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.

Questions:
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.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

EXTRA CREDIT BLOG: Isolation U

A Brain is a Terrible Thing to Waste

I decided to go to the extra credit opportunity Colleen emailed us about last week. I thought it was going to be a bigger lecture but it was only in a small room with about fifteen other people. You know the saying, “ I didn’t understand a word you just said”? It could not have been more true for me during this lecture, with absolutely no exaggeration whatsoever. The main speaker threw around words I not only did not understand, but words I have never heard before. I was literally swimming in a sea of confusion for which there was no escaping. I suppose this is the reason I stick to science. Besides the fact that I had no idea what he was talking about most of the time, I did pick up a few key points. He was talking about zombies and their effects and meaning in video games. He and a group of his students were making/testing a new game in which they developed that was an interactive, on campus, zombie game. It required students to carry around a small computer that is oriented by GPS and would prompt you to different scenarios based on where you were on campus. Personally, I would consider myself a “gamer” and it sounded pretty lame, especially when he was describing how it represented a bunch of stuff I don’t know anything about.
He did make some really good point throughout the rambling, some that really made me think. He compared zombies to a few different things in our society, such as video games. He addressed the fact that many people think that playing video games turns people into zombies, sitting staring for long periods of time with little intellectual thought. He appeared to be an avid gamer because he countered this statement by comparing gaming to work, “sitting for extended periods of time, inputting commands into a mouse and keyboard, and having little interaction with real people”.
Another thing he said was that the zombies in media today represent the AIDS epidemic, for which the reasons are obvious; everyone being scared of catching this super virus that causes the infected to eventually die. He also mentioned the fact that zombies represent conformity in society, which in my opinion, could be true. Zombies all conform together because they have nothing else to do besides try and find something to feed on. Overall I didn’t learn much from this presentation but it was interesting at some points and I am glad I went. It would have been much better if I could understand more than ten percent of it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Racism in Neville

I guess while I was reading I Am Legend I breezed over the subtle references to racism towards African Americans. Patterson brings up many examples that show how Matheson has incorporated the early 1900s racism into his writing, even though not all people who read the story probably pick up on it. Truth be told its really no surprise that there is racism (or sexism for that matter) in this novel taking into consideration the time it was written. In 1954 a large portion of the white race was still exhibiting prejudice towards African Americans. It seems Richard Matheson leaked some of this historic hatred into his novel through a drunken Neville. Neville even goes so far as to compare the vampire plague he is now dealing with to the black plague of the middle ages saying, ““Something black and of the night had come crawling out of the Middle Ages” (28).
During one of his drunken thoughts he gives a very sobering example of why racism still exists in our culture. Neville describes the vampire in its entirety, a human-like creature with different needs than animals and men. He asks the question of what is really so bad about them? All that differs from vampires and men are a few things; one of those is that they drink blood. It is because of one simple fact that they are biased against; men fear what they do not understand. Neville points out that the creatures have no social significance, no education, and no support from anyone else. This can be said about African American slaves as well. It is true then what Neville deduces, no wonder they find themselves preying on humans in the dark of night, what else would you do?
“The keynote of minority prejudice is this: They are loathed because they are feared …
But are his needs any more shocking than the needs of other animals and men? ... Really, now, search your soul … is the vampire so bad?
All he does is drink blood.
Why, then, this unkind prejudice, this thoughtless bias? Why cannot the vampire live where he chooses? Why must he seek out hiding places where none can find him out? Why do you wish him destroyed?
Ah, see, you have turned the poor guileless innocent into a haunted animal. He has no means of support, no measures for proper education, he has not the voting franchise. No wonder he is compelled to seek out a predatory nocturnal existence.” (32)
The similarities between how he describes the hatred of vampires and racism are incredible, and very unnerving. It brings about a question we can ask ourselves, why does the hatred still exist in our culture? Why can we not live together without the hatred for another, mostly with no apparent reason except that we know little to nothing about each other?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Online Artifact

