The ‘Twilight’ Mystique – And Why It’s Undeserved

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:25 pm,

twilight bella edward 01 The Twilight Mystique   And Why Its Undeserved

Now that the vampire phenomenon has completely infiltrated my list of media streams, I must stand and be accounted for. I am NOT a “Twilighter,” and I cannot fathom how anyone could be.

Within the screaming masses of America’s teen hearts, a personal attachtment to these characters has vice-gripped our youth. Thousands of our sisters, daughters and friends are choosing sides in an unknown divide. Twilight is being hailed as the next great young adult series with a twist of fantasy.

But there’s something particularly odd about it altogether, and it isn’t just the undead.

The story is of a seventeen year old Bella Swan, who moves to the small town of Forks, Washington and has a run in with some vampires. Living with her father after her mother remarries a minor league baseball player, she quickly makes friends at her new high school. The Cullens, a group of mysterious siblings (who seem to have paired up, ick) intrigue Bella. The loner, Edward, sits next to her in Biology class on her first day of school, but much to Bella’s dismay, he seems disgusted with her.

A couple of days later Bella would’ve been hit by a van if it weren’t for the efforts of Team Edward. He suddenly appears between her and the vehicle and unmistakably stops it with his hand. He refuses to explain the act and warns Bella against becoming friends with him.

It turns out, he’s a vampire–but only drinks animal blood so naturally(?), they fall in love. Edward introduces Bella to his vampire family: Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, Emmett, and Rosalie. Shortly thereafter, three nomadic vampires arrive and put Bella’s life in danger. Since this is all I wanted to focus on, I won’t spoil the rest of its so-called plot. For those of you who haven’t seen it and do catch it, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

After seeing Twilight last November, I didn’t particularly like it but it was much more on a subtle level. (I saw it opening weekend, as a matinee, so screaming tweens weren’t the reason for my viewing displeasure.) I chuckled at parts that weren’t meant to be funny and was a bit puzzled by some awkward moments but overall, I thought to myself “meh, nothing special.” But it wasn’t until I saw crowds of people and box office numbers that I decided that the material deserved a little more looking over.

Twilight is a typical movie geared to the ripe age of 13-18 but upon further inspection, things aren’t always what they appear to be. Bella is toted as a relatable, typical teenage girl and Edward is just your run-of-the-mill vampire. The two fall endlessly in love with one another in a tale of forbidden fruit, where “the lion fell in love with the lamb.” It’s meant to be a romantic fantasy shrouded in vampire lore–but it’s not… not by a long shot. It irrevocably fails on every level: as a love story, a vampire story and ultimately as a piece of literature against the grind of time. So why are young adults all over it now? Stephen King has a theory.

As one of the most successful novelists of the last few decades, he’s known for his unforgettable stories: Dreamcatcher, It, Misery, and The Shining, just to name a few. Since publishing Carrie, he’s been a force in literature for over 35 years.

When asked the innocent question of whether or not he had a hand in paving the way of massive success for J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, he took a lunchroom bump at the Twilight queen:

“[On H.P. Lovecraft] It was chillier than my heart was, when Matheson started to write about ordinary people and stuff, that was something that I wanted to do. I said, ‘This is the way to do it. He’s showing the way.’ I think that I serve that purpose for some writers, and that’s a good thing. Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people. … The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.”

King went on to speculate that Twilighters simply aren’t ready for a depiction of real, adult romance.

“It’s exciting and it’s thrilling and it’s not particularly threatening, because they’re not overtly sexual. A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that’s a shorthand for all the feelings that they’re not ready to deal with yet.”

Which got me thinking: if the book is intended for young adults, isn’t it suppose to help facilitate a transition into real situations? And does it do that? Having read King’s work when I was a young adult, I took it upon myself to pose the comment to the intellectual readers I know and seek their answers. I asked Twilighters and anti-Twilighters–young and young at heart, some were vampire lovers and some were brand new. And after much debate and some paid lunches, Twilight remains a mediocre attempt at a romantic-vampire-fantasy fiction and does little to prepare for what life may hold ahead.

twilight bella 01 The Twilight Mystique   And Why Its UndeservedI suppose we should begin with Bella, since she is the point at which we move through the story. She’s an average girl and beyond a brief description, her appearance is up for interpretation. She’s noted as clumsy, unpopular and has a dry sense of humor. She’s a bit shy, so she keeps to herself, but Bella is the school’s newest face so everyone want to get to know her. After the initial vehicle incident, Edward comes off as merely one of several boys interested in her. Audiences are told, unlike the other humans, Edward is unable to read her thoughts. And, sadly, that’s about it; because the story is told in her point of view, it’s unlikely that we’d get any more about our self. This poses a problem because her narration is supposed to be how we experience the romance.

