Twilight and Philosophy

If you’re going to be a lady, you’re going to have to give up feeling neglected because the men in your life don’t spend half their time sniveling over you and the other half giving you black eyes.

Henry Higgens

Twilight and Philosophy may be the most interesting book  I every read. I wondered if it were a subtle parody when I found it on sale at the mall.

The book’s subtitle (“Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality”) won me over, and I purchased the it, enduring  sidelong glances from the cashier and hoping vaguely that the book would be as amusing as I’d anticipated.  The Table of Contents ensured that I would not be disappointed. The titles “Love, Madness, and the Food Analogy”, “Can a Vampire Be a Person?”, “Belle’s Vampire Semiotics”, and “The Vegetarian Ethics of Twilight” convinced me of two things: the authors intended that the articles be taken seriously, and the book promised to be very funny.

The book was audacious enough to suggest similarities between Bella and Sarah Palin, a liberty I felt I bordered on the sacrilegious. I grew happier in reading the portrayal of Edward as a Byronic hero, knowing Meyer indeed incorporated the Byronic elements as she developed Edward’s character.

Whatever may be said of this book, it led me to think deeply about the dynamics of Twilight, and particularly of the protagonist, a teenage girl not much younger than myself. When Bella discovered that Edward was a vampire, she should have been terrified, furious, perplexed, anything besides madly in love. I always felt that the way Meyer handled Bella’s reaction (“I was surprised, then decided it didn’t mattered”) was nothing more than the author’s laziness in not wanting to develop her plot more than necessary. However, upon further thought, I realized that Bella’s careless determination to go on loving Edward was not an abstract reaction but rather a concise summary of the thought process of teenage girls, particularly in regard to the “bad boy“.

The teenage girl will hold nothing closer to her than her naivety. The more well-intentioned people explain to her that her boyfriend is no good, the more she will insist on either being in love with him or fixing him, or both if her mood dictates. Tell her that he has committed murder, and she replies that he did it in self-defense. I once heard a professor mock self-deceived girls with the following statement: “I know he sells drugs, but he only does it to pay his way through college.” The more a girl discovers clear reasons to avoid a boy, the more diligently she invents lies that make him simply “troubled, hurting, and /or misunderstood.”

I remember a poignant song from the musical Oliver! which consisted of a girl who was just beaten by her lover singing with quiet determination that she will stay with him as long as he needs her. (He eventually murdered her.) Her mindset hardly differs from that of Bella’s and the average woman of the 1950s.

I also remember a scene in Twilight immediately after Bella realizes that Edward is a vampire. She tosses and turns, and cannot sleep.  And I believe every girl at least once experiences such a night, battling logic and fantasy alternatively. And she puts her foot onto the floor the next morning, most often she has concluded “I was surprised, then decided it didn’t matter.” For we are taught from our childhood fairy tales that love is the supreme, omnipotent force.

Who knew that Twilight contained such metaphysical parallels?

 

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Twilight and Philosophy

  1. vickie

    its just all so true….

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