Friday, November 19, 2010

Echoes of Dracula Literary Criticism

Dr. Kathy Davis Patterson Essay, The Echoes of Dracula, describes how society view the difference in other nationalities of people. Dr. Patterson opens her essay with one of the most ground breaking cases in American History, Brown vs. Board of Education, hitting segregation at its core. Dr. Kathy Davis Patterson discusses the link between vampires and radicalized constructions of monstrosity which, n since the beginning of time that racial inequality has made it way in American history. Dr. Patterson's essay.

In Patterson's essay, she talks about the novel “I am Legend”, connects that to the descriptions of the vampiric people to segregation and discrimination. Discrimination is one thing that has been in our society both in the United States and around the world dating back thousands of years with the example of the egyptians,etc. To the commonly known Holocaust of the Jews during World War II. Discrimination means, according to dictionary:

1.) an act or instance of discriminating.
  1. treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit: racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.

Discrimination is one thing that most likely will never leave because everyone is going to not like something whether it is a type of group of people or something so simple as a group of food. Some people don't like things or objects and may never will which under certain circumstances could include a certain type of racial group of color.

The story of “I am Legend” is about a man name Richard Neville. As stated in Patterson's essay:

“Neville’s race is established very early and very directly as Caucasian. Matheson describes him as “a tall man, thirty-six, born of English-German stock,” complete with bright blue eyes (14).
Both Neville’s body and his house are under constant threat, watched by vampires who seek any means of access. Violence is one potential route, as witnessed by the amount of time Neville spends stringing garlic, replacing boards, and repairing the damage vampires inflict on the house at night. The most dangerously effective strategy, however, is sex. Female vampires can rouse Neville’s lust with ease, and he agonizes with the knowledge that “The women were out there, their dresses open or taken off, their flesh waiting for his touch, their lips waiting for – My blood, my blood!””.

Neville is an only known survivor in a post-atomic war and the people who got infected with the bombs became the living dead. They became blood-sucking nocturnal animals that thirsted for Neville's blood. During his survival, many things happened. For example, time during the story, he left his garage door open while visiting his wife's grave.

Once Virginia is truly dead, Neville places her body in a casket and locks the casket in a marble crypt to which only he has access. When he discovers the crypt’s iron door ajar, his fears are vividly expressed: “If they’ve been at her, I’ll burn down the city … I swear to God, I’ll burn it to the ground if they’ve touched her” (36). Neville’s dread of vampire/minority incursions and his obsession with the continued purity of Virginia’s body drives him to emotional extremes. Although her casket remains intact, he violently expels the body of a male vampire who sought shelter within the crypt.”

When he arrived home, it was to late. He was attacked yet he made it in his house boarded up and alive. He then started to wonder exactly how do these nocturnal creatures work and during this time, he made certain experiments to how this biochemical hazard started in the first place. At the end of the novel, Neville gives himself up and gives into the vampiric creatures finally ending with the statement, “I am Legend”. Then the novel ends with a series of excellent mini-stories.

Segregation is firmly stated in this essay. One example, is the Brown vs. Board of Education cases that opened up a series of multiple cases against segregation on all levels. During these Brown vs. Board of Education, a book was in the workings and finally came out in 1954. Another segregation example in this essay is at the beginning where Patterson talked about European English Jews stepping on English soil.

This paragraph states that during a meeting in the novel “I am Legend” they described these “...into a black unholy animal” as a way to describe these persons infected by this biochemical bomb. I believe that when they say “black unholy animals”, I think that they are talking about darkness and not necessarily their skin color. Black is the usual color when connecting to darkness. One thing to back me up on this is that while this was being said, a preacher was talking and the word after “black” is “unholy”.

Reflecting on the plague that caused vampirism, Neville recalls the Black Plague and thinks to himself that “Something black and of the night had come crawling out of the Middle Ages” (28). At a moment of intense frustration during a hangover, his hatred of the vampires surfaces and he despairs: “It was no use; they’d beaten him, the black bastards had beaten him” (35). When the plague first began to spread and people began to panic, Neville recalls being dragged into a revival meeting where the preacher exhorted his audience: “Do you want to be changed into a black unholy animal?” (113) Perhaps the most telling expression of the vampire as an Africanist presence in the novel occurs during one of Neville’s alcohol-induced mental ramblings. His raw sarcasm is worth quoting at length”

Overall, Dr. kathy Patterson's essay is definitely and eye opener. I think that Dr. Patterson take on the book is dead on the spot. The story of “I am Legend” is just one of the many books that depict how people of color are looked at and treated for being different, but is that truly the reason? My take is that people with this state of mind is just afraid of what is different. I think that the author, Richard Matheson is definitely an intelligent man, but is very closed minded. Matherson's book, “ I am Legend” is just what Dr. Patterson stated in her essay “a the rambles of a very disturbed man. One thing I can say is that society has came a long way from this kind of thinking, the fact that there is a movie of this book, “I am legend” which a black man plays the staring role, shows the society is changed in so many ways.

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