Much of the story is spent in fluctuations of apparent danger and safety. The plot puts Bella in certain moments where she might be hurt: a teenager behind the wheel of a van, vampires that might want to feed on her and four men approaching her alone. Except for the last scenario, there aren’t any situations where one might need the help of a knight in shining armor. Bella’s attraction to Edward is merely right place and right timing, mixing the adrenaline of dangerous offsets with not-so-coincidental interference. Every time there’s a chance she may need to be rescued, he is lurking nearby to grab at the opportunity. Afterward Edward can sway her with his charming words, which is needed, because he isn’t inherently trustworthy.

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  1. I don’t even care about all of these technicalities about vampires. The whole vampire thing is a juvenile obsession, I don’t care how old you are chronologically, you should have gotten past the romanticism behind the whole vampire concept when you were 15. I can care less about vampires, they are not “sexy” to me, they are retards with sharp teeth who drink blood, can’t get daylight, and turn into bats, and whatever other corny stuff we associate with them. I don’t care if they are not that way in this movie/book, I still think it’s a little silly for people to go all gaga over something like vampires… Or werewolves for that matter. So I guess you guys know how excited I was over the newest Underworld movie… yay… But at least that was an action movie, I kind of understand the hype behind that more, but a romantic drama about vampires? Ah, whatever, I agree with the author of this article, I just don’t get it.

    And stopping the van? He’s just showing off, if he wanted to do something less suspicious, he could have simply grabbed her and moved her out of the way, even if he had to do this super quick, his super speed would be less noticeable than stopping a van with his hand… How retarded… Ah whatever, I don’t understand what the big deal is if he saved her at no risk to himself. Wouldn’t it have been more romantic if he actually risked his own life to save her? But obviously that can posed no threat to him…

    Ah, I’ll stop talking about things that happened in the movie because I haven’t seen it, I could just be understanding the summary wrong…

  2. First of all, I would like to say sorry. It’s my fault that Carl (my brother, sadly) wrote this article. Though I don’t agree with all of his arguments some of the points he makes are understandable and reasonable.

    I would just like to say, as a young man in high school, that Edward does effect the views of high school girls. Edward is a symbol of perfection, and his vampiric flaw is a characteristic that Bella loves. And as a picture of perfection, he sets a standard for men that only a fictional character can reach. So when you say that Twilight is not a how-to guide for girls I agree with you, but Twilight does change how girls view the young men around them because no person has only one flaw and not every flaw is loved.

  3. Go Christy and Kristina!
    I am one of those people who didn’t read much before twilight. Which is fairly sad…
    My name’s Sara Solimani and I am 13 years old. Twilight is, yes not a very well written book (Some how I’m sure I could write a better book *detail wise*) and a not very vampiric story, but tell me, how is one book vampiric? The one thing that bugs me is Stephanie Meyer never meant for it to be a book… She had a Dream, a dream about a human and a gorgeous vampire falling in love with eachother. She wrote this dream down and somehow it became the international best seller. As a twilighter I can’t really explain why I’m so drawn to this story… It could be the fact that Edward isn’t some jocky idiot that most schools are infested with. Or it could be that he accepts Bella for herself, and he’s her prince charming. OR that as her prince charming he wants her in a different way then most boys do, for her blood. She sees that he is able to overcome this obstacle and instantly falls for him. Bella is one of those girls who expects more from people. The story brings on a romantic suspense that the adolescent mind of females (and some males) yearn for. Yes, the vampire part of the story is forgotten most times when reading the books, but why should that matter anyway. It’s just a story. So what if doesn’t make sense when compared to other vampire stories! If you want to read that stuff, stick to those stories. Not trying to be overdramatic or anything, but twilight has truly changed my life. I now look at people more clearly and pick out their personalities with great observation. The book isn’t perfect, not everyone will like it. Its apparent that your trying to understand why everyone else likes it. You should just be happy that your not in the mind boggling world of the Cullens like the rest of us crazy twilighters. You my friend have sense, and if sense is wondering why everyone else likes something when you do not I am glad to say I dont have it. Screw sense. Twilight doesn’t make sense and I like it. I don’t make sense either. Alot of things dont make sense, but I have truly fallen in love with the senseless story. You can hate, wont bring me down, or any of the other lovers out there. For people who don’t like it you should just ignore it like all the other things you don’t like. You dont HAVE to like it, It doesn’t HAVE to make sense. As long as its a good story to people who love it, right?
    But what do I know
    I’m just some teeny booper,
    Twilight crazed, life loving,
    pyscho, 13 year old :o)

    Ps.- Stephanie Meyer is practically a kid herself, maybe that’s why we can
    relate to the story
    Peace!

