Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Twilight (Spoiler Alert)

All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

- Lennon/McCartney

No Facebook update of mine stimulated more response than the one that stated I was reading Twilight by Stephanie Meyer to "see what all the fuss was about". Evidently, there is a fuss. If you don't know about Twilight, it is a book which spawned a movie about a teen that finds herself in lust love with a vampire. One such Facebook comment was "don't go all Edward on me". Well, not this chickie.

I won't deny I enjoyed the book, or that I was compelled to finish it, though it is is written on a much lower literary scale than I usually read. Even the Harry Potter books were much better literature. Yet, something was nagging at me as I read and tried to assess this tale that millions of teen girls are reading or watching at the movies.

In the end, I decided that the author must have put her finger on the same teen feeling that the Beatles' sang about decades before: all you need is love. In the book, our protagonist, Bella, loves Edward and Edward loves her. There are scenes of suspense, he saves her life several times, and there is conflict. Typical fantasy love story plot. So what bothers me?

Her reasons for "loving" Edward, besides the fact that he several times saves her life, center around his beauty, that she is the only human who has ever touched him emotionally, and that he has amazing powers. I suppose she also loves that his family has chosen to not eat humans, rather dine on wildlife. (This makes them more moral than the average vampire.) She loves him because he is forbidden, off-limits, dangerous.

Throughout the book, the theme is that they are not of the same world, the relationship is an unhealthy, if not fatal, choice, yet the sexual tension makes it all worth it to them both. Bella is willing to lie to her parents, leave friends behind, give up being who she is, and indeed die to satisfy her love for Edward. Somehow, this message left me empty when I finished the book. Perhaps it is also the lack of mention of the meaning of (human) life and our immortal soul. (Vampires nearly always live forever.)

I guess I've lived long enough to know the Beatles' were wrong. Love isn't all you need. I suppose I should keep my crotchety old pie hole shut and leave the teens to their fantasies, but I will first leave a message to them: don't try change your essential self to fit someone else because you think you love them. You can and will find someone who will love you for who and where you are.


Arby said...

"Crotchety old pie hole?" Now, there's a comment that I thought I'd see on my blog long before I'd ever read it on yours! Kudos on your conclusion.

Fatcat said...

I felt the same way. I was a little weirded out that Edward would just watch her sleep all the time and said "you are my life", I mean, that doesn't seem healthy does it? Also, if you were immortal and almost all-powerful, would you go to public high school? I'd go save street children somewhere.

Thanks for letting me get that out, LoL.

whitetr6 said...

I have not read these, trust me. But the premise is age-old; teenage angst, forbidden lust (you were correct before you replaced the term with love). Drivel. Not exactly Romeo and Juliet, or even West Side Story is it.

And then there's the movie and the trailer repeating ad nauseam every time I turn on the TV. Edward beautiful? More like Squidward (apologies to Spongebob which I think makes better watching). The guy looks like all the blood has drained from his body and been replaced by used motor oil. Actually Miss Bella doesn't look much better. I'm surprised this new look hasn't put all the tanning salons out of business. By the way, might her middle name be Donna? If we are what we eat, that could explain a few things.

The last few times I've been to the movies there has been a brief "ad" done in catchy theatrical cool-ness trying to teach kids that downloading copyrighted material is a crime. How 'bout one that teaches that the movie they're about to watch might turn their brain to mush. At least if they air such an ad there will be some degree of financial responsibility removed from the purveyors of the drivel from a legal standpoint - 'you can't sue us, we warned you it was drivel'.

I can't begin to articulate the advice at the end of your post as well as you did. I'm glad you say what you think, and that there are at least a couple of teens we know of that are benefiting from hearing it.

Oh, as a side note, the spouse of one of my customers is obsessed with these stories, and somehow she managed to acquire a life-size cardboard Edward, I guess from a movie theater or something. Anyway, they parked the thing inside their server room to get me since I had expressed my drivel opinion to her one day a few months ago. So I open the door, only to be greeted by the undead cardboard. Scared the hell outa me. I guess vampires are scary after all.

Anonymous said...

I stopped watching the DVD after the 1st 20 minutes because it seemed so juvenile. However, David's co-worker watched it 3 times and decided to buy the DVD and watch it again. Her sister watched it 10 times. As for David, he said he enjoyed it, calling it a great love story.

Cloudia said...

You Are Wise!!!!!

Comfort Spiral

Matthias said...

Very good summary! :) And good point "Fatcat". The idea that immortal "vampires" are so great just because they don't really hurt people is rather a poor example of praiseworthy morals and values.

...but then again, it is a girly teen book and many teens would rather read this sort of thing, obviously.


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