The book I am Legend by Richard Matheson explores the psychosomatic agony experienced by the protagonist Robert Neville. The epidemic affects all the populace except Neville. This epidemic is said to have been caused by war and spread by windstorms in the towns and an outburst in the mosquito populace. The story illustrates Neville’s day-to-day life in Los Angeles as he endeavors to understand, study, and probably find ways of treating the disease to which he is not vulnerable. His earlier life is revealed through a series of flashbacks: the pandemic affected his wife and daughter, forcing him into killing his spouse after she apparently resurrected as a vampire and confronted him (Matheson 47).
The book Y: the Last Man Vol.1 by Brian K. Vaughan launched in 2002 is a narrative about the only man who survives the simultaneous killing of every male mammal on Earth. The only survivors are an amateur artist Yorick Brown and his Capuchin ape. The plague’s effects spread over to cause the demise of many women as a result of men’s death. Yorick has fortitude to look for his dearest girlfriend Beth, who was staying in Australia during the time when the plague hit; loneliness was setting in because the two had not met for quite a long period.
The two characters Neville and Yorick, though in different storylines, undergo almost similar experiences of physical and psychological torture. In the novel I am Legend, Neville’s psychological torment has been depicted in several ways. To begin with, Neville has no freedom of movement; he subsists by locking up himself inside his house after sunset, safeguarded by garlic, mirrors, and crosses. His house is regularly surrounded by many vampires, led by his next door neighbor, Ben Cortman, attempting to get their ways inside. During the day, he works extremely hard to feed himself; he looks for supplies and hunts out the indolent vampires, killing them with stakes. Almost in a related way, Yorick’s freedom of movement is curtailed by Alter who expects to use his presence as immunity against all of Israel’s foes. Yorick devotes much of his time to masquerading as a lady, putting on a gas mask to avoid recognition. What is more, travelling across countries is unbelievably hard because gas and foodstuff are becoming difficult to get by the day; railways and roads are time and again obstructed, wrecked and guarded by armed mobs. Air travel is brought to a standstill (Vaughan 113).
Neville lacks company; he finds short-lived comfort in a lost dog that comes to his homestead. Neville gradually earns the dog’s trust with foodstuff and takes it to his house. In spite of his determinations, the dog is found with the infection and passes away a week later (Matheson 68). Yorick undergoes almost similar torment; the plague has claimed the lives of everybody in the line of succession prompting him to leave New York City for Washington, D.C. to look for his mother who works in the U.S. Congress. In the process, he meets the president who commissions Agent 355 to assist Yorick to get to Boston to meet a geneticist and an expert in cloning Dr. Allison Mann. However, Brown’s mother has distrust for Agent 355 which made her disclose Yorick’s presence to an Israeli commando, Alter (Vaughan 44).
Neville has sleepless nights trying to establish the scientific origin of the plague. He acquires books and other study resources from the nearby library and through thorough research find out that the contagion is caused by a strain of bacteria with the ability to infect both dead and alive hosts. He also learns that the vampires can be affected by garlic, mirrors, and crosses that cause hysterical blindness to them as a result of earlier psychological conditioning of the plague. The disease causes insanity that drives the infected to react when threatened by these objects (Matheson 143). Similarly, Yorick attempts to find solutions to the plague and possibly create more male beings. However, he faces strong opposition from Alter and her team, who burns down Dr. Mann’s laboratory. Dr. Mann has a reserve research laboratory in California which Agent 355 and Yorick decide to go to. They spend nearly two years moving across America to the laboratory. During their trip, they are involved in a number of awful adventures; traveling across the Midwest, the group bumps into Natalya, a Russian soldier who accompanies them to the laboratory. At that time, the place is confronted by Israeli commandos led by Alter; Yorick is captured during the attack but is later rescued by his comrades.
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Both characters suffer from betrayal. Neville is perplexed by the point that Ruth is troubled when he tells her about killing the vampires. It makes him curious such that he wants to carry out a test to find out if she is infected. At night, Neville is alarmed awake and finds Ruth totally dressed at the anterior door of the house. Doubtful, he interrogates her intentions, but then recounts her condition by the gone ordeal. Ruth unwillingly permits him to test her blood but hits him unconscious when the sample discloses that she has the bacteria. Ruth leaves a note confessing that her aim is to spy on him. Similarly, the congresswoman betrays Yorick when she reported him to the Israel commando, Alter.
Neville learns from Ruth that her associates are plotting to capture him; he should run away and hide in the mountains. The infected have developed resistance to sunlight exposure; as a result, they are trying to construct a new society. They have also developed treatment that aids them to overwhelm the most painful symptoms of the bacteria infection. However, Neville is reluctant to leave his home even though he understands that he will be seized by the new society. He is eventually attacked at his household. In the encounter, the affiliates of the new society aggressively deal with other vampires outside the house. Neville realizes that their intent is to kill him rather than seize.