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Twilosophy in defense of S.M. March 8, 2009

Posted by Jordan in Thoughts, Twilight.
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I’ve recently come across a few blog posts from people seeking to defend Stephenie Meyer’s writing from those who seek to discredit it, and that got me thinking. I was also exchanging Twilosophy thoughts with a friend over e-mail the other day, and she asked me what I thought the “lure”, so to speak, of the series is, and why so many people (mainly girls) find it nearly impossible to stop reading the books once they start. She thought, perhaps unsurprisingly, that a lot of it had to do with Edward, and I’m sure that’s certainly part of it. There’s a lot more going on than just him, though, as far as the initial attraction to the series is concerned. I think that the Edward fascination is a byproduct of other, more basic things that draw people (mainly girls) into the story, like the dynamics between he and Bella and all the different motifs in play there. The story is sort of a cocktail of several different elements that young girls – well, any young people, not just girls – can relate to.

It’s first love and forbidden love mixed together, and I think that combination is what excites so many girls and draws them in.

For Bella, all the feelings and emotions she experiences after she meets Edward are completely and totally alien to her – she knows that she’s falling for a cute boy, so it’s not like she’s not an idiot, but her mind and her body have no idea what to do with any of that, or how to process it. It’s a huge tidal wave of hormones and emotions mixed together, and at first, it’s a sensory overload, like towards the beginning of Twilight when she’s not even sure why she can’t stop thinking about him. It doesn’t make any sense to her, because, despite all that she’s probably heard from other girls and all the movies she’s seen, she herself has never had anything like that happen to her. All of that, of course, is instantly understandable by any girl with a pulse, and Twilight being written from Bella’s perspective, from that of a girl, also has a lot to do with it. They understand exactly what Bella’s going through and why every single word, or gesture, or expression, is weird and unfamiliar and scary and sexy and exciting.

Also, from Edward’s perspective, she is his first love as well! Of course, when they first meet, it’s a bit more complicated for Edward, since he, unlike Bella, knows why she is drawn to him and why he, at least initially, wants her (and her blood) so badly. That’s where the forbidden love idea comes into play. There’s an amazing amount of chemistry and electricity between the two of them, and yet the one guy Bella is falling head over heels for is also the one guy who has to caution her about getting too close to him. It’s likely that no other guy at Forks High School would do that, but Edward has to, because of how dangerous it is for the both of them. That element of forbidden love, of course, is like a superconductor for the electricity and the sexual tension between them, and that’s why some girls can’t help but start screaming incoherently whenever they’re asked about Twilight, because they’re the exact same as Bella! They, in some cases, have no idea what to do with those feelings yet either, and they relish reading about even the most minute interaction between Edward and Bella, especially in the first book, because, to them, there’s no such thing as a minute interaction!

It annoys me when guys (or whoever, really) direct ill will towards the books, and Twilight specifically, for being too descriptive and lingering too much on the seemingly insignificant details of Bella and Edward getting to know each other. They like to point out that the book, for almost the first 400 pages, is nothing but the two of them talking. THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT! That’s exactly why so many girls love it! Those people that speak against it for those reasons, apparently, have never been teenagers, or in love for the first time, because when you’re in that situation, NO detail is insignificant! Every single thing, no matter how small, feels important on an earth-shattering level! That’s one of the things I loved about the movie – in interviews, RPattz and KStew talked about how they didn’t want to play their roles like they were kids from the Disney channel. They really wanted to get into them, for real, and they spent hours on set talking about vampires and what it would be like to be in love with one. They took it extremely seriously, which, in my opinion, was absolutely the right way to go. And you can see it come across like that in the movie. They got that right, because, to their target audience (young girls), there’s nothing in the world more serious than being in love! Also, while I’m rambling, I also think it’s stupid and insensitive that some people roll their eyes at the “Twilight Moms” and just dismiss them – I think it’s awesome that they can get into the story too. They like it for precisely the same reasons as the teenagers do, and there’s nothing wrong with that! Love, and the ability to be fascinated by the dynamics behind it, has no age limit!
 
As far as I’m concerned, like what the “lure” is, I like it for some of those same reasons that I just mentioned. I oftentimes can relate to girls’ emotions just as well as I can with guys, if not better, and I find it fascinating reading about why the story has touched so many different girls in nearly every conceivable situation. I love that so many have been captivated by the story and by Edward and Bella’s relationship. Also, I don’t think it’s at all crazy that some women speak of raising their real-life standards for relationships because of a fictional one. It’s a beautiful story, and people need reassurance that it’s okay to let yourself sometimes get a bit wrapped up in the idea of what you want love to be for you. The world around us is entirely too cynical about that, and life is entirely too short to settle for anyone less than someone who gives your heart wings and makes you feel like you can fly. That’s what those books are ultimately about, in my opinion. Stephenie Meyer likes to describe them as “vampire books for people who don’t like vampire books”, and that’s not a bad way to put it. However, for me, the glue that keeps everything together – the thread that sews it all up – is the purity, love, fascination, devotion, care, and mutual appreciation shown in Edward and Bella’s relationship.

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Comments»

1. Lacey - March 8, 2009

“Every single thing, no matter how small, feels important on an earth-shattering level!” — thats exactly right. the biggest appeal about the books is that when two people are really in love… the little insignificant things that happen on a day to day basis are the things that matter the most, and Stephanie emphasizing the small details adds so much depth to Edward and Bella’s relationship.

2. '86 Rabbit - March 8, 2009

Well said, Unicorn, well said. I read a really interesting article on this very topic a few months ago. I’ll look for it and post it on my blog. Stay tuned.

3. Frances - April 20, 2009

Hi Jordan! I would be lying if I said that I didn’t squeal a little bit when I saw that you commented on my blog. I’m pretty new to this whole blogging business and I get VERY happy when someone comments on my blog. It’s so cool to know someone is reading! Just wanted to say thanks for that. It kinda made my day. Anywho, I specifically like the part in this post where you talk about how you find it a good thing that women have raised their real life standards because of a fictional character. I don’t understand why people think this is a bad thing either. I think a lot of times people sell themselves short in terms with what they want out of a relationship. Why shouldn’t we expect someone to treat us with respect and dignity? Why shouldn’t we expect someone to really want to know us and understand us? I really appreciate that Twilight has helped people reexamine what is good for them. We need more things in the world that help raise people’s feelings of self-worth. God knows there is enough out there to make people feel bad about themselves. Anyway, I’m gonna go now before I start rambling (thus the name of my blog. ha.)

Thanks again for stopping by!
Frances

P.S. I am now following you on Twitter. Whoot!


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