Richard Matheson's I Am Legend

1710 Words7 Pages
Wake up! What would the world do and react to if Russia, or any foreign country, invaded America and forced everybody to move and in short, soon to be exiled. Every day, people in America wake up to complete their daily, but what if that all changed? An important theme in American history is that of colonialism, which is how America’s history begun. By England colonizing to the Americas, they ended up forcing and killing many of the native Indians which had already lived there. Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend, depicts a world where the last man in the world is not alone. Robert Neville is the only human to have survived a plague which turned everyone to vampires/hybrids; this forces readers to understand what it’s like for a society…show more content…
Robert knew that people who are infected with the bacilli look like humans and sleep throughout the day. Robert, in an effort to stay civilized, killed these vampires so they wouldn’t come back and interrupt his way of life. What Neville didn’t know was that this act of killing the hybrids while asleep also represents monstrosity relating to how we treated the Native Americans while colonizing America. For example, “When I was first given the job of spying on you, I had no feelings about your life. Because I did have a husband, Robert. You killed him” (Matheson 143). This scene is when Neville reads that Ruth was a hybrid vampire who is part of a new society who views Neville as a monster/vampire. This quote demonstrates that Neville is a monster for killing people while asleep, which relates to how the Americans killed Native Americans because they are savages on their “New World”. This shows how uncivilized the colonization of America was due to the savage behavior of the settlers towards the Indians. Referring to vampires and savages, “His Westernized view, or colonial viewpoint, results in negative views of himself and other tribe members. His turn to wolf is redolent of forced colonization-a turn caused, significantly, by the presence of the white Cullen vampires” (Wilson 7-8). This shows that Jacob in Twilight, who is a werewolf, relates to the Indian race and how the vampires (white men) force them to turn savage to defend their land and what belongs to them. It is clear that Wilson agrees with Matheson on the basis that Robert Neville is a reminder to readers about the wrongs of colonialism through devastation in America relating towards English men slaughtering Indians. Additionally, this connects Neville and the European settlers together by showing how he kills them in their sleep to continue his way of life.

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