Writing I Am a Legend

Question descriptionRobert Neville’s endeavor to “cure” the vampire plague becomes his driving obsession in Matheson’s I Am Legend. In order to better understand the creatures and the bacilli, he must use inductive reasoning and gather evidence about his nocturnal tormentors.

Likewise, to better understand what societal fears a particular monster embodies, it becomes necessary to gather information about them.

Part 1: Summary. (1 page) As you read I Am Legend, keep track of Neville’s discoveries regarding the vampires with particular attention to the vampires’ peculiar attributes, behaviors, and shortcomings (not to mention the way Neville discusses them), keeping in mind the disparity between Neville’s superstitious speculations and empirical discoveries. Once you have completed the novel, summarize what Neville and the reader actually know about the vampires.

Part 2: Argument. (3 pages) After you have composed your summary, consider the information in relation to the novel’s genre. Write an argument supporting your claims/position on the following question: How does Matheson use elements of superstition and science to straddle between the horror and science fiction genres and to what end?

Remember to take into account how we have discussed gothic elements and the four strains (as well as how they manifest in science fiction/horror), but also be sure to address the two-fold narrative of monstrosity in the novel. Think about why the book is titled what it is.



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