I read Twilight (forgive me)

September 22, 2008

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS

So I read Twilight, and I am surprised that it is so popular.

I am completely troubled by the fact that Bella and Edward’s relationship is supremely and completely based upon aesthetics. I was surprised at it really! It seems that women criticize men for only focusing on looks (which I do not believe is the reality of the situation), but the beau of this book stands only upon his looks! His character qualities (as well as hers, for that matter) are ugly! He is arrogant, commanding, angry, and stalker-ish. The book does not hide the fact that she is mesmerized, captivated, and helplessly in love with him based solely upon his appearance. There isn’t a time that they converse that Bella does not think on his eyes, muscles, smile, or face. This shallowness also went the other way! He didn’t like her for her personality but was drawn to her because of her scent and mystery.

I was simply struck at how shallow their relationship was. All they ever did was fight when they weren’t in awe of each other.

The book was very dark. The whole book consisted of Edward’s homicidal tension. It was much like sexual tension except for the meat of the tension was Edward’s desire to murder Bella (the book’s premise would hold if Edward were a serial killer or rapist fighting his nature). The problem was also that Bella didn’t help him fight his temptation. She was in love with him and intimated to him many times that she didn’t really mind if he drank all her blood. She was under his spell when he didn’t necessarily want her to be.

My main problem with the story was the darkness, but the close runner-up was the defense of letting love override one’s better judgment. On Edward’s side–the story was about a vampire fighting his nature. On Bella’s side–the story was about abandoning all her better judgment to be with the most beautiful person she’d ever seen.

In short, the book was a case study in destructive relationships.

Bella ends up lying to everyone and hurting her family all for the beautiful lie.

I’m just glad that the girls are reading Boy Meets Girl in turn. Hopefully it’ll dispel some of the romanticization of the shallow, fake, dangerous, stupid love in Twilight (which is not love).

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14 Responses to “I read Twilight (forgive me)”

  1. steven Says:

    so wow that is (probably cause I haven’t read it) right on the money. With the 1000000000 pieces of flair that just has edwards face on it and how amazing he is and how everyone wants him to suck their blood and blah blah blah I can safely assume most of what goes on romanticizes looks at the whole sexual appeal of vampires and such

  2. Bella Says:

    Agreed.

    And thank you for that. I think I’m the only pre-teen to teen girl who has failed to be swept off her feet by both this book as well as Edward Cullen.

  3. LdsNana Says:

    I will admit… your perspective of the book, Twilight – was exactly what I expected going in. I was determined, like yourself – to focus on the exact things that you have blogged about here.

    However, after just finishing book three, in the Twilight series, I have chosen to accept this book for what it is… fantasy.

    The Twilight series, is just fun. That’s it. I have talked to many young women who have read this book. They are intelligent enough to realize, that Edward Cullen – is a toy.

    I had to make a choice, in reading these books – to just enjoy the story, and see what so many “girls” like in the book, versus being critical of the very dysfunctional relationships contained.

    But hey… give me a break! You certainly can’t expect any kind of normal relationships between humans, vampires and werewolves… now could you?

    Come on… lighten up! LOL

    tDMg
    LdsNana

  4. Edmund Says:

    *** In case the warning at the top of the blog wasn’t enough…spoilers ahead!***

    I would tend to agree with your opinions. After reading the first book yesterday (I couldn’t put it down. lame, no?), I was struck by the juvenile nature of Edward and Bella’s relationship. To me it comes off merely as adolescent hormones running out of control. I mean seriously, Bella seems to be acting her age (or maybe a bit younger even) and Edward’s bloodlust causes him to act much the same. Their imfatuations with each other seem to blind them to the destructive and unhealthy elements of their relationship. Bella even knows that she shouldn’t feel or do many of the things she does, yet she chooses to do so anyways. Edward states numerous times that he wishes he could say goodbye and leave her alone in order to protect her, but that he is too selfish to do so. THIS IS NOT LOVE.

