MASSIVE EDIT THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ BEFORE READING THE REST OF THE BLOG POST:
Hi there. So, I've decided that analyzing literature is my life calling, so I'm creating a blog specifically for those intents and purposes. It's called "The Literature Grill" and I'm transferring this incredibly popular post over to that. Please be sure to check there for more literature hate, soon to follow!! At the end of a couple months, I'll be taking this post down (which will make me sad because LOOK AT THE VIEWS!) but it will be for the benefit of all.
THANKS GUYS! Enjoy ;)
BELLA IS A SHRILL EGOMANIAC
From the second you meet Bella, she's being a martyr. In fact, all the way through the first couple of chapter, she's a pale, whiny martyr, that for some reason is incredibly (oddly) intriguing to the male population. This is reaffirmed by the way Bella reacts to Edward's behavior throughout the series. When he leaves her, she falls into a disabling depression that could have easily been remedied by writing a horrible, emo poem in her journal and then getting over herself. And Edward... but mostly herself. So, maybe Meyers wanted to convey just how deeply Bella felt? By describing how hollow she feels?... FOR FOUR MONTHS?! Isn't that just the LEAST bit excessive? This is how we know that Bella is NOT a strong female protagonist.
Well, Bella soon discovers that she imagines Edward every time she's in mortal peril. Does this make it the plan to place herself in danger all the time? If she truly loved Edward, then she would have valued the way he treated her life (which, admittedly, he didn't do so well BUT for the sake of argument, we'll say he truly loved her.) Point is, she wouldn't have been so childish. Definitely wouldn't have been childish enough to use her "friend" Jacob like a tool while playing on his emotions for her. Let me ask you guys something, is that appealing in a woman? Because if it is, I now know why I don't get too many dates nowadays. She pays little attention to her friends and, in the end, hurts them in emotionally cruel ways.
Bella isn't a strong female protagonist for another reason: she refuses to be herself. The entire series, she's begging Edward to "change her." If there's one thing I learned from High School (Musical) is that it's "Be an Individual." Nothing but pain comes from changing who you are physically or metaphorically. What I expect from a strong character is someone who is confident in who she is. Anyone that chooses Bella Swan as a role model must be some sort of crowd-pleasing sycophant. Harsh? What Bella could use is some tough love because she refuses to move on from her emotionally abusive boyfriend. That sounds like Abused Woman Syndrome. Can I get a psychologist to back me up on that diagnosis? In sum: Bella is the most selfish, immature and childish character EVER. More than Voldemort. More than Sauron. More than Senator Palpatine. Because at least Voldemort magicked Peter Pettigrew another hand when he cut it off for his Dark Lord. THAT'S how you keep your friends, you trampire!
EDWARD IS A MORE EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE BOYFRIEND THAN HAMLET WAS
Because at least Hamlet had the good sense to tell Ophelia to "get [herself] to a nunnery!" (And that came from the same guy that stabbed her father through a curtain.) Edward can't even do that, he just passively tells Bella that he's no good for her, the subtext here being "I will crush your skull and drink your blood from a sippy cup." But he's too selfish to actually think about her safety, until, you know, "it's too late" and he makes her a target for a powerful, vampire mafia. Not only does he put her in danger constantly, but when the time comes to save her, he's to weak to do it. If Meg can risk being crushed by a pillar to save her boyfriend (Hercules) AND if Hercules can risk drowning forever in a river of death, I think it's perfectly acceptable to expect some self-sacrifice on Edward's part. Even as he attempts to save her, he's too weak to stop gulping her blood. What a weirdo.
Speaking of being a weirdo, has anyone head/read his internal monologue when he and Bella meet? (in Midnight Sun, the book of Twilight told from Edward's view) He meticulously plans out how to kill an entire classroom of students. The only people that think of that are the writers for Saw and comic book villains. Wait, why was Edward committing 3rd degree murder in his mind? To tear into Bella and fill that sippy cup with her life blood. Which brings me to my next point, are we ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that Edward ACTUALLY loves Bella? Or is it just an incredibly sick and twisted fascination? All couples have their nicknames and whatnot, but I'm not so sure that being referred to as a dangerous drug is healthy for relationships. Actually, I'm positive. You want to know WHY it's not real love? Because their intimacy is based off of pure hormones.
Ah. Listen to the screams of pre-teens. How they shriek out in vague and indecipherable arguments.
