Understanding the Twilight Craze

Are You Tempted?

If only we could all dream bestsellers
If only we could all dream bestsellers

Original Cover

The new Heathcliff

Is he your fantasy too?
Is he your fantasy too?

Magic vs. Undead

Which saga did you prefer Harry Potter or Twilight?

  • Harry Potter
  • Twilight
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Can you love a Vampire?

In the past ten years people all over the world have witnessed two crazes, Harry Potter and Twilight. I enjoyed Harry Potter immensely because I thought it was imaginative and clever. Now that there are no more Harry Potter books to wait twenty-fours in line for, the public but mainly teenage girls have focused entirely on Twilight. That remains the major difference between the two crazes. Everyone could enjoy Harry Potter, boys and girls alike. Twilight remains a girl craze like the fascination for the film Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio. Who recently has not seen the New Moon movie trailer while watching T.V.? Or been inundated with all of the other products? The CD, the limited edition make-up, or even the Barbie dolls Bella and Edward? Now with the second film, New Moon, being released I have to ask what makes Twilight so appealing to teenage girls?

When Twilight was first published I did not pay much attention. Some of my girlfriends felt differently. They told me often how wonderful the character Edward Cullen was and if only they could find a guy like that! Vampires have never completely appealed to me except for Dracula by Bram Stoker. Dracula is a classic and the Victorian Era suits the Vampire story much better than modern day. (At least so I thought) I asked my friends what makes this Edward so appealing? Their immediate response is that he's handsome, romantic, and loves Bella. Handsome? Well many guys are at college, and many love their girlfriends was my response. They replied that none love like Edward. So to look a little more deeply into this paragon character that had so completely besotted my 'intelligent' college friends I decided to read Twilight.

Upon first finding out that Edward is over one hundred years old and has the wisdom and maturity to know what he is looking for in a girlfriend, I decided that that was attraction number one. Most young men, even those in their mid-twenties are not entirely sure what they want to do with their lives and dating a girl they would want to marry is not typically high on their list of priorities. Edward basically knows from the first moment that he meets Bella in biology class that he is attracted to her that he a) wants to kiss and or b) wants to drink her blood. Love at first sight is a very appealing idea to a teenage girl. Not many teenage girls have a lot of self-confidence and knowing that a boy loves them from the moment they saw them is a very heady emotion. The other part of Edward's appeal is his mystery. No one in town knows much about the Cullens and try to remain reclusive from other people. Bella is intrigued with the whole Cullen family when she first sees them in the cafeteria. Since Edward is meant to be so handsome there is the typical shallowness that often plays a role in high school. Then it only leaves it be said then that Edward is meant to be the perfect guy: handsome, smart, mysterious, romantic, and in love. Not a whole lot of depth to the guy except that he listens to Classical music mainly Debussy's Claire de Lune and plays the piano beautifully. 

However he seems to be the most emotional male character since Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. He is constantly fighting his emotions for Bella and seems to make decisions without Bella's input. Not to mention he likes to pout. Turn-on or turn-off? Moodiness does not seem like what a modern day woman would look for in a relationship. Not to mention how Bella decides she is in love with Edward without even getting to know him. I guess that is what love at first sight is meant to be.

There have been a barrage of articles about the Twilight phenomenon, but the most interesting article I read compared the personalities and ages of the fans of Harry Potter and Twilight. Not surprising that Twilight fans were once Harry Potter fans since the Harry Potter books are a little older. The article simply states that the fans had grown up and were looking for a more realistic circumstance in their reading material. Which is bogus enough but it got better. The last sentence of the article was a quote from an interviewee saying that 'no one believes in magic anymore; but everyone believes in finding the perfect guy.' After I got up off the floor from laughing the light bulb clicked on in my head. That is what the television shows and books say is the answer to adolescent girls and even some women's question of achieving happiness. Sex and the City showed the four women constantly looking for Mr. Perfect/Mr. Right while passing the time with hundreds of guys. The real problem with this is that if a girl is looking for the perfect guy she is either believing that she is perfect or excuses her faults and sees her Knight in shining armor as the one that will make her life perfect.

