“What do you think of Robert Neville as our 'hero'? Is he a hero at all?”At first when I read this question, the answer that came to me immediately was no, Robert Neville is not a hero. I thought, who has he protected/saved other than himself? I guess I could say that he was his own hero but not anybody elses. But then I started to think about what it is that makes a hero. To me, a hero is someone who is brave in the face of imminent danger. A hero is someone who is strong and never gives up. And lastly, although not always successful, a hero is someone who tries to protect others. And when I thought about what it takes to be a hero, I decided that Robert Neville is in fact one of them.
Robert Neville is brave. Day after day, Neville goes “from house to house... us[ing] up all his stakes” by killing all the vampires he can find before sunset (Matheson 28). There were times when he would “ha[ve] to go to the burning pit everyday for weeks at a time” to dispose of the ones that died in front of his house (Matheson 26). He has even had to face those that needed his blood; those who's “need was their only motivation” (Matheson 23). Even when “a sound of helpless terror filled his throat” at the sight of the vampires “in front of his house, waiting,” he fought through them and made it into his house alive (Matheson 42). Which is why I consider him to be a man who never gives up.
Robert Neville is strong. Because of this germ, or bacteria that infected the town, Neville lost his wife and daughter. And while he often questioned “why not go out” and give himself up to the vampires to end his suffereing and “to be free of them,” he refused to give up. He knew “be[ing] one of them” would have ended the pain for him but it wasn't an option (Matheson 29). He vowed to “kill every mother's son of [the vampires] before [he would] give in” (Matheson 30). He also hoped that there were “others like him [that] existed somewhere” (Matheson 30).
Robert Neville is a protector. While his wife and daughter, Kathy were still alive, he tried his best to take care of them. With dust everywhere from the storms, Neville built “a tent over Kathy's bed to keep the dust from her face” (Matheson 53). When his wife first got sick, he would order her to “'go back to bed'” so that she could get her rest and get better (Matheson 54). After they died, he searched fro answers to his questions about vampires so that one day he would be able “to cure those still living” (Matheson 87).
At first glance, I did not think that Neville was a hero. However, with everything that I believe to be characteristics of a hero, Robert Neville, in my opinion is one after all.