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?