  4. “And is described as such. The question is not what it is, but why is it getting so much attention?”

    Reverend,

    Why not?
    Teenagers aren’t typically known for being incredibly deep, philosophical people. Of course there are some that are, but as a general rule they’re looking for gratification and a chance to lose their own teen angst (because you know they all have it!) for awhile and enjoy themselves. And that’s how it should be-it’s not like they’re being dumb, they’re just young.

    And since that’s who this series was marketed for and the majority of who makes up the fanbase, why is everyone surprised that this tale of fluffy, cute love, mythological creatures, and general fantasy fits the bill?
    Teens don’t care how well it’s written. They don’t care about grammatical mistakes. They just enjoy it. So do I.

    (I probably did not explain that well. I had some cold medicine and am not super coherent right now. Sorry!)

  5. Yes, I totally agree with Kristina.

    Yes it’s true the writing isn’t perfect but as the above comment mentions, Stephenie Meyer began this with a dream, she wasn’t initially a writer, an author trying to make a book to sell.

    The only reason people are picking Twilight out so much and criticizing it, is because it’s being compared to Harry Potter. I’m sorry, but what in the hell has Harry Potter got to do with anything, the only caparison is that they’re both a series of books that are being made into films. Full Stop.

    Harry Potter is this huge franchise that god knows how many people love. It’s mainstream, it’s the one that’s on all the billboard charts and makes ridiculous amounts of money. Twilight doesn’t even compare to Harry Potter, they’re in completely different leagues let alone genres.

    Twilight, to me anyway, is kind of underground, it’s NOT mainstream. You either really, really love it or hate it.
    It’s sort of off beat, and different and that’s the reason some people don’t understand it.

    I want to point out that I didn’t like Harry Potter, (and here’s some irony that was mentioned before) because I didn’t relate to ANY of the characters, and I didn’t care about the story.

    Men probably think it sets impossible standards for them, to be just like Edward. Let me comfort you in the fact that women don’t expect that, it is impossible, because it’s fiction. It’s the same as women hoping men don’t expect them to look like Gisele Bundchen or any other supermodel.

    This will always be a debate but don’t criticize those who like Twilight just because you don’t understand why.

  6. @Dustin

    Don’t apologize, Carl’s article has generated some great discussion here!

    Vic

  7. You know, sorry to sound mean, but this is honestly how I feel based on all of my experiences with people, but I think the thing that draws girls to this series is not really Edward, but Bella. If it’s true that her character is one that is able to overlook all of the typical “pigs” of boys in her school and goes for this so-called “perfect” gentleman guy, then it would make sense. Most girls I know would say over and over how they are looking to meet a “nice” guy that will be loyal to them. Yet every guy they fall for, all of us guys KNOW this guy is a player and will hurt her later. Yet that’s who these girls fall for. Nice guys become friends and they can’t see anything more than that.

    I think young girls subconsciously are drawn to this because here is a girl that’s strong enough to actually follow through with it instead of constantly falling for the “bad boys.” Girls typically grow out of this, but usually not until they hit the 30′s. So that would be a good reason why fans of this are typically younger and at the oldest in their 20′s.

    True, I don’t know EVERY girl in the world so I can’t say this is a rule, but basically every girl I know and have met have this same problem, with maybe ONE exception. That’s right, I can count all of the ones that don’t fit this, lol.

    Out of the ones that go through this, I can remember 2 of them actually admitting it to me, meaning they see that they do this, but can’t help themselves. The rest think I’m out of my mind, but all of my male friends notice the same trend so it’s not just me, lol. :-D

  8. o.k. I completly disagree with this article. I respect your opinion. Not everyone agrees. I may completly hate something you like but you dont see me bashing it on the net. Poor stephenie meyer SHE PUT A LOT OF HARD WORK INTO THESE BOOKS. SHE DOESNT NEED YOU BASHING ON HER. Oh and by the it’s fiction. No ones trying to get any real life situations out of it. It’s just for fun.

  9. P.s.s-
    Stephanie also meant the book to be for fun. She didn’t expect all the fame. She was just a mom that ended up having a random dream and writing it down. Some how it all came together.Fans feel a relation to the characters. Its not about the sense JEEZE! fiction. fiction. fiction. All that matters is she had alot of fun creating this story, that fun is passed onto the reader.
    YEP. :o)

  10. You know one thing I have to say about most Twilight fans when it comes to discussions like this: Although you disagree for the most part you’re polite, civil and articulate and we at Screen Rant REALLY appreciate that!