    As you said, Nathan, there is a huge emphasis on Edward’s looks in Bella’s constant musings about him, however given some of the explanations about this brand of vampirism, I don’t think it has to do with girls being more into looks than they let on. (Though I do agree with that sentiment in general)

    I believe it is Alice who states that a vampires’ beauty is merely one of their many hunting devices, designed to lure their prey (humans) in so that they can paralyze them with their venom and feed upon them. In other words, Edward’s intoxicating beauty was doing exactly what it was supposed to and, as he told Bella, it was only because he fought against his nature that he didn’t kill her outright.

    I don’t think that was the ONLY appeal though. Edward is mysterious throughout the early part of their relationship. Overwhelmingly confident, only due to the fact that he can read minds so he already knows what most people think, giving him an edge over normal people. Confidence is an extremely attractive thing to women I think and while Edward’s does go pretty far over the line of arrogance, if anything this falls into the ‘falling for jerks’ mentality. She can’t quite figure him out which heightens the level of attraction. Couple with the fact that he is so perceptive (and the fact that he is continually saving her life), we have a basic archetype of attraction. The cold, wise man. Wise, but evasive, and able to protect. And of course, he’s as beautifult “as a greek god”. The problem with archetypes is that they are very shallow. And temporary. I would think this will cause challenges with disillusionment later on in the relationship.

    Now, given all my criticism, I do think that it is a fun, well-written fantasy. I obviously enjoyed my reading of it enough to read it all within the span of a day.

    I guess my concern is that adults are able to read something like this and observe the unhealthy elements of the relationships, whereas it seems, based on the obsessed Edward fans out there, that those of a younger, more hormonal adolescent age group, get so caught up in the imfatuational aspects of this relationship in Twilight that I can’t help but wonder if this doesn’t set some kind of unrealistic, idealistic expectation for their own lives. Does it set up a standard that no one will live up to? Or am I just not giving them enough credit and they can separate the fantasy of a book like this from reality. I’m not really sure. Either way, I am finding myself looking forward to reading the rest.

  5. Chicka Chicka Yeah Says:

    I think it is safe to say you are obviously not a romantic! loool and you do have a lot to learn about women =p Most are not only more “focused” on looks than you think but are controlled by them..

    RESPONSE:

    If being “a romantic” is commonplace, I am happy to not be one. Divorce is commonplace. Let us be smart. Let us not sleep in dating and in marriage awake.

  6. Thebe Says:

    I enjoyed the first book, but I have to agree with everything you said. The relationship is pretty shallow, and I was grateful when the evil vampires turned up. I was getting a little sick of Ed and Bella’s circular “I can’t stay away from you”/”Oh no, I can’t stay away from YOU!” dialogue.

  7. felicia3felixz Says:

    For me, I just like the way Stephenie Meyers write her book with words that made me go on and on. No doubt, the story sounds a little fake to me but, I find the way she writes very interesting. That was what made me go on reading the rest of the books”)

  8. tish Says:

    you have a very interesting take on twilight . i think Meyer’s intention with the books was to write about an intense, passionate (i’m using this term loosely) love story between a vampire and a human. it’s fantastical and probably her ideal of the perfect love.

    i do agree with you that their mutual attraction was probably what was fueling their love for each other. but this isn’t the first story written about the blinding, irrational effect that first love can have on someone. let’s not forget Romeo & Juliet, Tony & Maria (West Side Story), Paris & Heley of Troy and even David & Bathsheba. these are all stories about love at first sight and the destructiveness that follows. Romeo & Juliet were both willing to forsake their families for each other after a few instances of seeing each other. they both die in each other’s arms. Helen leaves her husband to join Paris to Troy. when she refused to return to her husband, she brought down the destruction of Troy along with her. after David sees Bathsheba bathing, he orders her husband to be placed in the front of the war line where he dies. this kind of love, fueled by attraction and lust, can be destructive and short-lived.

    i don’t think it was Meyer’s intention to warn her readers about how destructive relationships can be. after all, Edward and Bella end up together in the end. if you read the rest of the series, you’ll see that they do go through some interesting and deeper problems in their relationship. i think she just wanted to write about a love that conquers all.

