenting others can be emotionally disturbing, these situations may happen and do happen in everyday life, not just in film.
Frankly, I think this image of “devil” children in horror films scares the hell out of most people. With our image of children being so sweet and innocent we picture them as vulnerable and in need of our protection; when this is reversed and we are placed in danger because of these children it can be quiet shocking when they deviate from the social norms we are used to. John Calhoun gives a good proposal for why it is that they are so disturbing, using ideas like their vulnerability and innocence to showcase how abnormal it is when these roles are reversed.

1.) What characteristics does Eli have that go against the social norms expected of children?
2.) What about Eli’s history makes her captivating to the audience?
3.) How do Eli and her actions reflect what Oskar is feeling inside during his encounters with his tormenters?

Works Cited
Calhoun, John. Childhood’s End: Let the Right One In and Other Deaths of Innocence

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Let the right one in

Before I started reading this novel I had no idea what it was about. When I did start to read it didn’t seem very strange at all until I found out that the man that one of the main characters was living with was a pedophile. This is a dark and controversial topic to bring into a novel, much less a vampire novel which expresses sex frequently. I was a bit unnerved when I found out Hakan was a pedophile because the idea of pedophilia just plain makes me sick. I was not sure whether or not I wanted to keep reading for fear of what might happen in the story, never the less I continued. I got even more weird for me when the author explained that Eli was now a girl but was once a boy that was castrated many years ago. The relationship between Eli and Hakan is a strange one. He basically is a former teacher turned bum from the results of his sexual habits. He lives with Eli and works for her, getting her blood that she needs to live. He is a pathetic older man who only desires to be with Eli sexually and will do nearly anything to accomplish this, though besides his sexual desires he also receives money for acquiring blood. Eli needs him to get fresh blood because it is hard to come by when you are trapped in a little girls body and cannot walk around in the daylight.
Eli and Oskar’s relationship is, for lack of better wording, more healthy then that of creepy Hakan. Its kind of strange how in this book both Eli and Oskar are victims of very different but equally (for them) devastating problems. Eli is forever imprisoned in a little girls body and constantly needs fresh blood to survive. Oskar on the other hand is being bullied and tormented by some kids at school for being skinny and smarter than they. Even though Eli’s problem seems to be greater, being physically and emotionally abused can be very devastating to a younger boy. I think the fact that they both are sad and locked in this crappy life is the reason they lock onto each other and become so close. Their friendship solidifies and Oskar fights back against his tormentors. They retaliate but Eli comes to Oskars rescue and they flee their home with the belongings and most importantly themselves and their friendship. They survived together because they built a relationship on their mutual life problems and help one another when they need it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Final Project

I would like to follow one of my favorite characters for our final project, the legend himself, Robert Neville. I was thinking about making a facebook page for him, complete with daily updates, biography, photos, opinions, and interests. I think I could make some pretty funny material for him considering the last thing he would ever need is facebook. My only question would be should I do it on the novel Neville or the Will Smith edition of Neville. The only reason I ask is because I did my online artifact on the movie and how much Richard Matheson hates the movie adaptations. So most likely I will do the novel Robert but I just want to know which Robert Neville you would rather see. Also I would then do paper explaining my project.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Interview with a vampire part 2

The ending of this novel kind of took me by surprise. I guess after hearing all the pain suffering and pure evil Louis has seen in his life I would never want to experience that, ever. I think the thing the boy does not realize is that if you have eternal life then you and you alone have eternal life. This means that everyone you have ever known, befriended, or loved will die before your eyes and you will be left alone to carry on. I don’t think he realizes this nor does he understand how hard that will be to deal with. One other thing that he would have to see is watch time pass on our society, keeping up with technology and how the world is changing, including wars that happen.
"I beg you . . . give it all one more chance. One more chance in me! “said the boy. The vampire turned to him, his face as twisted with anger as before. And then, gradually, it began to become smooth. The lids came down slowly over his eyes and his lips lengthened in a smile. He looked again at the boy. " I've failed, " he sighed, smiling still. "I have completely failed. . " (264-265)
Louis knew what would lie ahead of anyone who was turned into a vampire, and he never wished that upon anyone, not even his enemies. I think Louis told his story to the boy to try and teach him a lesson of life and how not to live. The boy obviously did not get that message because even after hearing a two hundred year old story of heartache and despair he still was stupid enough to want to become one just to have the powers they possess.
Then, drawing a small white pad out of his pocket, and a pen, he set these on
the table and touched the button of the recorder. The tape spun fast
backwards until he shut it off. When he heard the vampire's voice, he
leaned forward, listening very carefully, then hit the button again for
another place, and, hearing that, still another. But then at last his face
brightened, as the reels turned and the voice spoke in an even
modulated tone: " It was a very warm evening, and I could tell as soon
as I saw him on St. Charles that he had someplace to go . . .' " (265)
The boy did basically the exact opposite of what I would have done. Had I heard this terribly sad story about a young man who was turned into a vampire and then forced to live a life he did not agree with, I would have went running for the hills. I would have published the story so that others could know his sadness and hopefully not make the same mistakes he has. I just can’t believe the boy did not understand the point Louis was trying to make.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Interview with a vampire part 1

In many novels the story that is being told can change depending on the perspective from which it is being told. In Interview With A Vampire a man named Louis, who was made into a vampire, is telling the story. Most stories of vampires seem to try and portray the vampire character as the bad or evil one. This is more or less accomplished by telling the story through human eyes and how they see or hear the vampire character performing acts that do not correspond with what is socially acceptable. With the story being told by a human then you feel sympathetic towards them and hatred towards the vampire. This is what happens when the roles are reversed as well, at least I believe it does in this instance, it all depends on the point of view. Louis tells his story compassionately, leaving the reader to feel connected to him and his tale even though he is a vampire and feeds on our kind. Louis does have human emotions, which is one of the reasons it is hard to dislike him, even though he is a vampire and needs to feed on our own flesh and blood to stay alive.
“You do dream! " said the boy.
Often, " said the vampire. " I wish sometimes that I did not. For such dreams, such long and clear dreams I never had as a mortal; and such twisted nightmares I never had either. In my early days, these dreams so absorbed me that often it seemed I fought waking as long as I could and lay sometimes for hours ' g of these dreams until the night was half gone; and dazed by them I often wandered about seeking to understand their meaning. They were in many ways as elusive as the dreams of mortals. I dreamed of my brother, for instance, that he was near me in some state between life and death, calling to me for help. And often I dreamed of Babette; and often-almost always-there was a great wasteland backdrop to my dreams, that wasteland of night rd seen when cursed by Babette as I've told you. It was as if all figures walked and talked on the desolate home of my damned soul.”(59)
It seems that Louis is haunted by the things he has done in his life and is unhappy about being a vampire. This is the first time we have seen the vampire character express unhappiness with the life he lives, disagreeing with the practice of feeding on humans, and showing remorse for the lives he takes. I think this is a different style of vampire book but one that should be analyzed more carefully, and possibly realize that maybe not all vampires are evil. Well perhaps they are but it’s only in their nature and maybe they don’t agree with their nature it is just what has to be done to stay alive.