    Best regards,

    Vic (Screen Rant Editor-in-Chief)

  11. thank you, i try very hard to seem civil. It just seems like harsh discussions are a lot more effective then blathering cursing matches of which side is better.

  12. “Adorno saw the culture industry as an arena in which critical tendencies or potentialities were eliminated. He argued that the culture industry, which produced and circulated cultural commodities through the mass media, manipulated the population. Popular culture was identified as a reason why people become passive; the easy pleasures available through consumption of popular culture made people docile and content, no matter how terrible their economic circumstances. The differences among cultural goods make them appear different, but they are in fact just variations on the same theme. He wrote that “the same thing is offered to everybody by the standardised production of consumption goods” but this is concealed under “the manipulation of taste and the official culture’s pretense of individualism”. [10] Adorno conceptualised this phenomenon as pseudo-individualization and the always-the-same. He saw this mass-produced culture as a danger to the more difficult high arts. Culture industries cultivate false needs; that is, needs created and satisfied by capitalism. True needs, in contrast, are freedom, creativity, and genuine happiness. But the subtle dialectician was also able to say that the problem with capitalism was that it blurred the line between false and true needs altogether.”

    Quoted from the works of Theodor Adorno on Wikipedia. Happy debating.

    Rev

  13. I’ve worked with books now for 6 years now, the past 4 of which have been in retail. Vampire lore is something I spent over half of my life reading. I have read everything in the spectrum from Anne Rice, Poppy Z. Brite, Meredith Ann Pierce (Dark Angel Trilogy), L.J. Smith (Night World and Vampire Diaries), Allison Krauss (Silver Kiss), Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake), Patricia Briggs (Mercy Thompson), Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Barb and J.C. Hendee (Dhampir), Keri Arthur (Riley Jenson). Having been out of the high school mindset for a while now, the fact that Twilight is categorized as a teen book made me disinterested in reading it. But after seeing females flock into our store and buy these books like the girls in my day would buy NSYNC albums, I wanted to know what this Twilight mania was all about.

    I started reading the books, in part to better understand my customers/consumers, and also in part because I was hoping to find another good vampire series. I did this with an open mind. I had started reading Harry Potter and Eragon as an effort to get to know my younger consumers and to see what the appeal was. I got myself hooked on those books. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the books of Stephenie Meyers. I finished Twilight and New Moon. I got about 20 pages into Eclipse and I had to put the book down. This is a rare thing for me to do, once I start something I like to finish it. I may not have been converted, but reading these books has given me insight to the demographic that loves them.

    I see the kind of females that come in to buy these books. They are not someone I would have hung out with in high school and they are not the kind of females that I keep in my current company. The younger girls who eat these books up are the same girls who have been reading the Clique and Gossip Girl. There’s a lot of content in these books that are totally inappropriate for their age group, and the formula the books follow is that sex sells. The girls find it almost liberating in a way, to read about Bella finding true love without the pressures of engaging in sex. They want to hear that true love can be found without having to give up your body. As for the women slightly older than me, these women are jaded. They have been let down in love so many times and are tired of reading realistic fiction in which the main character also shares her jaded attitude. Reading and experiencing love through Bella may take them back to a place they haven’t been a while, and have desperately wanted to find.

    Now I will briefly hit the point that has failed to be mentioned when analyzing why Twilight is so successful. It’s because Twilight is for people in the mainstream who have never read the vampire genre. The association that they made with vampires and people who read about them is “freaks.” Meyers took away/toned down the elements that made the vampire genre for “freaks,” such as violence and blood drinking, because this is what repulsed people. It makes it okay for these “normal” women to read vampire books because it’s not the “weird” usual vampire stuff.

    I’m also a little concerned that no one has made mention of Wuthering Heights, which is Bella’s favorite book. Wuthering Heights depicts a very violent love with physical manifestations. Of course this is going to influence a young girl somewhat if this is what she thinks love essentially should be: love is a struggle, it consists of a man telling you what to do, and sometimes a man beating you all in the name of love. This is not acceptable. Does this type of love exist? It’s not something I have ever experienced nor would I care to. Yes Twilight is fiction, but we all draw influence from our favorite books. I would hate for any woman, young or old, to emulate any characteristics from Wuthering Heights if they relate to Bella.

