The Background of I Am Legend Book

“I Am Legend” is a science fiction novel written by American author Richard Matheson. First published in 1954, the book tells the story of Robert Neville, the last man on Earth, who is struggling to …

The Background of I Am Legend Book

“I Am Legend” is a science fiction novel written by American author Richard Matheson. First published in 1954, the book tells the story of Robert Neville, the last man on Earth, who is struggling to survive in a world overrun by vampires. The novel combines elements of horror, suspense, and post-apocalyptic fiction, creating a unique and captivating narrative.

The inspiration for “I Am Legend” came from Matheson’s fascination with vampire mythology and his desire to explore the psychological effects of isolation. The book takes a fresh approach to the vampire genre, presenting a scientific explanation for the existence of vampires and delving into the emotional and mental toll it takes on the protagonist.

Matheson’s writing style in “I Am Legend” is characterized by its gripping and intense nature. The author skillfully creates a sense of dread and tension, keeping readers on the edge of their seats throughout the story. With its thought-provoking themes and compelling narrative, “I Am Legend” has become a classic of both science fiction and horror literature, influencing countless authors and filmmakers.

Since its publication, “I Am Legend” has been adapted into several films, including the 1964 film “The Last Man on Earth” starring Vincent Price, the 1971 film “The Omega Man” starring Charlton Heston, and the 2007 film “I Am Legend” starring Will Smith. Each adaptation brings its own interpretation of the story, but the core themes of survival, loneliness, and the human condition remain central to all versions.

Overall, “I Am Legend” stands as a landmark work in the science fiction genre, exploring themes of isolation, survival, and the human psyche. Matheson’s masterful storytelling and unique take on the vampire mythos continue to captivate readers and inspire new generations of writers.

Chapter 2: Plot Summary


The chapter begins by introducing Robert Neville and his daily routine. He spends his days scavenging for supplies, fortifying his house against the creatures that now roam the world, and reflecting on the loss of his family and the collapse of society.

The Creatures

Neville soon discovers that the world has been overrun by vampire-like creatures that were once human. These creatures, referred to as “vampires,” are sensitive to light and are repelled by garlic and mirrors. Neville spends his nights barricading himself inside his house, as the vampires roam the streets searching for blood.

Neville’s main goal is to find a cure for the vampire plague and restore humanity. He conducts experiments on captured vampires, trying to understand their biology and find a weakness that will allow him to destroy them. These experiments often end in failure, but Neville remains determined to find a solution.

The Discovery

One day, Neville comes across a dog that is immune to the vampire plague. He names the dog Sam and forms a bond with her. Through his interactions with Sam, Neville begins to question his own sanity and the nature of his existence as the last human on Earth.

As the story progresses, Neville encounters a woman named Ruth who claims to be part of a group of humans who are also immune to the vampire plague. Ruth warns Neville that his experiments on the vampires are cruel and unnecessary, as they are not the mindless monsters he believes them to be.

Neville is skeptical of Ruth’s claims but eventually comes to realize that the vampires are not the true monsters. He learns that the vampires have formed their own society and have developed a new culture. They view Neville as the last remnant of a dying species and see him as the true monster.

The chapter ends with Neville’s realization that he is the legend, the boogeyman that the vampires fear and despise. He is faced with the question of whether he should continue his quest for a cure or accept his role as the last human in a world dominated by vampires.

A Brief Summary of the Book

“I Am Legend” is a science fiction novel written by Richard Matheson and published in 1954. The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been decimated by a vampire-like plague. The protagonist, Robert Neville, believes he is the last remaining human alive and spends his days scavenging for supplies and killing the infected creatures that emerge at night.

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Neville struggles with loneliness and the constant threat of the vampires, who taunt him and try to lure him out of his fortified home. He becomes obsessed with finding a cure for the disease and spends his nights conducting experiments and researching the virus. Along the way, he discovers that there are other survivors who have formed a new society of vampires, led by a more intelligent and evolved being.

The novel explores themes of isolation, survival, and the nature of humanity. It delves into Neville’s psychological state as he grapples with his own sanity and the question of what it means to be human in a world overrun by monsters. The book ends with a twist that challenges the reader’s perception of good and evil.

“I Am Legend” has had a significant influence on the horror genre and has been adapted into several films, including the 2007 movie starring Will Smith. It remains a classic work of science fiction and continues to captivate readers with its haunting portrayal of a world on the brink of extinction.

Chapter 3: Main Character Analysis

The Background of I Am Legend Book

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of Neville’s strengths is his resilience and determination to survive. Despite the overwhelming odds stacked against him, he refuses to give up and continues to search for a cure to the vampirism that has plagued humanity. His resourcefulness and ability to adapt to his new reality are also notable strengths.