They tell me I am misunderstood, that they are in love! Oh really...? How many pre-teens do you know that have a complete perception of love? Actual love, I mean. Look, I know college kids incapable of a love to withstand the storms of artistic differences much less pre-teens. ARGUMENT INVALID.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that, despite all of Edward's "warnings" and whinings, he doesn't consider changing himself to become better. He just goes on, complaining about how he's going to Hell and then just sits there and does nothing. Not a thing for his damned soul. He's just as passive as Bella. So maybe they are meant to be together... Well, one thing's for sure, and that's how much Edward wants Bella to be HIS and ONLY HIS. Because he alienates her from her friends and family. At the end of the series, it's just Bella and the Cullens, having sex and monstrous birthing sequences that scar me for life. But just before Bella's turned into a vampire, Edward has this thing where he just LOVES to remind Bella how fragile and human she is, that he could kill her at any second... I'm gonna go ahead and let that be the last creepy habit of Edward's that I talk about and I'm not gonna mention the whole "coming into her room at night, regardless of her father's parental rules."
THE STORY ITSELF IS BUILT ON AIR, DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS, AND LONG DESCRIPTIONS
Well, now that I've revealed the two main characters for what they really are, let's move on to the story! As I've already mentioned in this here rant, Stephanie Meyers is really good at writing in the way that candy is really good for your teeth. It tastes good, you can eat it all day long (they have a Holiday for that now) but when you go to the dentist, he'll tell you that you've been eating empty calories that give you cavities. And that's pretty much what the Twilight series is: empty calories. It is literally a story about an abusive relationship that culminates in the complete moral degeneration of the main character. Nobody would read that if they knew that was what is what about. These days, I'm not sure what constitutes a good book, but as far as I'm concerned, if your character is degrading, it must make a poignant effect on the reader and not make for a dissatisfying and hollow character.
As I also said before in the aforementioned rant (the link to which is up there in the beginning of that paragraph) I was watching a flame war on the internet and someone perfectly summed up Bella's character. He went through the series and pointed out that Bella changes into a monster, is cut off from her true family and friends, and has degenerated from her "more pure state." If Bella was meant to be a heroine of the story and a role model to girls the world over, then Meyers has failed to do her job. And this is Meyers's first flaw in the book is that her female protagonist has too much moral degradation too be a strong, inspiring character. She could have gotten away with too, if it weren't for that meddling story line.
See, having a character that self-destructs isn't uncommon and it's rather fun to write mental breakdowns if I do say so myself. Anna Karenina, Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, they're all great books with the poignancy needed to drive home that message of the destruction caused by human error. But Twilight can't even hope for the fiber and strength to carry the weight of an anti-hero because it's a YOUNG ADULT VAMPIRE "ROMANCE" NOVEL. The story's theme is about how important it is to have a boyfriend at whatever costs. The premise and general summary of the main character is enough to create a very depressing but passable book. Instead, Meyers does what she does best and writes worthless fluff.
The motifs of an eternal love or ineffectual, because they're centered around an abusive relationship. Even though Twilight isn't as graphic as its devil spawn, 50 Shades of Grey, it still carries the motifs of sadism and masochism. Not necessarily in a sexual way, but on a social level. The worst offense (as far as motifs go) is the fact that Meyers used VAMPIRES. VAMPIRES. Ever since Ann Rice, people stopped fearing these blood-sucking parasites and started to sympathize with them. And by sympathize, I mean romanticize and sexualize. That's the final strike against the Twilight series. If you take out that pithy vampirism stuff, you get a girl who, albeit a whiny martyr, was a good and nondescript girl. She got into a horrible relationship that she couldn't escape and was ultimately forced into marriage by an intimidating family that spawned an insensitive, abusive creeper. She was then impregnated, and gave birth under horrible circumstances that almost killed her. In the books, Bella actually dies. But is "brought back to life" by, literally, POISON that is injected directly into her heart. When she wakes up, she's not the Bella at the beginning, she's a monster and void of humanity. That there is pretty powerful when you say it bluntly.
Stephanie Meyers is no "god of writing," as she calls herself. Unless, of course, she meant to write about the moral degeneration of a simple girl and veiled this through stuffy and unhealthy "romance" and that vampire crap. If that was her intention from the beginning, then I'm sending her a postcard with my deepest apologies for underestimating her power. I just don't think it's within her brain to come up with something as worthwhile and deep as a modern version of Anna Karenina.