One Man Against Insuperable Odds
“I don't know why Hollywood keeps coming back to the book just to not do it the way I wrote it. The book should have been filmed as is at the time it came out. It's too late now” (Scoleri). When asked about his thoughts on “Hollywood’s continued fascination” (Scoleri), with his novel from John David Scoleri, chief operator of the unofficial I Am Legend Archive website, Richard Matheson responded with this revealing statement. Throughout the interview, Matheson dispels rumors that his novel is more than an entertaining read, and criticizes how his novel has been adapted by various filmmakers. He does not hesitate to voice his disappointment with the outcome of these adaptations. In fact, Richard Matheson proves to be much like his character in I am Legend by remaining true to his 1952 novel in spite of the powerful trends of today’s multi-million dollar film industry. Matheson continues his writing theme of “one man against insuperable odds” (Scoleri) in his personal life as he rejects the interpretations and adaptations of I Am Legend by critics and filmmakers intent on making its message reflect their own agenda.
Throughout the interview, Scoleri tries to unearth Matheson’s hidden agenda behind I Am Legend. Unfortunately for Scoleri, Matheson has a more simplistic view on his novel than, in my opinion, Scoleri thought. I believe that Matheson wrote the novel because he thought it would be an enjoyable novel that portrays what could happen to civilization if we were to keep experimenting with different viruses. Scoleri is looking for more from him, saying “Critics performing analysis of I Am Legend often say it is a metaphor for the spread of communism, especially since it was written during the height of the cold war” (Scoleri). It’s clear from the conversation that Matheson really did not intend to reflect a real world situation in his novel, he just wanted to write a novel that people would enjoy. The fact that Matheson rejects the idea that his novel is about more than just sci-fi entertainment shows that he dislikes being grouped together with other novels that try to send a message about the current social climate through their works. It appears that Matheson is much like Neville, in that he stands out from the majority of classic popular authors as an author writing for entertainment, rather than writing to send a political or social message. I think that if you read too much into this novel, such as trying to attach references to past political situations of the time, that the reader may misconstrue what the story means. Matheson simply wishes for the reader to be entertained from his novel. Matheson wants his story to hold on to its entertainment value, rather than be replaced by one in which the reader is searching for clues to tie into real life events.
Matheson is again displeased when the discussion turns to his thoughts on what Hollywood has done with his novel. Film and novels rarely mesh together in a way that pleases the reader and Matheson proves this to be true as he criticizes the film adaptations of his novel. Scoleri asks Matheson questions about the film adaptations of I Am Legend and what he thinks of the scripts written for these films. From Matheson’s answers it is pretty obvious that he is not happy with any interpretation so far. Matheson is steady in his insistence that his novel is the one and only true version of I Am Legend. I think he is very displeased with what Hollywood has done to his masterpiece and he believes that no one, other than himself, will provide a script or movie that does the novel justice.
For instance, the vampire aspect is in no doubt a large part of Matheson’s novel. The social aspect of movies oftentimes can cause large parts of novels to be changed. For example, large film studios often change novels to appeal to the broadest audience in terms of entertainment and social context. If you have ever watched the Will Smith/Francis Lawrence version of I Am Legend, you may notice that the creatures appear to be more zombie-like than vampires. They lose their hair and their skin is blotchy grey, resembling the undead rather than the “Dracula” type vampire. The film studio changed the way these creatures were portrayed in the book to make the story more appealing to film audience. If the movie had been made after the Twilight craze instead of before, it is likely the creatures would have stayed more vampire-like. This I’m sure is just one of the many reasons Matheson does not like the film adaptations of his novel.
Matheson’s theme of “one man in the face of insurmountable odds” (Scoleri) is clearly seen in his interview with Scoleri. Despite many attempts by others to change his novel for their own purposes, Matheson holds steady in stating that none of the interpretations of adaptations of his novel can really be thought of as reflecting the original story. He holds firm the idea that his original novel has never been accurately remade and in these attempts to stand up for his original work finds himself alone against many determined to make his novel popular by changing the message of the story.





