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The Blue & Gray Press | September 24, 2017

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Love Misrepresented in 'Twilight'

With the release of the second “Twilight” movie, “New Moon”, has come a resurgence of “Twilight”-mania. Crazed teenage (and, oddly enough, middle-age) female fans have flocked to the movie theaters to see the movie over and over again.

I admit that I was one of the people to see it on opening weekend. I have no qualms with exploring the icons of popular culture that have become so pervasive in our society. I went with a group of friends, and we shamelessly promoted our favorite male characters in the movie.

However, there are major differences in the way the books and the movies present the theme of love, as has been the case with almost every book that has been adapted to film.

The “Twilight” movies seem to gloss over the more negative aspects of the books, including the way love is represented. This makes the movies a poor representation of the books, a fact that I’m not necessarily opposed to, considering what is in the books.

The movies focus more on the main plot points than they do on character development or deeper thematic elements, which is good, considering that the books don’t have character development and underlying themes.

The best part of the books is the plot, so you really only need to read them once. When you attempt to read them twice, as any good English major and book lover would do, they unravel because of the lack of good storytelling elements.

If Stephenie Meyer is trying to write for the “Young Adult” section of Barnes and Noble, which could possibly excuse her consistently shoddy writing technique, she has forgotten that the girls who are reading the books are young enough to not have a full grasp on the concept of a healthy relationship.

Edward Cullen, the vampire that Bella is in love with, has become one model of the type of male counterpart that society is telling girls to look for. This is especially sad, because Edward is the physical embodiment of an abusive boyfriend in a relationship that is based solely on the physical appearance and characteristics of the other person.

Edward prevents Bella from maintaining her friendship with Jacob Black because he is jealous of Jacob, which he demonstrates by removing the engine from Bella’s car so that she can’t visit Jacob. He also admits to this jealousy in the books.

Edward manipulates Bella into marrying him by refusing her request for intimacy in their relationship on the grounds that he might hurt her. Bella has no say in the matter, even though she tells him that she does desire this intimacy. He also treats her like she isn’t mature enough to make this decision.

He tells Bella that he can’t live without her and attempts to kill himself over her, letting her in on his plan ahead of time.
Bella in turn engages in dangerous and reckless behavior that culminates in cliff diving, just to hear Edward’s voice in her head after he leaves her.

And in perhaps the creepiest move of all, Edward sneaks through Bella’s bedroom window and watches her sleep at night for almost two months before she becomes aware of his presence or gives him permission to do so.

As far as the quality of their relationship is concerned, Bella describes Edward’s physical appearance with enough synonyms for ‘sparkly’ and ‘beautiful’ to make any sane person want to vomit. There is no discussion about anything of substance. They talk about how dangerous Edward is, how easily he could hurt her and how tempting her smell is to him as a vampire.

This is what teenage girls are supposed to want? Not to mention the older women who know better and still find the books fascinating. It is truly appalling that this type of relationship is romanticized to the point where it is acceptable.

Abuse and stalking are not romantic, nor are they healthy. Meyer would do well to remember this when she writes a series of books that line the shelves and the hearts of so many impressionable girls.

Comments

  1. M

    I would not say in the books he is trying to be abusive. Edward is very overprotective: remember, he is almost 100 years old! He’s been waiting his whole life to fall in love with someone, and since he fell in love with Bella, he did not want anything to harm her, and he thought Jacob was a bad influence on her. He kind of thought of her as young and innocent, and he wanted to protect her. Of course this does not excuse the poor way he treats her in say, New Moon, when he leaves her and she becomes emotionally devoid of any feeling. However, in that case as well, he was just trying to protect her because he did not want his adopted brother Jasper, or any other vampires to try to hurt her. Of course then comes Laurent/Victoria to attack when the Cullen family isn’t there to protect her.

    I will say the stalking is kind of weird, yet in a strange way, some girls are attracted to it because he loves her so much, he didn’t want to leave her side. Also, he was bored since he couldn’t sleep, so why not watch the girl you love slumber in peace (well, sometimes, then other times she would talk in her sleep/have nightmares).

    Also in New Moon, I believe Edward did not tell her that he would kill himself over her, she found out from Alice when she foresaw what he was about to do.

    I’m not a twi-hard, I swear. I only read the books once this summer. I have not seen the movie yet, so it will be interesting to see how it is different than the book.

  2. Hermione Granger

    Doesn’t every pre-teen girl dream of a sparkly man?

    …no.

    Stick with the ones who DON’T want to suck your blood for recreation, and who maybe can muster a few articulate words to say so.

  3. M

    Disclaimer: I haven’t read any of the Twilight books, or seen any of the movies. I know the basic storyline, and that’s it. So perhaps I’m missing something, but this section of this article struck me as rather outrageous:

    “Edward manipulates Bella into marrying him by refusing her request for intimacy in their relationship on the grounds that he might hurt her. Bella has no say in the matter, even though she tells him that she does desire this intimacy. He also treats her like she isn’t mature enough to make this decision.”

    If the situation were reversed – a teenage boy was asking a girl to have sex with him, and she refused because she thought it was too dangerous, or she just didn’t want to – would you say that she’s “manipulating” him or treating the boy like he isn’t mature enough to decide to have sex? Somehow, I doubt it; you’d most likely say that he should respect her decision, act like an adult, and wait for her to change her mind, because intimacy isn’t something you should have if both partners aren’t certain.

    Why is this any different? The rest of Edward’s behavior might be rather dangerous or bad, but that’s not relevant to whether he’s allowed to decide whether or not to have sex with a girl who likes him. I suspect you wouldn’t be happy if a boy harassed a girl who wouldn’t have sex with him, even if her only reasons was “I don’t want to have sex with you right now.” And it sounds like Edward has a much better reason than that to want to avoid intimacy with Bella. So why don’t you extend the same courtesy to Edward that you would extend to Bella, if the situations were reversed? Why do you seem to think that the girl should decide when it’s time to have sex, and the man should simply abide by her decision, whether it’s yay or nay?

    I doubt you think of it in those terms, but that’s how this articles ends up sounding. I think in your haste to paint Edward as a bad example of a good male romantic figure – and he sounds truly awful, to be honest – you allowed a truly skewed perspective to slip in. It seems to me that choosing when, or if, to have sex with someone is a personal decision that each individual should be allowed to make, even if it makes their current partner unhappy, and should be able to make that decision without being accused of being “manipulating.” I hope after some thought, you’ll agree with me.

  4. K

    So… you mean he’s a 100 year old creeper who wants to be intimate with a teenage girl? Ok, he may be stuck in a young body but if you ask me that still sounds a little off.

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