November 24, 2010


The Final Project
Our class has focused and put a lot of emphasis on the perspective in which a story is told.  I don't think that anyone would argue that the character that is telling the story has a lot of influence in how the reader perceives it.  The idea of perspective is an important tool for the writer and if used properly can turn a good story into a great one.
For the finally project I want to focus on this idea of perspective and how, when a story is told from a different point of view, it can dramatically change the story for the reader.  In a previous blog I used one of Colleen's ideas to write a passage from Carmilla in the character Carmilla's perspective.  Obviously I will be using Carmilla as my book to do the final project.  In my previous blog I took an excerpt from the book and simply wrote it in Carmilla's perspective but I think for the project I will go further and add some scenes for Carmilla's character.  I am not sure which part of the story I will extend yet.  I'm excited about attempting this project but I just hope that I am able to do justice to Le Fanu's book because Carmilla was one of my favorite books this semester.

November 17, 2010

The End

I love the end of this book!  Anne Rice is realistic in the extreme; she holds nothing back and she doesn’t sugar coat it.  The end of Interview exemplifies all the typical fatal human flaws that Louis talks about throughout the whole book.  The boy’s response is classic.  How many people have listened to someone else describe their mistakes and thought, “If I were ever put in that position I would do things differently.”  It’s easy to think that after you’ve heard someone else’s mistake if you are ever encountered with the same issue you would be able to do it “right.”  The problem with this idea is that history repeats itself.  A person can be told repeatedly that something is wrong; often times they will choose to ignore it.
I think that the boy’s choice describes the type of person he is.  If you look at the characters of Lestat and Louis in a broad perspective they represent two different types of people; the types who live life to the fullest and embrace life and the types who believe all of their actions have consequences and continuously look back.  The boy’s decision that he wants to be a vampire shows that he is more like Lestat.  It also shows that the boy believes that he can live Louis’ life better than he did.  In reality, though, this is exactly what would happen.  Rice’s choice of the boy’s character is important.  He is young, na├»ve and impressionable.  If the interviewer had been a wise, old man would the end of the story have been believable?  Probably not.
What would my choice have been at the end?  Since the boy wasn’t even given a choice I can’t really look at it that way.  I don’t think I would have ever taken the initiative to ask.  Louis seems so depressed about his life of being a vampire that asking to be what he is would be downright insulting and Louis displays that insult and disappointment too.
            “’Give it to me!’ said the boy… ‘Make me a vampire now!’ he said as the vampire stared aghast.
What happened then was swift and confused, but it ended abruptly with the vampire on his feet holding the boy by the shoulders, the boy’s moist face contorted with fear, the vampire glaring at him in rage. ‘This is what you want?’ he whispered, his pale lips manifesting only the barest trace of movement.  ‘This… after all I’ve told you… is what you ask for?’”  (pg. 337)
I guess if I was in the situation the boy’s in I would probably think over exactly what Louis said.  If I still wanted to be turned into a vampire then I would try to find Lestat, the vampire far more likely to want to change me.

November 10, 2010

Warning:  I talk about parts in the book that the class hasn't gotten to yet!

Interview with a Vampire
The Book Vs. the Movie

We are reading Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice this week.  Her book was published in 1974 and it was an instant classic.  Twenty years later it was released as a major motion picture and it created similar comments as the book.  Many would agree that overall the book and movie are very similar.  People expect parts of the book to be left out when adapted for a film; it is simply too difficult to fit every detail of the book into the movie.  While many of the scenes/events in the book and movie are similar I find that the biggest differences between the two lie in the characters.
I saw the movie Interview with a Vampire many times before I read the book and it has always been one of my favorites.  When I read the book, even though it follows along well with the movie, the characters came as quite a shock.  In the movie the three main characters, Louis, Lestat and Claudia, either have a somewhat unclear purpose or a different one altogether.  I want to explore those differences among the three characters in more detail.

Claudia
I would consider Claudia's character (played by Kirsten Dunst in the movie) to have transposed from book to movie the best.  The main difference I saw was that her purpose or reasoning behind her actions is much clearer in the book.  Towards the end of the book Claudia believes it is inevitable that Louis will leave her for the vampire Armand.  Claudia is so intuitive about people that she knows that Louis will leave before he does.  In the movie I do not get this impression that Louis will definitely leave.  Since there is question about that there is also question about why Claudia asks Louis to change Madeleine into a vampire.  Claudia says it's so she won't be alone, but it also seems like she does it to replace Lestat or to live through the new woman vampire vicariously.  This last part seems likely, also, because Claudia is forever stuck in a child's body.  Kirsten Dunst played this role of woman stuck in child's body admirably but I still think there is an issue of believability here.  The viewer still knows that it is a child pretending to be an adult.  Here is a clip from the movie where it is almost uncomfortable to watch the interactions between Kirsten Dunst and Brad Pitt because the viewer is aware that Dunst is just a young girl.

