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.