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Is Twilight really a bite of a sweet romance?

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People laugh at funerals. It happens. People do not see it, but it happens. Always someone is smiling because they know that now that their relative is dead the will shall be made apparent and the source of income will be squeezed until every penny is sapped. Along with the happy funeral brigade, a traditional group generally feels sincere sorrow for the deceased. Either way it is sliced, the people are feeling some sort of emotion and having some sort of reaction and response to events. That is the beauty about being human. We all feel remorse for people in bad situations, and we all deeply care about certain people in our lives. Even though this is most seen and most prominent in the non-fiction world, people also build and maintain connections with fictional characters in almost any media. One of the newest awakenings in character attachment is the character Bella in the Twilight series, but just how positive is it to want to be like this character, to be with her, and to even be around her?

Ever since Twilight first hit bookshelves in 2005, it soon manifested into a mass marketing, best selling, and heart-capturing phenomenon for teenaged girls to flock to. Twilight soon blew up the charts of popular young adult literature, and Twilight was soon compared to Harry Potter in terms of its popularity and its influences the characters had on its readers. Twilight was the new bandwagon that many did not want to miss. Many reasons why many teenaged girls enjoyed the book were the reason that it was simply the best romance ever invented. It is not the idea of the plot that has some readers demeaning the quality of this romance because the plot of the story is simple and straightforward.
In Twilight, 17-year-old Bella declines her mom's invitation to move to Florida, and instead reluctantly opts to move to her dad's cabin in the dreary, rainy town of Forks, WA. She becomes intrigued with Edward Cullen, a distant, stylish, and disarmingly handsome senior, who is also a vampire with no mustache and no love for rap. When he reveals that his specific clan hunts wildlife instead of humans, Bella deduces that she is safe from his blood-sucking instincts and therefore free to fall hopelessly in love with him like the bubonic plague. The feeling is mutual, and the resulting romance smolders as they attempt to hide Edward's identity from her family and the rest of the school. One question springs to mind. Even with some of the wonderful summaries out there, why is Twilight such popular literature?
Part of the reason why Twilight is so appealing is its stark romance and fleshed out descriptions, or as some may think. Twilight, on the surface, may seem like the average romance with the strong intelligent woman protagonist, but there is dozens of examples that point out just how much of a clichéd obedient damsel in distress she actually is. Bella, while living everyone's dream of being a masochistic damsel and distress waiting on her man, is also psychologically transforming women into clones of this protagonist. A reason that young teenaged girls are suddenly having the same thought processes that Bella has about the perfect dream man is because of the bland image the author paints of this character. There is really no defining quality to this character making readers even more susceptible to “place themselves within the story because they are just like Bella and they like her”. There is many reasons why people Like and admire Bella. Bella Swan is the character that everyone has to hear in the Twilight series. Despite what readers glimpse on the surface, there is a bittersweet part of the apple that many readers have not even looked at yet. On the surface, Bella may seem like your ordinary teenager, but this is sadly overlooked by her blinded passion for Edward. A main character is supposed to be something readers can connect with in a positive way. Unfortunately, she is not a good role model for today's younger generation. She is not the image, definition, or personification of an independent female character. She does not even make herself out to be a strong character.

A strong character is defined in many ways. The character might have a defining quality that they can often rely on to aid them in rough situations. A character could be strong, independent, and vibrant, and a character can even be good looking. Bella is not a role model. She is not independent, since she always has Edward rescue her from mortal danger at every twist and turn, and she is obedient to his every command and even often, without question or hesitation. Edward has been frozen at the age of 17. Nevertheless, he was born in 1901, and he does not behave anything like a real teenager. He talks and acts like an obsessively controlling adult male. This is vastly conveyed throughout the series without any disagreement or even thought on Bella’s part.