However, Neville also has his weaknesses. He grapples with loneliness and the emotional toll of being the last human on Earth. He often struggles with his own sanity, as the constant threat of vampires and isolation take their toll on his mental state.

Character Development

Throughout the novel, Neville undergoes significant character development. At the beginning, he is portrayed as a somewhat ordinary man who is just trying to survive. However, as the story progresses, Neville’s character evolves, and he becomes a symbol of hope and resistance against the vampire population.

Neville’s transformation is not only physical but also psychological. He starts to question his own humanity and the morality of his actions as he encounters other survivors and learns more about the vampires’ origins. This internal struggle adds depth to his character and raises thought-provoking questions about what it means to be human in a post-apocalyptic world.


Robert Neville, the main character in “I Am Legend,” is a complex and dynamic protagonist who faces numerous challenges in a world dominated by vampires. His strengths and weaknesses, as well as his journey of self-discovery, make him a fascinating character to analyze and follow throughout the book.

Diving into the Protagonist’s Traits and Motivations

One of Neville’s most prominent traits is his resilience. Despite the overwhelming odds stacked against him, Neville refuses to give up. He tirelessly works to find a cure for the vampire plague, spending his days conducting experiments and his nights defending himself against the hordes of vampires that surround his home. This unwavering determination showcases Neville’s strong will and his refusal to surrender to despair.

Another important trait of Neville is his resourcefulness. With limited supplies and resources, Neville must rely on his ingenuity to survive. He constructs a fortified home, complete with security measures to keep the vampires at bay. He also develops innovative methods for killing vampires, such as using mirrors and UV lights. Neville’s resourcefulness demonstrates his ability to adapt and think outside the box in order to stay alive.

When it comes to Neville’s motivations, his driving force is the desire to find a cure for the vampire plague. He is haunted by the loss of his wife and daughter, who succumbed to the virus, and he sees finding a cure as a way to honor their memory and save humanity. Neville’s determination to find a cure is fueled by a deep sense of responsibility and a belief that there is still hope for humanity, despite the dire circumstances.

Furthermore, Neville’s motivations are also influenced by his loneliness. As the last human on earth, Neville longs for companionship and connection. He befriends a dog named Sam and finds solace in their companionship. This longing for human connection drives Neville to seek out other survivors and attempt to establish a sense of community in an otherwise desolate world.

Key Traits Motivations
Resilience Finding a cure for the vampire plague
Resourcefulness Honoring the memory of his wife and daughter
Longing for companionship

Chapter 4: Setting Description

In “I Am Legend,” the setting plays a crucial role in creating a sense of isolation and despair. The story takes place in Los Angeles, California, after a devastating plague has turned the majority of the population into vampires.

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The Desolate Cityscape

Los Angeles, once a bustling metropolis, now lies in ruins. The streets are empty and overgrown with vegetation, giving the city a desolate and eerie atmosphere. Buildings are crumbling, their windows shattered, and graffiti covers the walls. The remnants of abandoned cars and debris litter the streets, serving as a constant reminder of the chaos that unfolded.

The lack of human activity and the silence that envelops the city heighten the feeling of isolation. As the protagonist, Robert Neville, ventures out during the day, he is surrounded by an oppressive stillness, broken only by the occasional sound of his own footsteps.

The Subterranean Hideout

The Background of I Am Legend Book

Robert Neville’s home serves as both a refuge and a prison. Located underground, it provides him with a safe haven from the vampires that roam the streets at night. The hideout is equipped with reinforced doors and windows, ensuring Neville’s safety during the darkness.

Inside, the hideout is sparsely furnished, reflecting Neville’s solitary existence. The walls are lined with shelves of books, a testament to his pursuit of knowledge and his search for a cure. The space is dimly lit, adding to the sense of isolation and seclusion.

Within the hideout, Neville has set up a laboratory where he conducts experiments in an attempt to find a cure for the vampire plague. The laboratory is filled with scientific equipment, test tubes, and vials, as well as notes and research papers strewn across the tables.

Despite the safety of his underground hideout, Neville is haunted by the constant reminder of the outside world’s devastation. He struggles with his isolation and the weight of being the last human in a world filled with vampires.

  • The desolate cityscape of Los Angeles creates a sense of isolation and despair.
  • Robert Neville’s underground hideout provides safety and seclusion.
  • The laboratory within the hideout reflects Neville’s pursuit of a cure for the vampire plague.

An In-Depth Look at the Book’s Setting

The desolation of the setting is emphasized through the author’s vivid descriptions of the abandoned streets, crumbling buildings, and overgrown vegetation. This creates a sense of isolation and despair, reflecting Neville’s own feelings of loneliness and hopelessness. The lack of human presence in the setting also adds to the suspense and tension of the story, as Neville must navigate this dangerous environment alone.