I do have to commend Meyer on her ability to bring a new vitality to the Vampire story, as well as the werewolf story. It's not an easy feat. Let's see if someone could do that with the Frankenstein story. But this is what Meyer has nailed on the head. She wrote a novel that speaks to most teenage girl’s secret fantasy: that one day a boy will look at her immediately fall in love with her but her will be more than the average boy. He will be someone intelligent, handsome, and desirable. And the best part is that he wants you and not your friends. Thus making you feel even more desirable and beautiful than every other girl.

Though the twilight sage has a simple story of constant emotional and dramatic upheaval I will be eager to find out how it stands up to later decades. Will it still be a favorite of teenage girls in ten years? Will it become a classic like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights? Highly doubtful. But who knows stranger things have happened.

The Original Vampire

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Comments 12 comments

betherann profile image

betherann 6 years ago from Montana

I agree with a lot of what you wrote. As for me, I prefer Harry Potter. I just think the writing/world are far more skillfully crafted.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

Thanks betherann! I really enjoy Harry Potter there is just a lot more to think about in that world. I like that Twilight is getting teenagers to read but somehow believing that your life is over if you don't have a boyfriend is not the best message. Thanks for reading!

montheroid profile image

montheroid 6 years ago

Meh, I have a freaking Twilight site that could probably make some good money, if I could bring myself to write intelligently about this book series.

And by site I mean freakin' http://stepheniemeyerbooks.com/

But alas, no matter how I tried, I just CANNOT write a goddamn sentence about this junk. I am from Romania, country of Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for the original Dracula. This series is an insult to all things that have ever had fangs and sucked blood :D

Hopefully one of these days I will learn how to sell sites and be rid of it, leaving it to some crazed Twilight groupie to update 5 times a day :)

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

Good luck with your site montheroid! I agree that Dracula is the best story and shouldn't try to be recreated. Thanks for stopping by!

AuraEmber profile image

AuraEmber 6 years ago

While Twilight is a good book and is finally introducing some teenagers to books for the first time, I fear the craze has gone to far. One of my old English teachers recently showed me a booklet she received that contained quizzes, worksheets, tests, and essay questions for teaching Twilight. There is already so much good literature and so little time in the classroom that I fear Stephanie Meyer may soon take the place of Jane Austen and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

I agree with you AuraEmber 100% I cannot knock the fact that more teenagers are reading but the craze has certainly gone far enough. I think that a lot of kids haven't given the classics a chance. Or the teachers just are not making it accessible. Fo instance in high school I wasn't a huge E.M. Forester fan but when I watched Room With a View I loved it! I then got the book from the library and loved it too! (Making me wish that my teacher had made the material a little more appealing)

That actually scares me that there is teaching material for Twilight. I don't believe that Meyer will take the place of Austen (sacrilege!!) maybe Hawthorne. But then I remember my mom taking about how popular Love Story had been in the 70s so perhaps Twilight will have a similar shelf life. (We can only hope and pray) Thanks for reading and commenting!

Dobson profile image

Dobson 6 years ago from Virginia

I have not seen any of the Twilight series, but i understand the attraction. As a middle aged man I do recognize how romance can drive such a series. You are quite accurate about how unique Edward;s charater is.

All writers hope to have the commerical success Ms. Rowling and Ms. Meyer enjoy. It is the ultimate measure of material success! Here is hoping we each develop our own "Twilight" idea!

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA Author

Thanks Dobson! I do agree that every writer dreams of some measure of success to equal Rowling and Meyer. I think for most of the teenage girls it's the yearning for romance that fuels their love of the series. Teenagers historically (Romeo and Juliet) must have love and passion immediately and forget that tomorrow is another day. We'll see how twilight weathers in the future. Thanks for your thoughts!!

sudiptha dutta monisha 6 years ago

............i really enjoy it............

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 5 years ago from Northern CA Author

I agree allUneed2know! Harry Potter far exceeds Twilight! Harry Potter is better writing and just frankly better overall. Thanks for your comment!

Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 4 years ago from New Jersey

Thanks for a very informative explanation of the Twilight phenomena. I am not in the age group to enjoy it, and thought nobody could top Anne Rice's Vampire or Talbot Witches books!

Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 4 years ago from Northern CA Author

Thanks for your comment Jean! It was interesting to read simply to try to understand why it was so popular. I do agree with you that Anne Rice is a fine writer but the Talbot Witches books are unknown to me...I think I need to look them up!

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