Did Angel read Robert Frost?

For my Adolescent Lit class at Converse, I have to memorize a poem and recite it in front of my class, telling why I chose that poem and what makes it appealing for adolescents. I wanted to recite “Fire and Ice” by Robert Frost; however, it’s only 9 lines, and the poem needs to be at least 14. For those of you who are Stephanie Meyer fans, recall that “Fire and Ice” was the epigraph for Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight saga, and has since become representative of Bella’s choice between fire (Jacob the werewolf) and ice (Edward the vampire). So, in the realm of contemporary adolescent literature, Frost already has a vampire connection.

But I may have spotted another vampire connection. The poem I chose to recite is “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost. Both poems are late Frost, written during the Modern period in American literature. The poem:

“Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain–and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say goodbye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.

Anybody else think this could be the theme for a vampire–particularly one with a soul who is haunted by the need to atone for past sins? I think Joss had read this poem extensively when he created Angel. Just sayin’. 🙂

I Am Legend

iamlegend“But are his needs any more shocking than the needs of other animals and men? Are his deeds more outrageous than the deeds of the parent who drained the spirit from his child? The vampire may foster quickened heartbeats and levitated hair. But is he worse than the parent who gave to society a neurotic child who became a politician? Is he worse than the manufacturer who set up belated foundations with the money he made by handing bombs and guns to suicidal nationalists? Is he worse than the distiller who gave bastardized grain juice to stultify further the brains of those who, sober, were incapable of a progressive thought? (Nay, I apologize for this calumny; I nip the brew that feeds me.) Is he worse, then, than the publisher who filled ubiquitous racks with lust and death wishes? Really, now, search your soul, lovie–is the vampire so bad?

All he does is drink blood.”

* * *

I finished reading I Am Legend last night. It is not the same as the film, and one should not go into it believing that the film is an exact adaptation. Strangely enough, I prefer it this way. Generally, I’m a purist when it comes to movie adaptations, but so much was changed that the book and film are essentially two different stories with similar elements.

This is so because I Am Legend was published in the 1950s and takes place in the 1970s. The film is obviously much more relevant to our time. At times in the novel, I read about Robert Neville’s theories on why he is immune to the disease or about how the vampiris germ spreads, and I found myself thinking, “This isn’t really believable.” Then I reminded myself that I’m reading this more than 50 years after its publication, and most likely, in the 50s, Matheson was way ahead of his time.

The best thing about this book is the commentary on society. I found the above quote fascinating, and it’s great writing, in my opinion. The excerpt comes at a time when Neville is frustrated with his ineffectiveness against fighting the vampires. He’s been alone (well, without the presence of another human) for more than five months, and the time alone is affecting his rationale. He even wonders why he’s fighting so hard–why not just join them? Why keep fighting? And, really…what’s so bad about vampires? 🙂

I won’t spoil the ending, which is a definite surprise and incredibly intriguing. When I finished the book last night and set it down beside me, all sorts of questions ran through my head. What happens when society degrades? Could that happen in America–is it already happening in a way? How is it possible to live when one is the only person left confronting evil?

The book is good. The film is exceptional. The legends are different.