    Onto another point, and this is the political science major coming out in me, but the way Edward orders Bella around it took me back to my introductory courses in which we learn that the masses want someone (a leader) to tell them what to do. We need someone to run this country and tell us what the law is, we have let presidents dictate what we can and cannot do in our private lives. I am not too hopeful that Meyers meant for some aspect of Bella and Edward’s relationship to be a political/social commentary.

    So how does this translate to the Twilight fans? There is nothing sexier to a woman than a man who is assertive and knows what he wants. Edward has lived a longer than human life, he must definitely know more about life than Bella. And it is because of this life knowledge that she just kind of accepts his bossing around. Which one could also argue, because of the absence of Bella’s father in her life, Edward fills this void with his authoritarian manner.

    I would like to argue that Bella is not unique. I thought she was bland and I’ll be honest when I say I don’t know why Edward is attracted to her in the first place. The scent effect is a weak one. I saw an interview with Kristen Stewart in which she said that, it wasn’t quite important who Bella and Edward were as individuals. What mattered was the relationship when they were together and the people they became. I’m more willing to subscribe to this; however no fan has ever uttered a response similar to that.

    I’ve sold hundreds of these books. It is my job to be aware of the trends in sales and know why a book is so popular that we can’t keep it stocked on our shelves. I went the extra step in knowing the content of merchandise and looking into the consumer appeal by reading the books. Stephenie Meyer has managed to make vampires mass marketable. She had a good idea but her execution could have been better. Having read a wide variety of vampire lore, there are many other authors who got the vampire thing right. They also far surpass Stephenie Meyer in their writing capacities, as well as story telling abilities.

  14. i can tell you right now… I am NOT one of those clique gossip girls you described buying books in the store… I’m just a kid, and I may not have alot of book expierence, but it seems wrong to compare fiction to fiction… I mean, if its fiction how can you compare it to another fiction? I think twilight is also successful because adolesents who read it aren’t bored to death by the plot like most other books.
    Honestly, most of the people I see buying the books are goths. I’m not really a goth, maybe more of an intelectual punk rocker or something.

  15. ( I’m actually waiting for the twilight crazed fan to jump into the this rant with a foaming mouth as they type all kinds of curse words towards haters. It’s kind of hilarious to think of what’s gonna happen when the crazies get a look at this article :o) )

  16. Kristina is right. Reading this article made me feel a little bored and embarassed for the writers hand. It is similar to watching a comedy sketch made by children who don’t have the experience it takes to fully understand the thing they’re trying to make fun of and thus easily expose how these limitations affect their interpretation of it.
    When forming opinions one should be his own critic and seek arguments against these opinions to see if they hold up, most importantly when publishing anything on the internet or in the papers. Writing in a one-track way shows disrespect for the readers plus it’s so much more interesting to read an opinion opposite your own when the arguments are valid and actually challenging.

  17. Is incredible for me that people go out of the way to explain why they dislike the Twilight books or movie. Is it really necessary? Are you trying to convince the fans they are wrong because they like them?
    Twilight is not for everybody, nobody has said it was or pretends to be…
    I see your point of you and obviously it is not something you like, point taken. But is it really necessary to putting us down and saying we are not smart or that we most be out of my mind or immature because we like the story.
    I respect different points of view … but I just don’t understand why the attack to the fans…can people just let us have fun and enjoy what we like?
    I really don’t understand
    I am not a teenager, I am 37 years old, and I am a fan of the Movie and the books.
    No… I don’t go around kicking and screaming, but I do enjoy talking with fans about the books the actors and the movie. Does that make me weird, crazy or not smart?
    It really makes me sad how much bad talk is directed to us Twilight fans.

    Why?

  18. Nathalie…yes definitely you are not the type of girl I hang out with in high school either…Thank God for that.
    Not because I like twilight that makes me jaded. Is sad that even though it seems you can communicate quite well you don’t seem to be able to talk without putting people in groups or stereotypes.
    Sometimes you like a book because is good, because is funny, because is different, because makes you feel good or bad. There are only BOOKS it does not say who you are or who your friends are… please … are you serious?
    I agree that there’s a lot of content in these books that are inappropriate younger readers…anything else was just you talking…I guess you like to hear or read yourself talk.