Works Cited
Scoleri, John David. "Interview with Richard Matheson."
The I Am Legend Archive. 15 June 2008. Web. 28 October 2010. .

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Alive Than the Living?

Vampires are often made to seem more alive than humans. They appear more beautiful and enticing than a normal human and they seem to attract both sexes very easily. This is strange to me given the fact that Van Helsing considers them undead. “You do not know that, friend John, but you shall know it later, and in trance could he best come to take more blood. In trance she dies, and in trance she is Un-Dead, too. So it is that she differ from all other. Usually when the Un-Dead sleep at home," as he spoke he made a comprehensive sweep of his arm to designate what to a vampire was `home', "their face show what they are, but this so sweet that was when she not Un-Dead she go back to the nothings of the common dead. There is no malign there, see, and so it make hard that I must kill her in her sleep." (Dracula Chapter 15) When Van Helsing is talking about Lucy being part of the undead, I think most people get about the same picture in their head. An undead (to me anyways) is a gray, sullen, skeleton looking creature that walks around and causes havoc on people. The undead they are talking about in Lucy is very different. When Lucy walks around she is floating, beautiful, and mesmerizing. I think this conflicts with many people’s view of the undead; being more alive than someone actually living. I guess this is why vampires so easily prey on humans, they attract them and gain their trust very easily. "Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!" He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone. The instant, however, that I had stepped over the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed cold as ice, more like the hand of a dead than a living man. Again he said.”(Dracula Chapter 2)
Some other things that seem to defy the natural definition of undead are found not only in their looks, but in their lifestyle. Vampires often seem to be extremely healthy, often being nearly indestructible. I suppose this makes sense because they are technically not “alive” in a humanistic sense of the word. If they are not alive they therefore should not be susceptible to common sicknesses or injury. Lastly I would like to point out how many vampires are given the description as very fertile. Sometimes it seems like they need sex more than real people. Overall I just think it’s a bit strange that Professor Van Helsing classifies vampires as undead. Vampires seem to be more “alive” than many of us. They are good looking, well spoken, fertile, and have, as Collen said,” Robust Health”.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Unquenchable

Many of these stories seem to revolve around one thing, not only the desire, but necessity to feed. Vampires cannot live without feeding on others, they have a thirst and it needs to be quenched. The energy they seek comes from all humans, and we need it to live as well. Blood, in this book as well as others is seen as a life force. It is needed by all but possessed only by some. The vampire’s need for blood is the reason they have their reputation. They need to feed on human blood so that they may live, and obviously this is regarded as an inhuman practice, therefore receiving a hated response from humans. The hunger is what creates the vampire’s being, personality, and lifestyle. I feel like if they no longer had this hunger there would be less hatred towards them from humans and they would have much less diabolical endeavors in mind.

Many people think the act of sexual intercourse is both spiritual and physical. The spiritual part involves the union of two people forever in the eyes of a higher being. The physical part is considered by many to be the exchange of bodily fluids with another person of the opposite sex to create life. The way a vampire bites and sucks the blood of their prey can be seen as a sexual act, the transfer of bodily fluid to keep the vampire alive. They need to undergo this act many times in their life in order to stay alive, and in many cases it can be very intimate.

"As I expected," he murmured, with that hissing inspiration of his which meant so much. Without a word he went and locked the door, and then began to set out on the little table the instruments for yet another operation of transfusion of blood. I had long ago recognized the necessity, and begun to take off my coat, but he stopped me with a warning hand. "No!" he said. "Today you must operate. I shall provide. You are weakened already." As he spoke he took off his coat and rolled up his shirtsleeve. Again the operation. Again the narcotic. Again some return of color to the ashy cheeks, and the regular breathing of healthy sleep” (Bram Stoker, Dracula). The many transfusions of blood that Lucy receives can mean many things, symbolically I think it means the return of life to someone who has had it taken from them. Every time Dracula feeds her he is taking part of her life, part of her soul. When Professor Van Helsing puts new blood in her I think it symbolizes giving her new life, from that of another human. Just like how she gives Count Dracula new life every time he feeds on her.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Meeting - Through Carmilla's eyes

