The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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The Allure of Twilight

Over the past few years, many commentators have tried to answer the question: Why are the Twilight books so popular among teenage girls? Here’s my take.
Teenage girls are bored. We read to escape the monotony of the endless cycle of school, homework, and sleep (or work, kids, and sleep for those frightening creatures known as TwiMoms). We want to imagine that two incredibly gorgeous mythical creatures could fall in love with us. And Twilight allows us to do exactly that while remaining safely in our homes, free of any of the hazards of actually hanging out with vampires.
The popularity of a teen fantasy novel is often a function of how easily we can imagine that we could be like the protagonist, that our lives could suddenly become incredibly exciting, and that everybody would realize that we are a special snowflake. In this respect, Twilight is a teenage girl’s dream.
The problem is that authors often come up with annoying requirements for being special. When I read Harry Potter, I had practically packed my trunk for Hogwarts when I learned that young wizards often make their hair grow overnight, blow up their aunts, and bounce when they fall out of windows. It took me four years to grow out my hair, none of my aunts have turned into balloons recently, and I haven’t tried jumping out of a window, but I’m sure I would splat. Darn it. When I read The Lightning Thief, I spent hours wondering whether my father was actually Poseidon until I realized that half-bloods are dyslexic. I’ve always been a good reader, and I never got chased around by messengers of Hades either. Rats.
But with Twilight I hit the jackpot. Bella is essentially an insert-yourself-here character. Stephenie Meyer is very careful to make descriptions of Bella generic. What do we know about Bella? She’s got brown hair. She’s 5’4”, which, incidentally, is the average height for American women. What makes Edward think Bella is special? Well, her blood smells really good. I don’t know what my blood smells like to a vampire. Does it have to do with what you eat? Because Bella eats pasta most of the time. I got that down.
What else is special about Bella? She’s clumsy. I sprained my ankle last year. Check. She’s pale. I have alabaster foundation. Check. She blushes a lot. She’s unathletic. I think I have these down. But the main thing that Edward and Jacob find so appealing about Bella is that she “accepts” them. I could accept a tremendously handsome vampire being in love with me. Jacob asks Bella, “You really, honestly don’t mind that I morph into a giant dog?” Look Jacob, you may morph into a giant dog, but you have an awesome six pack. It balances out.
That is the beauty of Twilight. It is packed with wish-fulfillment. A boy who looks like a Greek god, has the strength of Superman, and can read everybody’s mind (but not yours). Being whisked away from your boredom, never having to work, and living forever. Even two hunky guys discussing how much they love you while they think you’re sleeping. How could any teenage girl resist?





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