  19. Nathalie-

    I’m not jaded-I don’t read these books because I want them to be my life. I read them for the same reason I read any book-entertainment! I’m an average mid-twenties girl who’s never had any desire to read the ‘Clique’ or ‘Gossip Girl’ series’. And I’m not the exception to the rule-I know many people who are similar in that. That was an incredible stereotype you laid down. I’ve seen people that love Twilight-and as far as I can tell they’re not one certain type of people. Other than the fact that they’re almost all female, haha. Also, I can’t tell just by looking at them whether or not we could have hung out in high school, so that’s a pretty impressive talent! :)

    Rev-
    “True needs, in contrast, are freedom, creativity, and genuine happiness.”
    This is very true.
    And I’ll twist it around for my own purposes, haha.
    I have the freedom to read these books, the creativity to make it work even though it’s badly flawed, and genuine happiness when I read them.
    And it works the other way-people have the freedom to dislike these books, the creativity to spend hours upon hours coming up with reasons why, and genuine happiness when they feel they’ve justified it to people!

    Driguerra-

    Sometimes I feel the same way-that people think I’m an idiot or crazy for liking Twilight. Then I realize I don’t care, haha. Of course I’ll defend myself and what I like, but it really doesn’t bother me much.

    K, I’m exhausted and going to take more cold meds. Have fun, everyone!

  20. You know one thing I have to say about most Twilight fans when it comes to discussions like this: Although you disagree for the most part you’re polite, civil and articulate and we at Screen Rant REALLY appreciate that!

    Vic-

    Contrary to popular belief, Twilight fans aren’t all crazy idiots! :D Thanks for the compliment.

  21. To Carl: I respect your opinion on the series. As a Twilight fan I tried my best to see from an unbiased perspective view.

    I agree with a lot of your statements, but there is one in particualar that I don’t fully agree with and that is the attraction that Edward feels for Bella being purely based on her scent and hidden thoughts.

    If you read the books, Bella is actually an altruistic person. She constantly places the needs of others before her own. She moved to Forks so her mother could be happy with her new huband. She hides her distate of Forks from her father so as not to upset him, those are just some examples. I believe this is another reason why Edward has fallen in love with her. I can easily understand that attraction, I tend to admire self-less people.

    When I was reading Twilight, I too thought the only reason that Edward and Bella liked eachother was based on their supernatural attributes, but upon reading deeper I realized that even though things appear to be lustful and superficial, it does not mean that two people in such circumstances can’t fall in love. It’s a matter of learning more about eachother.

  22. There’s no such thing as an altruistic person. She does all of these things for other people because it makes her feel better about herself, or the happiness of these other people make her happy. Thus, it benefits her as well. ;-)

    Ok, I’m not really that pessimistic, I’m just kidding.

  23. Oops, that’s more cynical than pessimistic…

  24. @ Nathalie

    I’m very surprised to see the stereotypes that us Twilight fans are being categorised into. I am another one of those women who does NOT read into the ‘Clique’ or ‘Gossip Girl’ (Whatever they are, I’m guessing an American thing, I’m British) and neither are the people I know who like these books.

    - “The girls find it almost liberating in a way, to read about Bella finding true love without the pressures of engaging in sex. They want to hear that true love can be found without having to give up your body.”

    And is that really a bad thing? Don’t we want the younger generations to grow up and to act on the fact that you DON’T have to ‘give up your body’ to find true love. You sound like a very cynical person, and from what you’ve wrote, you seem to think that it’s naïve and stupid for girls to think that way.

    – “Now I will briefly hit the point that has failed to be mentioned when analysing why Twilight is so successful. It’s because Twilight is for people in the mainstream who have never read the vampire genre. The association that they made with vampires and people who read about them is ‘freaks’.”

    I agree that Twilight will hit an audience that may have never been introduced to the vampire genre, but again you’re stereotyping, saying that because I haven’t read Vampire lore before means that I think the people that have, are ‘freaks’. I’m sorry, maybe you do, but I don’t judge people by what they read or watch and I certainly don’t dictate who my friends are by what they are into.

    Don’t stereotype the people who like Twilight. Just because the majority are females that you have ‘seen’ buying these books doesn’t mean that some men haven’t bought into the saga. The same as I don’t stereotype the people who like ‘Dance’ music just because I don’t like it. ANYONE can enjoy whatever music, films and books of their choosing and I will never judge or categorise them for that.

    - “I would like to argue that Bella is not unique. I thought she was bland and I’ll be honest when I say I don’t know why Edward is attracted to her in the first place. The scent effect is a weak one.”

    Well that is a weak argument. Obviously Bella is unique to Edward. He’s never met anyone who’s thoughts he couldn’t read. This initially attracts her to him, then once he gets to know her he sees how self-less she is etc. and falls for her, flaws and all. No one will fully understand Edwards attraction to Bella, because it’s written from Bella’s perspective, she has insecurities with herself as does everyone, and lets that be known to the reader. If Midnight Sun (Twilight from Edwards perspective) were to be released, then maybe we could have more insight into that.

