Twilight, Vampires, and Contemporary Literature
The Twilight Books Aren't Very Good, But at Least They are Books
by Hailey Alfred, age 18
The very word Twilight causes girls, and boys, to scream with excitement. Obsessed fans, having chosen their side, can be seen sporting team Edward or team Jacob t-shirts. The Twilight phenomenon has sunk its poisonous claws into teens and adults alike. Personally, when I hear the word, I cringe internally.
Having read all four books by Stephenie Meyer, I am well aware of the plot. I am unimpressed. The first book in the series is the only one I found interesting, and even so I found some issues with the overall ideas.
First of all, the “vampires” in the series do not stay true to their gothic origins. Back in the age of Dracula, vampires were dark, blood-sucking, devil dealers that ruled the night stalking unsuspecting humans. Now, vampires are day walkers who can’t go into the sun, not because they will die, but because they will sparkle. The only thing Meyer kept true to form was their bloodthirsty nature and immortality.
Another issue I have with the books in the series is the image that Bella projects. In the series, she is docile, clumsy, and complacent. For example, when Edward leaves Bella, it destroys her. She falls into a deep depression, and ends up pushing away everyone in her life. Instead of moving on, Bella decides to do some reckless and dangerous things such as racing a motorcycle and cliff diving. She also runs away from home.
Then, when Edward comes back, she immediately gets together with him again. Bella is basically a love struck doormat. Not exactly the empowering image we want young, easily influenced, teenage girls to see or emulate. In literature, we should be projecting strong independent girls, not feeble, clumsy, girls with low self-esteem.
An example of a vampire series that stars a powerful heroine is the House of Night series. The main character, Zoey Redbird, does not back down from a challenge. She rises to the occasion when she is forced to become the head of her school during a time of crisis - she fends off an army of demon birds and she still keeps up with her homework. This is just one example of the many alternatives to Twilight that would fill reader’s vampire quota.
If you do find Twilight to be a literary masterpiece, you will be pleased to know that Meyer has recently released a new book entitled, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner. The book is about a vampire briefly mentioned in the Twilight series named Bree Tanner. The book takes readers through Bree’s point of view.
Meyer is also said to be writing the Twilight series from Edward’s perspective. It feels as if she will never quit. Next will be the series from Alice’s point-of-view, and then Rosalie’s. I will be 60 and Meyer will be working in the series from Adam’s perspective.
The one thing that I do like about the Meyer’s books was their ability to suck people into reading (pun intended). The series is even able to get guys involved. Much like the Harry Potter phenomenon, Twilight has gotten a large number of young people away from the TV screen and into books. With today’s constant integration of new technologies, more kids and adults turn away from reading.
Twilight may have its issues, but its overall impact on literary involvement seems to outweigh its many faults. I must applaud Meyer for this. I may not personally enjoy the books, but I do not want to persuade anyone to stop reading.
Regardless of your literary tastes, reading remains a quintessential part of one’s growth and development. Whether it be Twilight, Wuthering Heights, or Nancy Drew, the most important thing is that you are expanding your horizons by reading a book.