The Meeting
Through Carmilla’s eyes

I could hardly contain myself, I had been waiting for so long to become one with this child and feed. Her lying there in the dead of night, lit by the moonlight, was enough to make my blood boil. I could barely stand it most days, being around her all day and not taking her whenever I please. The General, the old fool, suspects nothing of our friendship or our hidden love. I will make her mine forever, and tonight is the night.
I left my room as a woman, but soon after I moved from my chamber my primal instincts started to take over. It first took over my mind. I lost all ability to think as they do, and there in that hallway I could only focus on one thing, feeding. After my mind went I Hunched over and became what my inner conscious was, a large blood hungry monster. I was hulking but my steps where quick and soundless. Since I was no longer my human form I saw no reason to use their means of entering. I passed seamlessly through her door without a sound.
There she lay, quiet and as beautiful as ever. Her face lit by the sliver of moonlight from her small window. It seemed almost too perfect that these girls are here for the taking. The longer I waited the harder it became to watch her without acting. It was time, now on this perfect night I was going to have her and we would be one forever. Just as I leaned in I caught a whiff of her, she smelled of lilies. I bit her as softly as I could, I knew it would end her but I didn’t care, I needed to be satisfied.

Just as soon as I had finished I heard someone burst from her dressing room. Why it was the old General! Somehow he knew my true intentions with his niece. He was not a problem, the deed had been done and I was far too quick for him. I shifted over to the foot of the bed and he stood there for a moment, dumbstruck, by movements. At this point he charged me and swiftly swung his sword in my direction only to hit nothing but my shadow. I was coming out of my hunger and I stood up near the door to her room. It was too late for the old man and his niece, so I fled. I was again passed seamlessly through the door and out of the house. I could only imagine that she lived a few more hours, but it needed to be done. Now all there was to do was find my next woman friend.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Carmilla

There are many references to sexuality in this novel that are delicate for the time it was written. Sheridan Le Fanu writes a story about a vampire that has sexual desires for her same sex, yet preys on her in the dark of the night. In my opinion it is clear that this book explores the subject of lesbian attraction in the form of Carmilla. From the beginning of the Camilla’s visit, Laura experiences a weird attraction to her new friend. But along with this attraction she also senses, though not sure why, that there is something about her that repulses her. In this quote you can tell that Laura feels uncomfortable with Carmilla’s sudden sexual advances but at the same time she is unsure if she dislikes them completely.

“Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast; that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet overpowering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses; and she would whisper, almost in sobs, 'You are mine, you shall be mine, you and I are one for ever.' Then she has thrown herself back in her chair, with her small hands over her eyes, leaving me trembling.”

Laura is being thrown into a confusing state when Carmilla falls into these abrupt sexual advances. On one hand she knows from society that a man and women should love each other, but at the same time she cannot ignore her feelings for her friend. This is the identity queering that is happening throughout the story. I think this illustrates what most teenagers go through when they are growing up, not necessarily sexual identity confusion, but just being unsure in general of whom they are.

The fact that Laura had a dream when she was very young of Carmilla coming to her and biting her is very intriguing. I think it is an unusual and cool way to have a dream in early childhood represent things to come in the future. Not only the fact that Carmilla herself will come in the flesh, but also her intentions for Laura with the feeding. Laura believes the dream so real, she claims that she was bitten, but there were no marks to be found on her body. An interesting fact to think about is that because ‘dream’ Carmilla came in her older form, it could be a hint early on from Le Fanu about Carmilla never aging, and possibly her dark historical origins.