Louis
Louis' character, in my opinion, was much easier to understand in the book.  Throughout the movie Louis never seems happy.  He is a very dreary, depressing character.  We could attribute this to the losses Louis had as a human but it is never made apparent in the movie how much Louis hates being with Lestat.  These are Louis' thoughts of Lestat from the book Interview with a Vampire.
            "He appeared frail and stupid to me, a man made of dried twigs with a thin, carping voice…  But I stayed with him…  As I've told you, he had me at a great disadvantage.  He hinted there was much I didn't know and must know and that he alone could tell me." (pg. 34-35)
Here it is so glaringly obvious not only how disgusted Louis is by Lestat but also how much Lestat manipulates Louis to stay with him.  It emphasizes the loneliness in Lestat too.  Louis' disgust with Lestat does not exactly transfer into the movie.  In the movie what Louis seems to hate is Lestat's enjoyment of being a vampire.  This humanistic quality that Louis still carries seems to set him apart from other vampires in both the movie and book.  Since his condition (of being a vampire and therefore a murderer) is not exactly ideal for his feelings about humanity Louis never accepts what he is or embraces it the way Lestat does.
This is a clip from the movie emphasizing both Lestat's inhumanity and Louis's hatred of it.

Lestat
There were many people who had reservations about whether or not Tom Cruise would be able to pull off the character Lestat but after the movie was made he seemed to have everyone on his side, including the author herself, Anne Rice.  She comments about Tom Cruise's performance:
            ""ON TOM CRUISE: From the moment he appeared Tom was Lestat for me. He has the immense physical and moral presence; he was defiant and yet never without conscience; he was beautiful beyond description yet compelled to do cruel things. The sheer beauty of Tom was dazzling, but the polish of his acting, his flawless plunge into the Lestat persona, his ability to speak rather boldly poetic lines, and speak them with seeming ease and conviction were exhilarating and uplifting. The guy is great.

I'm no good at modesty. I like to believe Tom's Lestat will be remembered the way Olivier's Hamlet is remembered. Others may play the role some day but no one will ever forget Tom's version of it." (1)
Lestat's character in the book is far more admirable and captivating compared to the movie.  If the reader were referring to the book they would consider Louis to be the main character but if they were talking about the movie Lestat definitely gives Louis a run for his money.  Anne Rice makes Lestat seem so mindless in the book, like he is purely going on instinct and never thinks about what he does.  This excerpt from Interview with a Vampire highlights that quality in Lestat.
            "You see, they (young men) represented the greatest loss to Lestat, because they stood on the threshold of the maximum possibility of life.  Of course, Lestat didn't understand this himself.  I came to understand it.  Lestat understood nothing." (pg. 41)
Rice writes Lestat as a selfish  vampire who does not seem to care for anyone but himself.  He is truly vampire with no human qualities.  I also think that Louis' portrayals of Lestat turn the reader against him even more. The producer, David Gaffan, wanted Lestat to be played as "nasty", and I feel like he got the idea from the book because he truly is nasty.  Tom Cruise took Lestat to a whole different level.  You might even describe him as a "Byronic hero" or the hero that we love to hate.

Citations:
1.  Rice, Anne. "Anne Rice On Tom Cruise." Angelfire, Web. 10 Nov 2010.             <http://www.angelfire.com/ri/cerat/AnneOnTom.html>
2.  Rice, Anne. Interview with a Vampire. 1. New York: The Random House           Publishing Group, 1976. 34-35,41. Print.

November 3, 2010

Humanity

I just want to start off by saying how much I loved this book.  The humanity that Matheson presents in the story is genius.  He created a setting that actually brings the human qualities of Robert Neville into even sharper focus.  I believe that is what makes the story great.  It is not just the story line that is important and it is not just the characters; to make a great story the writer needs both.

The final line of this book explains the title; I Am Legend.  I am the type of person to appreciate a good title and the main reason why is because I am horrible at thinking of titles.  Throughout the story I did wonder what the title meant and I made speculations in my head.  My main train of thought was that he does something amazing and becomes a legend; this is the reasoning in the 2007 movie.

But this is not the reason in the book.  The reasoning behind the title here is much more unique and interesting.  This excerpt leading up to the end of the book especially grabbed me and sums up the meaning of the title pretty well:
                "Robert Neville looked out over the new people of the earth.  He knew he did not belong to them; he knew that, like the vampires, he was anathema and black terror to be destroyed.  And, abruptly, the concept came, amusing to him even in his pain.
                  Full circle, he thought while the final lethargy crept into his limbs.  Full circle.  A new terror born in death, a new superstition entering the unassailable fortress of forever.
                I am legend." (I Am Legend, pg. 170)
I think that Matheson's choice of words in this text is interesting.  The first part that really grabbed me was "black terror."  It seemed like an odd choice of wording so I thought it might mean something.  I used Wikipedia to investigate and found that Black Terror was a comic book super hero from the early to late 1940's.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Terror.  Since the book was written in 1954 Matheson could very well be referring to that.  The superhero does have some similarities with Robert Neville, mainly with both being the heroes of the book, but also Black Terror was a pharmacist by day working with chemicals and Neville also experimented on the cause of the infection in the novel.  The term "black terror" also reminded me of the Black Plague or the bubonic plague, which Matheson does mention and associates with the events in the novel.  He also implies that whatever is responsible for the infection taking place in the book might have connection with the black plague.

My main interest, though, is how in the novel Neville will become a legend, lore, or a myth.  Matheson makes this idea interesting by making Neville a myth not because of his actions necessarily, but because of his humanity.  A year ago Neville was normal.  The way Neville acted and thought was the norm.  But now after the infection people seem to have resorted to primal living.  They have gone "full circle."  Again Matheson's choice of words is very descriptive and makes the reader think.  This idea of Neville becoming a legend because of his emotions highlights the theme of this book; humanity.