I Am Legend 對米國種族問題的探討與批判

最近因電影上映而跟著火熱的 Richard Matheson I Am Legend,不只在此間,連行內學界也重新燃起討論的熱潮。在 IAFA-list 上,不知是哪位學者起的頭,發現本書和種族問題有深刻的關聯,果然就有另一名學者從 Journal of Dracula Studies 中挖出 Kathy Davis Patterson 所撰寫的論文 "Echoes of Dracula: Racial Politics and the Failure of Segregated Spaces in Metheson's I Am Legend" (2005) 做為回應(RTF 檔案格式,由此下載)。我花了兩天的閒暇好好拜讀之後,深深恨自己不能早點發覺,而不把這項論點放入倒毒之中。

本文以 1954 年五月(恰好是 I Am Legend 出版前兩個月)米國最高法院判決當時所採行的「種族隔離」政策違憲,賦予其他種族,特別是黑人完整的公民權為開端,說明十九世紀的吸血鬼小說,包括 Stoker 的 Dracula,其實帶有深刻的種族對立色彩,反映英國社會對東歐移民的恐懼。而作為二十世紀吸血鬼小說標竿的本書是否也有同樣的意旨呢?Patterson 精闢的分析帶給我們肯定的答覆。

In this unstable post-apocalyptic landscape, it is Neville who has become stagnant, “passé,” a persistent stereotype that refuses to die. In line with the racial subtext of the novel, he is the white male whose battle to preserve the status quo, to remain in the house where his truths and his values dominate and where, through violence and exploitation, he has managed to keep out everything he designates as Other, is doomed to failure. He was once part of a ruling majority, but in the end the novel situates him as a minority who finds himself surrounded and subsequently shot, both his house and his body penetrated by a race he is erroneously convinced he “knows.” This dexterous bit of race reversal is concretized by Matheson’s closing juxtaposition of color – namely, the sea of “white faces” that look up at Neville and see him as a “black terror.” In I Am Legend, both Neville (white society) and the vampires (black society) are overrun and destroyed. Those who survive are a hybrid mixture of the two, yet Neville still interprets this scene using racialized signifiers for what is human (white) and what is monstrous (black). His word choice reflects the degree to which he depends on these signifiers as a means of understanding his own identity. ...... The manner of his demise suggests that racially motivated fears and prejudices, along with their attendant violence and ultimately futile efforts at segregation, will endure no matter what new hybrid form the society takes. It also suggests that those who perpetuate racially motivated violence are doomed to become victims of such violence themselves.
因此由 Will Smith 主演電影版,是否在拍攝前就已經在某程度上「背離」原著,抑或對此議題完全無視或是有所轉化,頗令人玩味啊!可惜我住在深山林內,沒啥時間跑進城看電影,得等 DVD 再說了。


Anonymous said...

I have a feeling the film's not going to be an accurate depiction of the novel...
I haven't read the novel, but what you're saying here... I think I'd rather read the novel than watch the movie.
People are going to walk into the theater to watch Will Smith, and not appreciate the story. I would have done the same, if I hadn't read your articles on the novel....

Anonymous said...

建議把這電影當...嗯...世紀末救世主傳說好了 XD



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