    - “I saw an interview with Kristen Stewart in which she said that, it wasn’t quite important who Bella and Edward were as individuals. What mattered was the relationship when they were together and the people they became. I’m more willing to subscribe to this; however no fan has ever uttered a response similar to that.”
    Well you must not have spoken to many fans. As I said in an earlier post, I don’t fully relate to the characters in the series, and the fact that Edward is a vampire is an after thought to me. I really don’t consider this a Vampire story. It’s a love story that happens to have a vampire in it, but the love story is why I love the books so much.
    I love Edward and Bella’s relationship, their dynamic and the fact they’re irresistible to each other. Individually from time to time, they both irritate me with some of their words and actions and is partially why I don’t relate to them. You could maybe understand Kristen Stewart’s answer more if you had finished the saga. Both Bella and Edward develop throughout the series and become different people from when they started out, and that is because of each other and their relationship. They are good for each other, it works.
    I’m getting too into this now, but I have to say Nathalie’s comment irritated me.

    Caleb – “(I’m actually waiting for the twilight crazed fan to jump into the this rant with a foaming mouth as they type all kinds of curse words towards haters. It’s kind of hilarious to think of what’s gonna happen when the crazies get a look at this article)”
    LoL I hope I don’t come across like that. I’m not a Twilight crazed fan, I just want to defend myself and other Twilight fans. I tried to avoid any profanities. :-)

  25. I’m an older woman with a grown child and a grandchild. I’ve got a full life and no shortage of suitors from wide age and demographic ranges. I’ve been called a cougar before, only half jokingly I’m sure. I knew that the series was for YA and therefore I blew it off, disinterested. Like many of you my thoughts were “Young Adult, Vampire/Human love story? Bleck.” Then one day I saw the movie out of boredom. I didn’t expect much of it going in – I’m not a fan of Catherine Hardwicke’s propensity to make everything look like a cheaply shot, “hand cam” documentary. It gives me a headache, not the sense of edginess she goes for. The effects were poorly done and it was clear to me that the editing could have been better. Perhaps they just didn’t do enough takes. I did, however, think that some of the performances were mysteriously evocative. Even so, the movie lingered in my mind – enough to bother me and make me wonder why I was bothered. I thought perhaps it was the actors, who I knew virtually nothing about; so I started web searching to learn more about them in the hopes that I could find something easy to pin this lingering wonder on. I found a lot of media hype and snippets usually recycled and not saying much that hadn’t already been said, so I decided to read the books.

    That was the beginning of my doom. I have to admit that my reaction to the Twilight series was comparable to Lilly’s. I read the entire series, the unfinished draft of Midnight Sun, and all the outtakes from the first two books that are available on Stephenie Meyer’s website, four times back-to-back in less than a month. I’m not going to debate whether or not it’s “good literature.” Suffice to say that I agree with the “good storyteller” faction, and that I often enjoy escapist brain-candy. Still, what is the draw? Why does it sing to us and linger with us? Legions of rather intelligent, well educated adult women are asking themselves the same thing, often embarassed by their reactions.

    To address the reviewer’s allegations that Bella and Edward are without depth I have to admit that to the person who has not read the entire series I can understand how you could see it that way. Twilight as a stand alone book is written from the perspective of a teenage girl overwhelmed by the quickening of first love; obsessive, burning, confusing, and wonderful – unblemished by the cynicism that often accompanies reality and experience. The older ladies remember it, the younger ladies are waiting with baited breath for it. However, this isn’t proof that these characters are without depth. It’s proof that one book was not enough to contain the characters and their evolution. If you want to understand what Edward saw in Bella you’re really going to have to read Midnight Sun, the unfinished draft on Stephenie Meyer’s website that is the re-write of Twilight from Edward’s perspective. Bella’s scent and Edward’s inability to read her mind were not the reasons Edward fell in love with Bella, they were the bait. The hook was Bella’s inner strength, selflessness, and her commitment to love him as he is no matter the cost – no matter how “bad” it might be for her. What man doesn’t want a woman to commit to him so completely and unconditionally?

    The words “thirst” and “blood lust” don’t adequately embrace his experience. Every time Edward is near Bella he experiences intense physical pain. It’s not just that he wants to drink her blood, it’s that not doing so is overwhelmingly painful for him. In Midnight Sun Edward actually keeps a mental list of Bella’s character traits. This may help to answer your question “What does he see in her?” Try to remember that intellectually he’s 108 years old but emotionally he’s 17 and experiencing first love too (with the added layer of the blood lust), then try to imagine reconciling that dichotomy. He is so enthralled by the character traits he sees in her, which is pretty impressive considering he’s been seeing the inner workings of humans for more than 90 years, that he can’t get enough of her. He commits to suffer this intense physical pain just to be near her, and he comes to see this pain as assurance of her well being. What woman doesn’t want a man to commit to her so completely and unconditionally?