“when to my surprise, I saw a solemn, but very pretty face looking at me from the side of the bed. It was that of a young lady who was kneeling, with her hands under the coverlet. I looked at her with a kind of pleased wonder, and ceased whimpering. She caressed me with her hands, and lay down beside me on the bed, and drew me towards her, smiling; I felt immediately delightfully soothed, and fell asleep again. I was wakened by a sensation as if two needles ran into my breast very deep at the same moment, and I cried loudly.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Through Heathcliff

Chapter 27 - Through the eyes of Heathcliff
I felt as though I could hear Linton's weeping for miles. I stormed down to see what the ruckus was only to find Linton, Catherine, and Nelly conversing. I interjected, "It is something to see you so near my house, Nelly! How are you at the Grange? Let us hear! The rumor goes that Edgar Linton is on his deathbed: perhaps they exaggerate his illness? Nelly responded with an answer that made me excited. She confirmed that Edgar was indeed on his deathbed and didn't have very long to live. Only one thing came to my mind after hearing this. Linton and Catherine must marry so that I can inherit the Thrushcross Grange and finally get my revenge on that bastard Edgar Linton. I knew Linton needed medical help but I also knew he would be all right for a few more days, at least until the deed was done. I tried to get Linton to stand be he claimed he was too weak. I wouldn't stand for that so I helped him up. Nelly was most unhelpful when I requested she take him in and tend to him. I tried to bring him in myself but he would not let go of his cousin. She finally got him to go inside at last. I nearly had to push Nelly in the house but eventually I got all three parties in my home and locked the door. I needed to make these two get married and I was running out of time, this seemed to be the only way I could make it happen. Catherine was the first to become upset. She yelled at me saying, " give me that key: I will have it! I wouldn't eat or drink here, if I were starving." I was taken aback by her sudden boldness, and how much it reminded me of her mother. She struggled for a bit, and finally managed to bite me, hard. This angered me enough to provide violence to her being. Nelly at this point protested but I silenced her as well.
After a while the two women realized they were not getting out of my home until the deed was done. I returned to them after a short while only to find Linton snivelling again. I told the women that once in their rooms I would not disturb them and that they had nothing to fear. I approached Catherine later that night and she told me she would marry Linton because she loved him, but she needed to go home and tend to her father who was dying. This I took great pleasure in; the sight of Edger dying with no knowledge of his daughter's location was a good sight indeed. After some strong words Cathy started to try and flatter me. I rejected with disgust. I sent them to their rooms around nine o'clock and did not speak with either until morning. Around seven I went and retrieved miss Catherine and sent Nelly up a large breakfast.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Vampyre

After reading The Vampyre I was impressed with how interesting of a read it was. Short stories usually don't appeal to me but it was intriguing to the very end.  I enjoy the old school vampire appearance and behavior of Lord Ruthven.  He seems much more real and above all, Hollywood hasn't touched him.  Lord Ruthven brings back a more mysterious type of vampire, unlike the vampires of "Team Edward" and other characters in today’s popular media.  Lord Ruthven’s constant companion Aubrey has to fill in the blanks himself as he studies and learns Lord Ruthven's habits and life style.
"He watched him; and the very impossibility of forming an idea of the character of a man entirely absorbed in himself, who gave few other signs of his observation of external objects, than the tacit assent to their existence, implied by the avoidance of their contact: allowing his imagination to picture everything that flattered its propensity to extravagant ideas, he soon formed this object into the hero of a romance, and determined to observe the offspring of his fancy, rather than the person before him.". (The Vampyre, Polidori)

Once again the writing here is superb.  This kind of writing takes me a little longer to get through, but ultimately it makes me appreciate the great quality of the short story. One of the lines that I love from this story just serves to show that no one really knows what is going on in Lord Ruthven's head, "his eye spoke less than his lip". (The Vampyre, Polidori) 

