Daily Archives: November 18, 2009

Twilight Week: The Truth

Yesterday: The Appeal and The Obsession

Today: The Truth

(schedule change) Friday: The (My) Opinion

So we know why Twilight is so appealing. We know that lots of people are obsessed. But what is The Truth behind these bewitching books? Let’s put an end to the debate (or will we just fuel it more?)

The way I see it, The Truth about Twilight comes in two parts:

  • It’s not Shakespeare. To quote JennW from yesterday’s comments section, who was talking about the prose, “This is awful.” Enough said.
  • But it is Shakespeare. (excuse the analogy; hope it doesn’t send anyone into shock. keep reading; I will explain) — It’s Shakespeare insofar as it’s hugely, insanely famous. No one can argue with The Truth: Stephenie Meyer did a lot of things right and a lot of people love the books, well-written or not.

How you want to hold these juxtaposing truths is entirely up to you. Some people like to rant, rot in bitterness, roll on the floor and moan about how stupid, horrible, awful, [insert nasty adjective here] Twilight is. Some people love the ride and the characters enough to overlook the writing. Some people love the ride, characters, and the writing. Some people, to quote Amanda from yesterday’s comments section, are on this side: “I think people try to overanalyze it. It’s just one of those fun reads. What’s wrong with that?

Take your pick. But whatever you decide, you can’t argue against The Truth.

Then, Twilight itself (whether consciously or unconsciously) teaches its own set of truths. Plenty of readers dismiss the books as plain old fictional entertainment, but to quote every smart person ever: “everything is an argument”.

  • Edward Cullen and the “perfect” boyfriend: My thought-process goes kind of like this. Thousands of preteen/teen readers are falling hard for Twilight’s depiction of the boy/girl relationship — and the perfect guy. Perfect guy: irresistibly handsome, wholly devoted, slightly moody, willing to die for girl, slightly domineering, very protective, basically perfect. Also sparkly. Hello? Not to bash on men in any way, but Edward Cullen is a completely unrealistic stereotype of a boyfriend. The truth is that normal boys aren’t like Edward Cullen at all. They’re silly, anywhere from mildly to moderately good-looking, normal people. Looks aren’t everything. Moody secrets aren’t everything. Sparkles aren’t everything. Don’t let the desire to have a perfect Edward Cullen boyfriend screw up your expectations of boy-girl relationships. He’s just not going to sweep you off your feet. A real, human boy is — and that’s way better.

Rant over. I promise.

A couple questions for you:

  • Holding those two earlier truths in perspective, what’s your overall opinion of Twilight? Does bad writing ruin a book? Can a book just be a fun, entertaining read? Or is the reading public going you-know-where in a handbasket because they’re obsessed with something as [debatably] substandard as Twilight?
  • Or is all this analyzing taking things way too far?
  • What other truths does Twilight present to its audience? And to what effect might these truths shape its preteen/teen readers (or any-age readers)? How has Twilight influenced your opinions about romance?

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