Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend is a science fiction adventure and a terrifying horror story. But unlike most works of horror, I Am Legend is not a black-and-white tale of “us versus them”; in other words, a story in which a hero fights off a monstrous villain. Matheson’s novel is set in a futuristic version of Los Angeles, in which Robert Neville, the last man left on Earth, fights against a terrifying race of…(read full theme analysis)
I Am Legend contains a surprising amount of psychological insight about grief, loneliness, and depression. The novel’s main character, Robert Neville, is the last human being left on Earth—everyone else has been turned into a vampire. Neville thus has to deal with the psychological effects of being completely alone—a fate that is, in some ways, worse than becoming a vampire.
Without any human connection whatsoever, Neville is forced to take refuge in his…(read full theme analysis)
Another important theme of I Am Legend is the power—both benevolent and malicious—of science. Throughout the book, Robert Neville studies the science of vampirism. In the process, he empowers himself and gives himself a new purpose in life. By researching epidemiology, bacteriology, and other “ologies” at the Los Angeles Public Library, Neville comes to realize that vampires aren’t supernatural monsters—they’re just human beings suffering from a serious disease. Neville’s discovery helps him conquer his own…(read full theme analysis)