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The Twilight Saga
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer is a romantic Young Adult thriller loved by millions of preteen and teenage girls. It is the story of 17 year old Bella Swan, who moved to Forks, Washington, to live with her father. Bella finds herself falling in love with Edward Cullen, a beautiful vampire, and facing dangerous obstacles to stay with him.
I was a very big Twilight fan long before the movies came out and I loved it before everyone else got on the band wagon. Now that you know that I once actually loved the books, you can't accuse me of not giving them a chance when I say this: The books are horrible. Stephenie Meyer claims to have gotten the idea from a dream. To me it sounds like a nightmare.
Over time I started to realize just how disturbing Twilight really is. My first issue with the books is the protagonist, Bella. We are told by the author that Bella is smart, but we never see any proof of this. She does a lot of ridiculous things, like walking down strange alleyways in an unknown city at night. Then there is the fact that if someone is human and flawed, they aren't good enough for her.
She refers to Eric Yorkie, a classmate who is just trying to help her out on her first day of school, as having bad skin and greasy hair. She couldn't remember the names of a few friendly girls in her class. But as soon as she saw the beautiful, breathtaking Edward Cullen, a boy who she had been nothing but rude to her, she obsessed over him.
Other than being shallow and ditzy, Bella doesn't have much of a personality at all. We don't know anything about her other than that she falls down a lot, which doesn't even say anything about her character. We don't know what movies she likes, what her pet peeves are (other than ugly people), we don't know about her friends back in Phoenix, etc.
My other problem with the series is Edward Cullen, the beautiful 107 year old vampire in the body of a seventeen year old boy. I doubt Bella would be so in love with Edward if he actually looked his age. She never describes anything but how much she loves him, and how beautiful he is, which leads me to believe that she isn't in love at all. She's obviously infatuated with him. Every paragraph she's describing his smoldering butterscotch eyes or his marble chest.
Edward is a bloodsucking monster who has killed people before, and he makes sure Bella knows this. That's fine by me. I don't care if he's a vampire. This isn't surprising due to the fact he's pale, mysterious and never goes out in the sunlight. What does bother me, though, is the fact that he stalks her. He climbs through her window at night and watches her sleep.
Some people will justify this by saying, “Oh, but Bella wasn't mad. She was flattered, so that makes it okay.”
No, it does not make it okay. Only a very insecure girl with extremely low self esteem would be okay with this. And what if Bella wasn't okay with it? What if she was angry? Edward didn't know that Bella didn't mind when he first started doing it. He thought she would probably be angry but he did it anyway. That's what makes him a creep.
My next problem I have with Twilight is Bella and Edward's unhealthy relationship. Other than Edward, Bella has no desires or concerns, which isn't at all realistic. She doesn't have any ambitions for the future or any careers in mind. She doesn't have any other friends, other than the kids at school who she pointedly ignores, and Jacob. Which brings up another reason why Bella and Edward's relationship is unhealthy: Edward is insanely jealous and doesn't allow Bella to see Jacob.
Example 1: At the prom in Twilight, Edward was acting very hostile to Jacob, and very possessive of Bella.
Example 2: In the third book, Edward took the engine out of Bella's truck so Bella couldn't go to La Push to see Jacob.
I'm sure there are more examples than this, but these are the ones that stood out the most to me.
And one of the biggest issues of all: the antifeminism. Bella is scrawny in appearance and Edward never passes up the opportunity to remind her that she's the weak woman and he's the big, strong man. He often describes her as breakable and fragile.
Evidence 1: At one point in the story, Edward kissed her and she fainted. She actually fainted, and he caught her.
Evidence 2: Bella is always falling down or tripping and Edward is always there to catch her before she breaks her frail little self.
Evidence 3: When Bella was being stalked and harassed by some men in an alleyway, Edward comes in to save the day, because Bella couldn't defend herself, being a feeble woman and all.
Evidence 4: When James was trying to trap Bella at the end of the book, he told Bella he kidnapped her mother. Why couldn't he kidnap her father? Is it because her father is a man so therefore he must be strong and capable of taking care of himself, whereas Bella's mother is weak and easy to kidnap?
Evidence 5: When Bella goes to the ballet studio to rescue her mother (without telling her supernaturally strong vampire friends, another reason why Bella is stupid) she gets badly beaten. James kicks her into walls and throws her at mirrors like a ragdoll, while filming it to show Edward. But then Edward comes to her rescue and saves her! (Big surprise.) He fights off James, scoops Bella up into his arms and carries her bridal-style to safety.
Stephenie Meyer tried to brush off all the antifeminist comments by saying, “I'm not antifeminist. I'm antihuman.” Meaning, the only reason Bella is the weak one is because she is human, and Edward is a strong vampire.
But this is a ridiculous claim. Bella isn't even as strong as the average human. The average human wouldn't be so easily wooed. The average human wouldn't fall down so much and faint because someone kissed them. That isn't the way humans are at all, so Meyer's claim that she isn't antifeminist is very hard to believe.
There are many other disturbing messages that Meyer sends out through her books. There is implied racism, classism, teen pregnancy and much, much more. The whole theme of the second book, New Moon, is that when a girl gets dumped by the guy she loves, she shouldn't get over him and move on with her life. Instead, she should curl up into a ball and cry for months on end, and then do potentially deadly things just to hear his voice.
Meyer claims to have written Twilight over the summer, which is extremely short compared to most authors who write their novels over the course of two years. Instead of being satisfied that her work is perfect and shipping it off to a publisher, she should have read it over and realized that her “perfect” Edward is really a stalker, and her “strong” heroine, Bella, is pathetic.