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'Twilight': Reading between the lines


Image "Twilight" Created by Sarah Greeley at www.wordle.com

Twilight took the book industry by storm when it was first released in 2005 by author Stephanie Meyer. Whispers of the "next Harry Potter" traveled lightly on the wind and into the hearing range of many. But Meyer's new series was in fact nothing like JK Rowling's international phenomenon, except for the fact that both involved the supernatural and quickly became bestsellers.

Since its debut, Twilight has experienced a flurry of both positive and negative reactions from readers as well as critics. The books are unquestionably aimed toward teenage girls, and have been extremely successful in gaining their readership. When Summit Entertainment picked up the books as a project, the frenzy of popularity grew, now including those who had not yet read the books.

Despite its incredible success, the series has also taken much criticism to do with subliminal messages within the text. Though many teens have read and love the series, some critics are concerned about what messages the books might be sending to today's teenage girls.

The main characther, Bella, is often a source of concern, as some see her devotion to Edward as dependence. There can be no question about her constant attachment to him, which sometimes borders on obsessiveness. She often finds herself in awe of Edward's "perfection," not truly believing that she is worthy of his love, and often doubting that he cares for her the same way. But, she's so infatuated with Edward that she's willing to settle for what she can get.

Bella's fragility is also often emphasized, since compared to vampires she is about as strong as a dollar-store toy. Edward is an honorable lead male, constantly fretting over her safety and treating her with respect. However, it is easy to see the two falling into traditional ideas of male and female roles.

Twilight provides an interesting read, that's for sure. But it's unclear whether the "messages" that can be found within the books were intended or just created by critics. However, it is clear that, despite the negative attention the books have recieved, they will continue to be immensely successful. As with Harry Potter, or any other bestselling Young Adult fiction book, they will have their devotees and their denouncees behind them the entire way.

Comments

  • Barbara Friedman 4 years ago

    Interesting and insightful. I like this writer's style and observations.

  • Heidi Elizabeth 4 years ago

    It really makes you think about all the TV episodes, books, magazine articles and pictures, movies, etc. that basically tell women that they need to rely upon a man. Not many things out there that the woman can stand on her own two feet w/o a man by her side. I think society needs to broaden its horizons :)

  • Karen Bresnahan 4 years ago

    This article is well written and I like the way the author identifies the problem with female and male roles, especially because of the audience of young women it reaches. Although Twilight is intreging, it does portray and young girl's dependence and obsession, which is unhealthy in real life.

  • Gary 4 years ago

    In fiction, we only care about characters who have power. Bela's power is her ability motivate & manipulate her undead boyfriend. Sorry, but that's pretty sick. What's even worse is what the story's popularity says about our culture.

    A vampire tale is an odd way to create an allegory, but Meyer infused this story with the gender roles promoted by her religion. If you agree with those gender roles, then you shouldn't have an issue with the social messages in her story. If you like Twilight and don't agree with those gender roles, then perhaps you're a shallow reader just interested in the necrophilia aspect of dating the undead.

    There are plenty of other stories that are far more deserving of your reading time.

  • Lisa H. 4 years ago

    I had never thought of Bella's situation the way this writer has laid it out for us. I definitely agree that Bella fits the unflattering stereotype of an infatuated/obsessed girl - and that it is an unhealthy relationship between her and Edward. I hope that young women, or teen girls, don't romanticize about an obsession-based, stereotyped romance!

    The author of this article does a great job at "reading between the lines," and pointing out to me some things that I obviously overlooked! Great article - I look forward from hearing more from this writer.

  • Devon 4 years ago

    Though I understand the points about Bella's feelings and actions regarding Edward and how some could view them as negatively as dependence, I disagree. It is a common story, both on page and in life, for a man to be in love with a woman who shows some interest, but is not into it as much as he is. When the man will not leave the woman the man is not necessarily viewed as dependent. Is it not possibly empowering to have a woman who knows what she wants and won't settle for less?

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