Discussion of the Use of Focalisation in Relation to the Theme in I am Legend by Richard Matheson.
I am Legend is a story about Robert Neville, a man who is supposedly the only human still living in a post-apocalyptic world. An infectious virus has taken over the globe and converted everyone to vampirism. This is threatening the further existence of mankind. What comes next is Robert’s battle to outlive the vampires. The story picks on elements of the supernatural and horror, but in its core there are some deeper themes that can be contracted from I am Legend. In this essay, I want to focus on the main theme, which is the isolation of Robert towards the new society and its violent inhabitants, that eventually will lead to his alienation and even desolation. A very relevant topic such as Matias Clasen stated: “the horror of isolation is very real and very rational for members of a social species such as ours” (320). The main theme is accentuated by the kind of focalisation that is used by Matheson, which is an internal, fixed focalisation. The reader only sees the events happen through the eyes of Robert. Therefore, the view is very narrow and it contributes to the effect of the isolation.
The first argument to support this claim about the main theme is the bombastic, classical music of Robert Neville. Robert is isolating himself from the vampires by locking himself into his room in order to survive the atrocities that are going on around him. He does this to avoid Ben Cortman, his infected neighbour who tries to trick Robert into becoming a vampire. While Cortman is shouting Robert’s name for him to come outside, Robert is turning his music up to block out the noise coming from the vampires in fear of catching the virus too. It is Robert’s attempt at isolating himself from the new society for he does not wish to be part of it. This, however, changes when there comes another non-infected person along, a girl called Ruth. Together with Ruth he is no longer the...
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