In some roles of today’s vampires, they are portrayed as blood hungry monsters that think of nothing but feeding their inner hunger.  One example of this is in the Blade movies where the normal vampires only care about killing humans and harvesting their blood.  Lord Ruthven is a more delicate creature.  He is entirely more selective of his prey and does not just lust for random blood. After all Ruthven traveled everywhere with Aubrey and even took care of him when he was ill, never thinking of feeding on him. His intelligent, more thought out plans of feeding really bring out a more sophisticated vampire than some in today’s media.  I feel like movies that only focus on killing for satisfaction, (blade, Van Helsing-hollywood movie) are starting to dumb down the image of the vampire. Vampires are starting to become less intelligent and more violent in origin, which does not serve their roots very well.
Overall I really enjoyed The Vampyre short story.  It shows a deep, interesting vampire that has many levels of personality in which to explore.  Lord Ruthven can be compassionate and ruthless at the same time; I suspect this is the allure that draws people to him.  The overall mystery that enshrouds him is intriguing, complex, and shows how original vampires were more than blood lusting, brain-dead monsters.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Kyle Duquaine intro

I am a Biochemistry student and I plan on becoming a Dentist at some point in time, however my mind likes to jump around about that.  I love most all sports but I don't like watching them nearly as much as playing them.  Movies and books really make me think and they play a large role in my personality and the way I think about life. I added this course basically because I was sick of doing nothing but science, literature is about as far away from equations and math as possible so I decided to give it a shot and it seems to be pretty interesting so far.  In 6th grade I read Sphere by Michael Crichton and I loved it.  The mystery of not really knowing whats going on in a movie or book intrigues me.  I have never blogged or done any sort of online class communication besides email but am excited to give it a try.

Wuthering Heights part 1

Since I am a Biochemistry major I rarely read novels such as this one.  The first ten pages or so really took me a while to get through and understand.  Once past the introduction however it began to flow more easily and I could actually enjoy what I was reading.  The first thing I liked about this book ( I also enjoy when movies do this ) was the how they tell the story through different ways.  Such as through Lockwood's eyes, diary entries, and other characters retelling stories they have seen.  The incredible description the characters go into really makes me think about all the small things in everyday life that we all just look over and never think about.

"Above the chimney were sundry villanous old guns, and a couple of horse-pistols: and, by way of ornament, three gaudily painted canisters disposed along its edge.  The floor was smooth, white stone; the chairs, high-backed, primitive structures, painted green: one or two heavy black ones lurking in the shade.  In an arch under the dresser, reposed a huge, liver colored bitch pointer, surrounded by a swarm of squealing puppies; and other dogs haunted other recesses." (p. 3, Wuthering Heights)

After reading this and other sometimes long winded descriptions, I can clearly picture myself in the room and or situation Lockwood is experiencing.  Although it was tough to get through at first I feel like it got easier and easier as I went on.

One thing I kept thinking as I was reading was how incredibly rude Mr. Heathcliff, family, and workers were to Mr. Lockwood without even knowing him.  Leaving a stranger in a room with all of your mean tempered dogs and then not caring that they are attacking him is not exactly what I call being a gracious host.

With the whole Heathcliff and Hindley struggle it is obvious that jealously is one of the main feelings felt in this book.  Hindley is constantly trying to thwart Heathcliff and Catherine's relationship and Heathcliff's life in general.  It is sad to say but this idea of jealously is just as strong if not stronger today than ever.  I think its sad that some people are so insecure about their friends and relationships that they resort to being jealous when many times it is unwarranted.  Not only in relationships but in other people's successes there is jealousy.  Jealousy is an evil emotion that affects us all and Emily Bronte shows us that in the character of Hindley.
"Heathcliff received no flogging, but he was told that the first word he spoke to miss Catherine would ensure a dismissal"

Chapter 9 was a very touching chapter for me to read. Emily Bronte does a fabulous job describing Catherine's true love towards Heathcliff.  She loved him so much that instead of being selfish and marrying him just to make herself happy, she wants to marry into the wealthy Lintons so that she can use the Linton's wealth to help her true love escape from the brutality that Hindley brings on Heathcliff.  Obviously this sucks for Linton but the point I am trying to make is that she would do just about anything for Heathcliff so he is safe from a wretched life.

So far, despite my hesitations about reading this novel in comparison to what I am used to, I actually enjoy this book.  The writing is excellent and I am interested to see where the story turns.