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The Good the Bad and the Sparkly

In: English and Literature

Submitted By herdesignan
Words 1610
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The Good, the Bad and the Sparkly
“About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him – and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be – that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him,” says Bella Swan in Twilight (Meyer 195). This sums up the major points of this book – vampires, love and self-control. Many parents feel that Twilight portrays unhealthy relationships and creates celebrity idol worship, both of which are believed to have a powerfully negative effect on society. These two people came together no differently than any normal human beings get together in high school, with mutual interests, like their knowledge of biology and their taste in music. Twilight encourages abstinence until marriage, and although the final novel, Breaking Dawn, has some underlying sexual themes, they purely pertain to the plot and are not described in scenes, only referenced to. Still, the books are far cleaner than what’s found in other books written for the same age range, television, movies, and magazines. The relationship between Bella and Edward is based on mostly compassion instead of the physical relationship that is portrayed on television. The media argues that all Twilight readers are infatuated with Edward Cullen, and buff hard body Jacob, yet most of the readers of the Twilight saga are not unhealthily obsessed with the characters or actors portraying them. Celebrity fixation has always been a part of teen culture, and hasn’t every generation had a teen heartthrob, do we remember, Elvis, Shawn Cassidy, The Beetles, New Kids of the Block? The New York Times review stated, "The premise of Twilight is attractive and compelling — who hasn't fantasized about unearthly love with a beautiful stranger? Many readers love the books for their entertainment value and the fact that they are extremely well written and suspenseful.
Another way the Twilight book is a positive influence, not a threat; to the youth of our society because it helps teens enjoy reading and portray a loving relationship as well as strong morals. I feel Twilight has helped many pre teens, teens and older woman like me realize reading isn’t boring and can actually be fun. This was the first series of books I ever picked up and read all the way through. I have never been a reader, but now my eyes have been opened to what is out there. If our kids see us reading, than they are more likely to pick up a book and read too. Meyer creates unique, well-developed characters, complex plots, and use descriptive vocabulary, all writing techniques which young readers and writers are encouraged to use. I feel that the Twilight saga is a positive read for students. Twilight portrays a relationship between Bella and Edward that is filled with love, compassion, and self-control. Edward craves Bella’s blood, yet he adores her as a person so much that he forces himself to take control of his instincts; this is seen in the climax of the novel where he must draw poison out of her blood to save her life, yet will not give in to his impulses and drink so much of her blood that he kills her. This shows devotion. Twilight shows an example of a mutually caring relationship not often publicized in the media, seen when Edward, refuses to turn Bella into a vampire for her own good, because he loves her, he feels she deserves a chance to live her human life, since he didn’t get to enjoy his. Edward has a much more developed set of values, including love that puts the other person over self-fulfillment. Although it is a difficult decision, Edward continues to deny Bella immortal life because he loves her enough to protect her from any chance that she might end up in hell as a result of being a monster and he puts it. The characters in Twilight have a strong set of values that they adhere to strictly. They must constantly fight their instincts and do the morally correct thing, drinking only animal blood instead of the human blood that they crave. The whole point of them being “vegetarian” vampires is that they don’t kill people, the value of morals, is an important aspect of the plot and message of the entire series. It would be simple for them to surrender and become savage vampires, yet they cling to the humanity that they once had and impose human morals upon themselves because they know it is the correct thing to do. Carlisle Cullen is so driven by compassion and the desire to save human life that he has become a doctor, in spite of the constant temptation in which that places him. He has taught his “family” love, compassion and real value of being a family.

It has been said that Twilight encourages abusive relationships, which is false – there is no evidence of Edward hurting Bella in any way or doing anything that was not in her best interest. Edward treats Bella with “old school” love and respect, and what separates him from any human person is his sense of honor, chivalry, composure, devotion and self-control. He constantly tried to make Bella happy and shield her from pain, even when it meant telling her the truth about his vampire nature and refusing to turn her into one, though they wanted to be together forever. At all times, he tried to protect her and give her the best life possible, and although he had to make difficult choices, Edward was always focused on Bella’s well being. “As the media depicts females as being submissive and weak, it could give women ideas that their potentials are very limited when compared to those of men. In her essay, “Taking a Bite out of Twilight,” Carmen D. Siering, an assistant English professor at Ball State University, explains that in the book Twilight, the protagonist, Bella Swan, is depicted as an average human girl needing to be protected, while her boyfriend constantly has to save her (439).” She also says that she didn’t give Bella much of a personality so the readers could step into her shoes. It doesn’t matter if you have a personality of not. You put yourself into the character, I didn’t agree with Siering about that aspect. Well most of Sierings views, I didn’t agree with. Why do you need to pick apart a book so explicitly? I read them to enjoy the story line.
In the book, The Handbook of Children, Media and Development, the authors, “explain that between the ages of about two and seven, children come to realize that they are either biologically male or female and that this characteristic will remain true for the rest of their lives. From here, children develop a gender identity as they recognize patterns of the acceptable behaviors and attitudes that are divided between males and females (99). Boys will pay closer attention to the behaviors of men as they look to their fathers, and girls will pay closer attention to the behavior of women as they look to their mothers.” Boys and girls are very different from one another. Boys are bread to be the protector and ones in charge, but women were not born to be stepped on or weak. As people say Meyers is depicting Bella. As a matter of fact, The Bible says… we were born from the man’s rib, not from a back bone, and meant to walk behind, or from the leg bone, to be walked all over. We were born from his rib, his side, to walk next to him. (Genesis 2:22)
Through viewing the benefits of reading Twilight, including the good examples the characters in the book set, it is possible to see that Twilight is in no way detrimental to our youth, and is actually a positive influence on society. Twilight provides a welcome reality check as it replaces sexual content with compassion and values, yet many of today’s books and television shows for teenagers do not, a possibility why our society has become so media focused and caught up in unhealthy practices. As a nation, we must strive to reform the idea of what is socially acceptable, and only then will the return to a moral-based society take place.
I guess anyone could find negative and positive in anything you read or see in the media. It just depends on you the viewer and how you want to interpret the media. Everyone is allowed an opinion.

Work Cited:

Kilbourne, Jean “Two Ways a Women can Get Hurt : Advertising and Violence” From Inquiry to Academic Writing : A Text and Reader 2nd Ed. Eds. Stuart Green and April Lidinsky, Boston Bed/St. Martin’s 2012. 458-479. Print.

Kilbourne, Stacey. “Gender, Media Use, and Effects” The Handbook of Children, Media, and
Development. Eds. Sandra L. Calvert and Barbara J. Wilson, Blackwell Publishing 2008. 98-120 Print.

Meyer, Stephanie. Twilight. New York: Little Brown Young Readers, October 5, 2005. Print

O’Reilly, Julie D. “The Wonder Woman Precedent: Female (Super)Heroism on Trial” From
Inquiry to Academic Writing : A Text and Reader 2nd Ed. Eds. Stuart Green and April Lidinsky, Boston : Bed/St. Martin’s 2012. 442-455. Print.

Siering, Carmen D. “Taking a Bite Out of Twilight” From Inquiry to Academic Writing : A Text and Reader 2nd Ed. Eds. Stuart Green and April Lidinsky, Boston : Bed/St. Martin’s 2012. 438-441. Print.

Spires, Elizabeth (2006-02-12). "'Enthusiasm,' by Polly Shulman and 'Twilight,' by Stephenie Meyer" (New York: New York Times). Retrieved 2011-01-31.

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