Edward frequently refers to or treats Bella as a child even though she is a 17-year-old girl and she does not object. When he first met Bella, Edward tells her later, he considered her "an insignificant little girl" (Twilight 271). Later he calls her "little coward" (Twilight 279) and "Silly Bella" (Twilight 281). How he physically handles her is also that of a mere child in his presence. "Edward had scooped me up in his arms, as easily as if I weighed ten pounds instead of a hundred and ten" (Twilight 97) and, later, that Edward "reached out with his long arms to pick me up, gripping the tops of my arms like I was a toddler. He sat me on the bed beside him" (Twilight 297). Bella’s reactions to him treating her like that do not show that she is a competent woman who can think and act upon her own accord. She is floating on cloud nine with bunnies along for the ride.
Bella’s reaction to all these negative comments is to bask in his glory, since he is there and is an object for her lust. Edward often tends to treat Bella as incognizance. Early on in the book, when two possible rapists in a dark alley follow Bella, Edward drives up near the end of the alley and tells her to get in the car. After she does, instead of asking if she is okay, he says "prattle about something unimportant until I calm down" (Twilight 169) without even asking if she is okay. Bella, completely looking over this lack of interest in her well—being, is gleeful that he rescues her. After she manages to calm Edward down, he takes her to a restaurant, where he orders her to eat and drink, his voice "low, but full of authority" (Twilight 166). In response, Bella "sipped at [her] soda obediently" (Twilight 169). This is just one of many examples of her blind obedience.
The restaurant scene is one of many instances where she puts up with Edwards slight controlling manner because she is blinded by lust and passion for his looks. With the surface features looming directly within Bella’s sights, that is all she can truly concentrate on. That is all she wishes to concentrate on. Her love for the immortal is personified by her own thoughts about him and nothing more. She does not even wish to be an independent soul. Her constant references to Edward show exactly what she thinks of him. He is nothing short of breathtakingly perfect, Bella's "perpetual savior" (Twilight 166)”, a Greek god" (Twilight 206), a "godlike creature" (Twilight 256)”, a carving of Adonis" (Twilight 299), and "terrible and glorious as a young god" (Twilight 343). This shows that Bella’s soul reason for existence remains on the life and liberty of Edward, her caregiver. She is absolutely dependent on Edward's ability to save her life, her virginity, and her humanity. Bella is not the ideal character that women need to be reading about and having or developing a connection to, Teenaged or older. The reason that Twilight is “bad” in terms of influence and psychological input is, not the entire package as a whole novel, but the little character surprises painted within the pages, and who the author shapes these characters out to be.
Characters in book soon become role models to people. Bella is not a strong character and will eventually place the idea in many heads that they need to be like her. The fact that Bella is described as such a plain Jane so It’ll be easier for readers to place their souls into this fictional character are not a good thing as described above. Women should not subject themselves to abusive restraining controlling relationships because a book portrays that sort of scenario. There are many better characters to look up to and admire that can make literature a lot better for everyone in general. Good examples of strong vibrant memorable characters are those you would find in the good old classics.
Many classics present well-developed, competent men and women. In fact, Sherlock Holmes, unlike Bella, is independent, strong willed, and yet obeys the rules while maintaining a driving force that makes the dealings with any character enjoyable and, again, positively memorable. Holmes was such a powerful character that he quite literally rose from the dead because the people who read him, and liked him, did not want to see him die. that was back in the day when characters had a backbone.
The need for good, contemporary characters is in higher demand than ever. Many people do not see what kind of character Bella is.
Despite her lust, it is evident that Bella is co dependant on Edward. The author of the book did not paint a solid foundation with thoughts and feelings inside the soul, she painted two halves of a whole. Women in literature are becoming more and more dependant upon men and people must stop and think what kind of an image this paints in minds. Is this the kind of women that we want to be reading about? Is this the kind of female character we want to be studying in literature classes? Do we naturally want to study the more positively powerful influences in literature, such as Sherlock Holmes himself?
To this day, the most vivid image of a strong being is Sherlock Holmes. When people look at that character, they see someone who they will remember for timeless intervals even if they never read his mysteries. Readers should be connecting with this good positive character. In a world struggling for equal rights among races, equal salary rates among genders, and general acceptance as humans, do we really wish our beloved characters of our emerging literature to continue to be hopeless romantics? Do we want them to look at the elementary of the world and prosper into people who we can become a part of without consequence? Do we want our future fictional characters to be classroom role models or submissive teenaged girls? With great power comes great responsibility. I hope that someday, an author will look at the characters that are created and how images of society can be shaped from someone who does not exist. They should be doing that now. Why? The future should be considered, and considered with great care.



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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Lirion said...
Dec. 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm
It is always gratifying to find another person who can see the flaws of Twilight. It is also great to find someone who can objectivly look at it, then calmly and rationally point out those flaws. Your arguments are well thought out and presented clearly, and have given me a more to think about in regard to it. Also, I just like to heard Twilight dissed, so thank you for that too. :)
 
sophza said...
Nov. 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm
Couldn't have said it better myself!
 
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