Fiction: “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer [part two]

twilightSo, my sister made a bad decision. She brought home an extra-large tote bag one day, with the books that I had lent her, along with the entire Twilight series. After our fun outing to watch the horror, the horror that was the Twilight movie, she tells me, “You need to read the rest. Oh my God, Alaina, they’re hilarious.” She included Twilight: Original Flavor in the mix, and I decided to re-read it, even though it has only been six months since I last threw it across the room.

Whereas last time I dissected the vampire lore that Ms. Meyer so blatantly ignored, this time, I want to focus on the other part of Twilight that really pisses me off: how Bella wants to subvert herself so as to stay with Edward.

And here’s where Missy made a bad decision in giving me these books: now, I have quotes to back myself up.

As I mentioned before, Bella is confused by Edward’s apparent initial hatred of her, but when he saves her from mugger rapists (or rapist muggers; we’re not sure which), she decides that she’s in love with the bad vampire. Edward, meanwhile, was only trying to resist ripping her throat out in biology because, apparently, Bella smells really good to vampires, and, what? But anyway. They end up dating.

Or, in Bella’s case, becoming creepily obsessed and subverting herself in order to be with this vampire dude. Observe:

He wants me to be safe, I told myself again and again. I would just hold on to the faith that, in the end, that desire would win out over the others. And what was my other choice — to cut him out of my life? Intolerable. Besides, since I’d come to Forks, it really seemed like my life was about him. [251]

Well, yeah, Bella, of course your life was about Edward. Stephenie Meyer won’t let you have a real life outside of this stupid vampire dude or any real friends. Your closest friend in Forks, Jessica? You hate her.

But hey, at least she admits her addiction?

“I want to stay with you.” It was easier to say in the darkness, knowing as I spoke how my voice would betray me, my hopeless addiction to him. [292]

“You are my life. You’re the only thing it would hurt me to lose.” [474]

It wouldn’t be so bad if she was just obsessed with her boyfriend. But the way Edward is written, and some of the choices he makes … he’s got all the markings of a serial-killer-to-be. Y’know, if he was human and not a vampire. But even as a vampire, he’s totally fucked up.

I mean, this paragraph — written from Bella’s point of view, yes, but the point still stands — makes him sound like an abuser. And Bella paints herself as the willing victim:

“I’m never angry with you — how could I be? Brave, trusting … warm as you are.”

“Then why?” I whispered, remembering the black moods that pulled him away from me, that I’d always interpreted as well-justified frustration – frustration at my weakness, my slowness, my unruly human reactions…. [365]

I want to go to Forks, find Bella, and tell her that LOVE DOESN’T HURT.

And let’s talk about the fact that HE SNEAKS INTO HER ROOM AND WATCHES HER SLEEP. AND SHE’S OKAY WITH IT?:

“You spied on me?” But somehow I couldn’t infuse my voice with the proper outrage. I was flattered.

He was unrepentant. “What else is there to do at night?”

… “How often did you come here?”

“I come here almost every night.”

I whirled, stunned. “Why?”

“You’re interesting when you sleep.” [292-293]

CREEPY. CREEP. EY.

If there’s one thing that can be said on behalf of Edward rather than against him, it’s that he tries to keep Bella human. If it were up to Bella, she’d get vamped as soon as possible, because remember, she has no other life than one with Edward. But Edward doesn’t see it that way:

“So ready for this to be the end,” he murmured, almost to himself, “for this to be the twilight [*] of your life, though your life has barely started. You’re ready to give up everything.”

“It’s not the end, it’s the beginning,” I disagreed under my breath. [497]

*Oh, I see what you did there. Clevah.

But seriously, folks: he really does want to keep Bella a Happy Meal with legs.

“I brought you to the prom,” he said slowly, finally answering my question, “because I don’t want you to miss anything. I don’t want my presence to take anything away from you, if I can help it. I want you to be human.” [495]

And really, it truly bothers me that there are some parents out there who feel that Bella and Edward are good role models. Ms. Meyer essentially wrote this big long epic series about how good abstinence is, and wrapped it in a sparkly vampire metaphor. And parents aren’t seeing that Bella is so obsessed with her very firstest boyfriend that she wants to kill herself in order to be with him forever. In what frickin’ universe is that even slightly acceptable behavior?!

Anyway. I don’t want to rant about this anymore. Instead, let’s look at some things I found slightly amusing:

I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me. [14]

Oh, I see what you did there. In the tenor of Tracy Jordan, Foreshadowing!

I took the slip up to the teacher, a tall, balding man whose desk had a nameplate identifying him as Mr. Mason. [15]

That’s only funny if you work with me, because you know that balding Mr. Masons are anything but tall. I don’t care what he says, the Mr. Mason I work with is not 5’7″. I’m 5’4″, and he’s barely taller than me.

I tried to keep my eyes away from his perfection as much as possible, but I slipped often. Each time, his beauty pierced me through with sadness. [257]

See? His beauty hurts people! Why? BECAUSE HE’S A FUCKING VAMPIRE.

[Edward:] “You see, every person smells different, has a different essence. If you locked an alcoholic in a room full of stale beer, he’d gladly drink it. But he could resist, if he wished to, if he were a recovering alcoholic. Now let’s say you placed in that room a glass of hundred-year-old brandy, the rarest, finest cognac — and filled the room with its warm aroma — how do you think he would fare then?” [267]

Uh, I don’t know, Edward. Let’s pretend that recovering alcoholic is me, locked in a room with both the brandy and the stale beer. You know what I’d drink? The beer. Because brandy is gross, and only necessary when you’re lost on a mountain in Switzerland and the big sheephound with the whiskey cask comes to find you. Or maybe that was a Pluto cartoon.

And now, I’m totally watching Disney cartoons before I go to bed.

But wait, there’s one more:

“How can you kill a vampire?”

He glanced at me with unreadable eyes and his voice was suddenly harsh. “The only way to be sure is to tear him to shreds, and then burn the pieces.” [398]

NO IT’S NOT THE ONLY WAY TO KILL A VAMPIRE. That’s like saying there’s only one way to skin a cat. THERE ARE DOZENS OF WAYS TO SKIN CATS, PEOPLE. And ways to kill vampires. Let’s see here, there’s:

  • staking them through the heart with wood
  • direct exposure to sunlight
  • pouring holy water on them until they melt, a la the Wicked Witch of the West
  • yes, burning them works too, but it’s not the only way to do it
  • sticking a sword through their belly, thereby attaching them to an ancient statue which will suck them into a hell dimension for a hundred years

And that’s just the ways I can think up off the top of my head.

Guys, I don’t know how I’m going to finish this series. But it’ll be a fun train wreck. And when I’m done, I’m buying my own copies of these godforsaken books, and I’m holding a ceremonial bonfire.

After all: sparkly vampires bad, fire pretty.

Grade for Twilight: Twilight stars (equivalent to EPIC FAIL)

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