In addition to the physical setting, the time period in which the story takes place also contributes to its overall tone. The book is set several years after the initial outbreak, allowing the reader to witness the aftermath of the pandemic and the long-term effects it has had on society. This time lapse adds a sense of realism and depth to the story, as Neville grapples with the consequences of his actions and the choices he must make to survive.

Overall, the detailed and atmospheric setting of “I Am Legend” immerses the reader in a world that is both haunting and thought-provoking. Through its depiction of a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, the book explores themes of isolation, survival, and the fragility of humanity. It is this setting that sets the stage for Neville’s harrowing journey and ultimately makes “I Am Legend” a captivating and memorable read.

Chapter 5: Themes Explored

In the fifth chapter of “I Am Legend,” the author explores several themes that are central to the story. These themes include loneliness, isolation, and the nature of humanity in the face of adversity.


One of the main themes explored in this chapter is loneliness. The protagonist, Robert Neville, is the last man on earth after a pandemic turns the rest of the population into vampire-like creatures. He is completely isolated and spends his days in solitude, which takes a toll on his mental and emotional well-being. The author delves into Neville’s feelings of loneliness and the profound impact it has on his psyche.


Another theme explored in this chapter is isolation. Neville’s isolation is not only physical but also emotional. He is cut off from any form of human contact and longs for companionship. The author highlights the effects of prolonged isolation on Neville’s mental state and how it drives him to desperate measures.

“The Background of “I Am Legend” Book”

The Background of “I Am Legend” Book is a dystopian novel written by Richard Matheson. It was first published in 1954 and has since become a classic in the science fiction genre. The story follows the last surviving human in a world overrun by vampires. The novel explores themes of loneliness, isolation, and the nature of humanity.

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Overall, in Chapter 5 of “I Am Legend,” the author delves into the themes of loneliness and isolation, highlighting the profound impact they have on the protagonist’s mental well-being. These themes contribute to the overall atmosphere of despair and desperation in the novel.

An Analysis of the Book’s Major Themes

The novel “I Am Legend” explores several major themes that contribute to its overall impact and resonance. These themes include:

  1. Survival and Isolation: The protagonist, Robert Neville, is the last surviving human in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by vampire-like creatures. The book delves into the psychological and emotional challenges Neville faces as he struggles to survive and cope with his extreme isolation.
  2. The Nature of Humanity: As Neville grapples with the existence of the vampire-like creatures and his own solitude, the book raises questions about what it means to be human. It explores themes of identity, morality, and the blurred boundaries between good and evil.
  3. The Power of Adaptation: Throughout the novel, Neville must adapt to the changing circumstances of his environment in order to survive. This theme highlights the resilience and resourcefulness of the human spirit, as well as the capacity for growth and transformation.
  4. Fear and Paranoia: The book explores the pervasive fear and paranoia that Neville experiences as he navigates the dangers of his post-apocalyptic world. It delves into the psychological effects of fear and the ways in which it can both protect and consume an individual.
  5. Loss and Grief: Neville grapples with profound loss and grief throughout the novel, as he mourns the death of his family and the collapse of civilization. This theme explores the emotional toll of loss and the ways in which individuals cope with and process grief.

These themes intertwine and contribute to the overall atmosphere and impact of “I Am Legend,” making it a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant work of speculative fiction.

Chapter 6: Symbolism and Imagery

In “I Am Legend,” symbolism and imagery play a significant role in enhancing the overall meaning and depth of the story. Richard Matheson masterfully uses these literary devices to convey important messages and evoke powerful emotions in the reader.

The Symbolism of Vampires

Vampires in “I Am Legend” symbolize various aspects of human nature and society. They represent the darker side of humanity, embodying themes of isolation, fear, and the struggle for survival. The vampire’s insatiable thirst for blood can be seen as a metaphor for humanity’s destructive tendencies and the violence that lurks within.

Furthermore, the vampires’ inability to withstand sunlight symbolizes their vulnerability and weakness. This can be interpreted as a commentary on the fragile nature of power and the inevitable downfall of those who abuse it.

Imagery of Desolation

The desolate setting of a post-apocalyptic world is vividly depicted through Matheson’s use of imagery. The deserted streets, crumbling buildings, and decaying corpses create a sense of hopelessness and despair. This imagery serves to emphasize the loneliness and isolation experienced by the protagonist, Robert Neville.

The author’s vivid descriptions of the vampires, with their pale skin, bloodshot eyes, and feral behavior, further enhance the atmosphere of dread and terror. This imagery creates a chilling and haunting portrayal of the post-apocalyptic world, leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

Overall, the symbolism and imagery used in “I Am Legend” contribute to the novel’s exploration of universal themes such as the human condition, the nature of evil, and the struggle for survival. Matheson’s skillful use of these literary devices adds depth and complexity to the story, making it a thought-provoking and memorable read.

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