    i personally do not believe that love should be this way but it’s undeniable that people can be so blinded in-love that they would alienate friends and family just to be with the one they supposedly love.

    i’ve read all the entire Twilight series including Midnight Sun. i think it’s a great fantastical story, a page-turner which brings us to a world of vampires. i don’t think it’s the best love story or even the best vampire story ever written. it’s an entertaining read though. one good thing that came out of it, in my opinion, is the fact that Edward and Bella did wait for marriage before having sex, perhaps the only moral that could be found in the story. :)

  9. April Says:

    :: snore :: to the review. It’s entertainment.

    Huge “BOOO!” to the fact that you posted a link to your opinion of Twilight on my best friend’s blog about her STRUGGLE with a DISEASE.

    You lose.

    RESPONSE:

    Sorry!

  10. Lei Says:

    i didn’t want to read the twilight series because everybody’s read it and that annoys the hell out of me (the way everybody reading paulo coelho or playing badminton annoys me. lol.), but after watching the movie, i kind of want to read it because the movie was lacking in something. anyway, a generous aunt just gave us the first 3 books so i guess i’ll be reading them sometime soon. i’m expecting lots of mush and teen love stuff. frankly, i like the mala-underworld type of vampires and lycans, not the suffering-in-love-edward types. :P

  11. Mari Says:

    I’ve got a group of friends who are obsessed with the Twilight series, and their obsession just killed me. They carried the books everywhere they went, they had a countdown for the release of the last book about FIVE MONTHS BEFORE!! Now I can say about 90 of my 165 Facebook friends are fans of the book. It is getting obsessive. I had a friend that tried to read the book but dropped it after the first four pages. Her opinion is probably what holds me from reading the book the most. She said:
    “It is just another teen book. It starts with this girl who goes to live with her dad, and she thinks her dad is so lame so she hates him and she says stuff like ‘I just nodded but I’m not listening to what he says because he is lame and I hate him’.”
    I’m not very fond of cheap teen books, as far as I went was Harry Potter, and that was because I started to read the series when I was 9.
    Maybe I’ll be reading this, but I don’t think I’ll like it. I prefer my vampires blood-thirsty, dark, and dead with sunlight.

  12. rebekah Says:

    People say “hey, I enjoyed the story, but I disagree with the values, no worries, I can see through it, it will have no effect on me.”

    But it does affect you–deeply. We operate most on our subconscious, and that is deeply affected by the tales and stories we have absorbed. They have, for the majority of humans, far more power over us than we realize. Most of us truly make decisions in out subconscious (i.e. heart), and then come up with rational explanations with our head.

    Guard your heart.

  13. Charlie Wilson :]] Says:

    Well, Reading This, I Never Actully Thought Off All This.. But Your Report Or Whatever It Is, Actully DOES Point Out All The Things I Failed To See, Even Though I Have Read Them Proberly More The Fifty Times. Yeah, I’m One Off The Twilight Addicts. Sorry!
    But You Do Have Too See Your Delving Into The Book Wayyy Too Much, It Started From A Dream Off A Man Sparkling In The Medow All Beuitfull And A Ordanilly Girl Next To Him. And She Doesn’t Just Foucus On His Looks. When Jessica Says That She Doesnt care That He’s Kind Off Intimidating Becuase Off His Gorgouse Looks, Bella Snaps Back At Her For Saying That.. Its Just A teenage Book That Just Became Very Popular, I Have Read So Many Hate Sites Just becuase Off edward Bieng Unable To stay Away.. And Bella Wanting To Sacrifice Her life For Him. I Mean.. It’s NOT REAL ?? :) I Dont Get It.. Seriosly ..

  14. Charlie Wilson :]] Says:

    Not That Im Saying That Its The Best Book I’ve Ever Read.. But Its My favorite. But I Have Yet Too Read he Vampire Diarys Or True Blood. Im Actully Looking Forward Too Read True Blood :)


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