- Books, Literature, and Writing»
Understanding the Twilight Craze
Are You Tempted?
The new Heathcliff
Magic vs. Undead
Which saga did you prefer Harry Potter or Twilight?
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.