Friday, January 09, 2009

More Reflections on "Twilight"

This book is very engaging.  It really is.  While I don't think it's great literature the story line is so different that you REALLY want to know what happens next.

I have started book 2.  And I as I read I find myself thinking about how differently I read a book when it's for my own pleasure as opposed to reading it as a mom and knowing my child is reading it.

All books are written from a point of view.  The author expresses that point of view through the novel.  There are messages.  I believe that in great books the messages represent the truth.  When the messages do not represent the truth, you might still be reading a wonderfully crafted piece of fiction but perhaps not a book that will better you as a person.

OK.  I'm rambling a little here.

Bella decided she wants to be a vampire so she can live "forever" with Edward and not grow old while he stays young.  In my mind, of course, I place this within the context of eternity.  Why would anyone want to live forever and not experience heaven until the end of time?  But Bella has no faith.  Edward has become, I would say, her god.

Edward will not make her a vampire (by biting her) because he believes the souls of vampires are lost.

The most virtuous vampire in the book, Carlisle who is Edward's foster father, believes that vampires do still have souls and that they could gain heaven someday.  So he lives his life trying to do good.  In my mind this raised an interesting question (sort of) and I was glad the topic of the spiritual life came into the story.   Bella has clearly not thought of such things.  Her self-destructive desires are to me very disturbing and I want to talk to Mary about this.

Bella wants to end her life as a normal human being.  She also takes a lot of risks.  She seems to enjoy the thrill of danger.  Since all teenagers have a tendency to flirt with risk this concerns me.  The book is told from Bella's point of view.  Bella, is a rather neglected child from a broken home.  I find her self-centered just as her parents seem to be.  Might young readers of this book think that Bella's view of life is normal or acceptable?


Suzanne said...

I guess its interesting..I would say as "engaging" as this book is for you, then that tells me alot about how easily our young people are being grabbed by it. I have to give it to you for reading these. My two girls had already read the first one completely before I'd even heard about both have read two and seen the movie, but like I said, I'm not hearing much about it all now. I don't know??

Mimi said...

Interesting. True vampire lore is very concerned with imortality and spiritual questions, so I am glad to hear that there is that thread.

Do you think the author's beliefs (LDS) are at play here? I've read a review or two that suggest that it is.

Jodi said...

I haven't read book 2, but I read the first and although it was an engaging read I decided that the book is not appropriate for most young girls. Bella just doesn't have any sense of self worth.

Interestingly, I also read Host by the same author and again, the main character harbored a more than bit of self disgust and no sense of self worth.

There is a difference between self sacrificial love and no self worth. And I wouldn't want my daughter to be confused by this.

Also, I really don't think Edward is the gentleman that people make him out to be. If he really loved the girl, he would leave her alone for her safety. If he really loved her, he wouldn't continually push the limits of physical interaction.

They may be abstaining but I wouldn't call their behavior chaste.

Jodi said...

Plus, the book is a little too "emo porn" for my taste. But that is a harder line to define.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Suzanne, yeah. I can see how the young girls are drawn in by it. Maybe the popularity is dying down now?

Mimi, I don't know. I would expect LDS views coming in would make for a more clean-cut story line. This is really a sensual romance novel. Seems pretty secular. Bella has no faith.

Jodi, I agree that Bella does not have any self worth. She also doesn't really seem to know how to love someone. Course her parents do not love her real well either. I talked to my daughter about this. I think Bella lives a pretty self focused life. It's all about her needs and desires. One feels sorry for her. And her "love" for Edward is mor like idolatry.

I definitely would not recommend it for young girls. My 14 yo wanted to read it so badly because "everybody's reading them." I'm reading them too so we can talk about it. It was a tough call. What do you mean by "emo porn?"

Sarah (JOT) said...

I'll go out on a limb here and try to answer emo porn. Emo is short for emotional. You know the kids who we once called "punk" or "bat cavers" who smoked cigarettes, wrote poetry, read deep novels (think Russian novelists of the late 1800's), wore all black, and basically talk to their own kind - even then hesitantly? Well, yeah, that is "emo". As far as porn, since I haven't read the books, I can only guess that because Bella is emotional and doesn't mind seeking the worst for herself in Edward . . . the soft introduction to seductions . . .

Tell me if I'm wrong. I don't mind being wrong.

Jodi said...

Sorry I didn't respond quickly.

I meant emo to be short for "emotional" but not a reference to "emo kids". Although I imagine emo kids would like this sort of book. I doubt anyone uses this same phrase so a google search might be fruitless (and embarassing).

My thoughts being this... Guys are are turned on visually. So their porn tends towards movies or pictures. But girls are turned on by emotion or the relationship. So their pornography would need to relate the relationship. So harlequin romance novels are popular.

So I guess emo porn would be a book (or a movie) that a woman would read (watch) to satisfy her desire for the relationship. Just as a man would look at classic porn.

Is that making any sense? I don't have it completely worked out in my head yet. Nor do I know where the line would be drawn between watching a good romance flick and when it became in appropriate.

I would welcome any thoughts or corrections.

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Sarah and Jodi, thanks. Now I know two uses of "emo."
Jodi, I think I know what you mean. Are we talking about cheap fiction that self-indulgently feeds a woman's relationship fantasies in a parallel way to the way a man might use porn? Still, the occasional mildly erotic imagery (at least in the first 2 books) of Twilight would not be porn if it were depicted visually. At least I wouldn't think so, although I am sure there are romance novels in which that would be the case. I'm thinking you're using the term loosely right? And I do get your point. I don't think you're saying that "Twilight" would actually fit under the category of true porn, right?

Rosemary Bogdan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodi said...

yes, you understood me perfectly, rosemary. I do not believe it is true porn. :)