    As for the unrealized blood lust – it’s an obvious analogy for the “to consummate or not” question that all teens must face and works quite well as a plot device to keep the tension going while they work through the logistics of their emotions and commitment. There are entire forums of adult women who discuss sub plot, analogy, and the hidden meaning they see in these stories. If you’re really interested in understanding the draw I suggest reading all the books so you can see the development through to its conclusion and spending some time with some of the people who are just as confused by their response to the books as the people who are watching them.

  26. My wife (who is 34-years-old) recently tried to read Twilight. She couldn’t finish the book. The main reason she just couldn’t get into it? Bella is nothing but “rescue bait.” The story feeds into this notion that women need a man to rescue them. For some women, this is the ultimate fantasy, but for a strong woman like my wife, this kind of character is simply pathetic.

    For those that want to bash Meyers’ writing ability… I will come to her defense on this one. Even though I haven’t read this myself, I think it’s unfair to call her a bad writer. She wrote a story that connects to readers. She might screw up many of the technical aspects of “good writing,” but in the end, connecting with the reader is really the only goal that matters.

  27. To Ken J you say there is no such thing as altruistic person I have to disagree with that statement 100%, you obviously don’t have kids or your parents didn’t raise you to put others or there feelings before your own. I have two kids would do absolutely do anything for them, just as they for me or their father. To Nathalie, for your information I have read Anne Rice and Stephen King and well some of Stephen King’s books. I am a 34 year old who happens to like the Twilight Saga. I would thank Stephine Meyer for writing these books, My daughter used to read a little bit and now she has read 3 out of the 4 books from cover to cover.

  28. I’m the person selling these books. I’m offering a viewpoint no one has else has offered. I may be not part of the publishing team, but I see the direct impact of distribution. Am I wrong for sharing my observation that a large portion of young girls that come through also happen to buy Gossip Girls and The Clique books at the same time? I didn’t think I needed to cite “There are always exceptions to the rules.” That would have been full of common sense.

    I’m not actually attacking anyone and you misinterpreted my statement, “these are not girls I would have been friends with in high school or currently keep in my company.” I’m merely stating the fact, the cards I was dealt just so happens that none of my female friends have read the books. I’m not saying there’s anything right or wrong about that. However, a lot of my co-workers have read these books and we all have different opinions on it. Some of them love it, some of them like it, some of them don’t. Acquaintances of mine who are educators (2 who happen to be men) have expressed an interest in reading Twilight since they do see their students coming in with these copies. Naturally, they ask me about it. I’ve told them that if they want to understand their students to go ahead and read the books. They’re adults, they are their own person, and they are grown up enough to make their own decisions after that on whether they like something.

    For those of you who would like to also misconstrue my statement about the mainstream thinking vampire readers are “freaks,” I’m only sharing what I’ve been exposed to. As I indicate at the very beginning, I am an avid reader of vampire lore. There were not many girls my age that I went to high school or college with, who did the same. So yes, in a very real aspect, I did not read what everyone else was reading. It’s not about mean girls vs. goth/punk/whatever. Twilight does have a story centered on vampires, and yet despite my background I felt like the outsider when I picked up the books. I still took a chance on them. Meyer should be applauded for exposing the masses to vampires again. I’ve seen many a girl branch out from the Twilight series to find more vampire books they could enjoy.

    Adriana,

    You don’t think that a book can’t reveal something about a person. Books are fundamentally ideas and ideas contribute to the make-up of a person. The Communist Manifesto, the Federalist Papers, and yes, even Skinny b**** can reveal things about a person. Books have influenced revolution, changes in government, it can establish who worships who, or the way a society conducts itself and yet you would claim that books don’t have an effect on people at all other than for leisurely pursuits.

    Soo,

    Thank you. You have a point. I have not witnessed the entire evolution of the characters either. It is only fair to finish Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

  29. Nathalie,

    I quite agree with your assertion that books can have an effect on people. Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein had a massive impact on me during my formative years (much to my parent’s chagrin) that follows me to this day.

    I strongly urge you to read Midnight Sun before finishing the rest of the books. It will give you insight from Edward’s perspective that will enrich the rest of the read. You can download it from Stephenie Meyer’s website. It’s the first 12 chapters of Twilight from Edward’s perspective and frustratingly unfinished, but it will enrich the remainder of your reading experience exponentially.