Rereading The Twilight Saga this summer was not some long, thought out decision where I envisioned the consequences of throwing it so far back shoulders were bound to be dislocated. In fact, it was rather spur of the moment, a reach into the darkness of boredom.
I’ll set the scene: I was at my yard sale, going through things I had boxed up 3 years ago when I found the entire Saga (plus that tiny weird spin off book) priced reasonably for $5. I looked up from the box, checked to see if anyone was looking, put them in my car, and by doing so, reclaimed years spent as a middle schooler. I then had a mission: read Twilight for the first time since 6th grade. And eight years later, I was able to experience the literary greatness that is Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight once again, but with a completely different perspective.
After conducting a poll on my Twitter asking what blog post I should do next, “Analysis of Twilight” won and that’s how we came to be here today. Hopefully this meets the expectations of my voters or turns out to be a worthy time waster while you’re on your phone at work but we’ll just have to make it to the end to find out.
For starters, I’d like the address the author’s name: why the frick does she spell her name “Stephenie” and not “Stephanie”? It’s a great question and I’m leaving it unanswered so we can actually get on to business because I could honestly write an entire post on people with “uniquely” spelled names (and it’d be vicious).
If for some reason you, dear reader, have been living under a rock for the past decade or so and completely missed out on devouring every word of Bella’s description of Edward or the heated arguments over whether vampires or werewolves are better, I’ll fill you in. Twilight is a vampire romance novel, starring everyone’s favorite character Bella Swan, who after moving to Forks, Washington becomes infatuated with Edward Cullen, A HOT, SEXY MARBLE-CUT VAMPIRE. My problems aren’t with the storyline itself (forbidden love ‘cuz like, she’s human, he’s not (classic)), but it’s characters, who are controlling, erratic, obsessive, short-tempered, and just plain whiny. And for some reason, it’s a #1 New York Times Bestseller.
Here are the problems I have with this book, none of which I noticed reading it the first time when I was 11 (because the only thing I probably noticed was Jacob Black because TayTay Lautner is shirtless ALL THE TIME):
Bella is a Child With a Death Wish Probably Caused by Undiagnosed Psychological Issues — And in more ways than one, even if only the reader is putting these connections together. I spend a lot of time with children; sometimes when they fall, they get right back up, slightly confused but do not shed a single tear. Bella is like this—she’s slightly confused about her surroundings and situations but keeps on trucking on, stupidly into the dark and dangerous night. Being surrounded by bloodthirsty vampires all the time? She’s totes okay with it, doesn’t mind it. Almost gang-banged by a group of sketch dudes? Nothing, I’m good–get me some Italian food, Eddie. Convincing herself that Edward forcing her into prom will actually turn into a steamy night of Edward changing her into a vampire? Girl please, she only wishes. And she’s like this because?? Could be a lack in parental guidance and commonsense which are provided by her lustful, 100something year old boyfriend, who consistently belittles her, a practically grown woman, by calling her names, laughing at her cluelessness or comments, and even goes as far as carrying and guiding her and making decisions for her (at the end of the book, he literally tells the nurse when and when not to medicate her). With an absent father and an apparent scatterbrained mother, Bella was subconsciously looking for this kind of intrusive, protective type and found that in a dangerous package. In the entire book, even before she and Edward became boyfriend/girlfriend (after one date mind you), I don’t think Bella makes even one decision without first thinking of Edward in any fashion. 300 pages of this book is Bella frustratingly describing every action Edward makes towards her and the other 200 pages is Bella blaming herself for putting him in danger. This is fangirling but times ten, as Edward only fuels the flames.
Edward Cullen, The Hottest Stalker to Ever Exist — Hashtag relationship goals if the goal is an example of an abusive relationship. I wish Buzzfeed quizzes were available to Bella and her dinosaur, dial up computer and had taken one called, “If your crush does this, he might want to eat you…” She would have answered yes to the following questions:
Is your crush a vampire?
Does your crush smell your throat and comment on its deliciousness?
Does your crush watch you while you sleep or follow you on shopping trips, unbeknownst to you?
Does your crush suck vampire venom out of your blood stream and then tell you it tasted better than he was expecting?
While I am totally there for a well dressed, athletic man with an extensive taste in music, the hottest vampire ever described becomes much less attractive when he strives to scare Bella by telling her how dangerous he is, piggy-back riding her through the woods while she’s practically holding in her puke, and driving at ungodly speeds. Chief Swan, give this man a ticket!
Everyone Else — All supporting characters besides Bella and Edward are unimportant. We know this because we know nothing about them. Meyers doesn’t even take the time to describe them or give Bella meaningful conversation with them and instead only pays attention to Edward’s brooding scowl and marble abs pressed up against his tight sweater. My challenge, if you’ve read the book: name Bella’s friends who aren’t vampires. It’s hard to do and I just read the freaking thing.
What I LOVE about Twilight:
The Absurdity of Bella’s Popularity — I went to a small school, probably similar to Forks High School and let me just tell ya, a gal like Bella would not have been welcomed with such open arms. She’s awkward, silent, and the daughter of the POLICE CHEIF. Nobody wants to have sleepovers at the police chief’s house. Bella doesn’t describe herself as beautiful either and Edward never really gives the reasons why he finds her so attractive besides her blood smelling so damn delicious. So how on earth does she have a hoard of high school boys fighting over her?? I mean literally fighting.
I use the term loosely but Poor Literature Makes for A Good Distraction — Sometimes being a citizen of the world is hard on your heart because you’re constantly seeing reminders of how bad the shape of the world is in. Sometimes reading a chapter of Twilight can serve as a fantastic and hilarious distraction and I suggest you do it.
It Contains The World’s Best Example of Foreshadowing and It Should Be Taught in Public Schools Everywhere – On Bella’s first day of school she is sitting out in her truck giving herself a pep talk to walk in the building. She kept telling herself it would be fine and then said “NO ONE WAS GOING TO BITE ME.” OH. MY. GOSH.
And this is the end. I could try and come up with some stellar short paragraph tying Twilight to the real world, and real world people and problems but I can’t because no matter how much you dig into this 500-page novel, it’s just a romantic story about slightly insane characters, both human and vampire. (Though I will admit I have heard many theories, including one tying the Cullen Coven to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints.)
So reader, while I don’t think reading Twilight is a worthy use of time, much like this pointless blog post, it’s a beloved cult classic for a reason and it brings back all those fuzzy feelings from middle school. Because like, we all want to be reminded of middle school and how we were totally obsessed with a fictional character because she was obsessed with another character that just happened to have sparkly skin.
Oh, yeah, one last thing: Team Edward or Team Jacob?