Monday, March 12, 2012

Bloody Monday - Twilight's Edward

Edward

All right, here I go, either for good or ill, I'm tackling "the big one," - Edward Cullen.

Bravery at its finest, folks, because this is not my favorite vamp or my favorite series. And yet... I'd say Edward Cullen is an important literary vampire - right up there with Dracula and Lestat. Huh.

How did that happen?

Of course, pop culture is what it is, and it's always fascinating to discover the next big thing.

And as much as Edward isn't my favorite vamp, he probably can be counted on as at least one cobblestone in my own journey to small press publishing. Vampires are hot, after all.
not scary Edward

Let's just get out of the way what I don't like about Edward.

1) He goes to high school - on purpose.

2) The sun doesn't burn him to ash.

3) The sun doesn't burn him to ash - it makes him sparkle

4) Most importantly - he's very mean to Bella - at least at first.

Perhaps #'s 1 and 4 are the biggies. A vampire in high school always seems ridiculous to me. It doesn't matter if it's a Twilight vamp or some other vamp.

Disclaimer #1: Haven't seen the movie, and don't mind if I don't. I'm not much into movies. But I have read the books.

Actually, apparently all the Cullens go to high school, Edward and Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper, and Alice.

That's quite a clique! They are described as "Devastatingly, inhumanely beautiful." Unfortunately, in Biology, he gives Bella one of those if looks could kill looks. Which of course makes her fall in love with him.

And the next time they meet: But Edward Cullen's back stiffened, and he turned slowly to glare at me - his face was absurdly handsome - with piercing, hate-filled eyes.

Ouch.

But. If I'm going to be fair at all, one of the hot and sexy things about a vampire is that he carries an edge of danger, which usually both attracts and repels the female protagonist. The power that they withhold in order not to  hurt their love-interest, the hunger they hold back, and the very fact that their all-to-human love is strong enough to override their basic nature - these things make us fall in love with vampires, yes?

Oh, yes.

So in Twilight, it's either that the language is not subtle enough (for me, that is), or that the characters are in high school and therefore "hunger" is so obviously a euphemism for sex - that it doesn't work (for me).

Or maybe even that some of the early foundation work is lacking. The Cullens have been attending high school for two years, and Edward is such a snob none of the girls are good enough for him to date. Until along comes Bella, who, by her own description, is "nothing special" in the looks department, and by her narrative, nothing special in the personality department, either - but Edward is captured.

He must possess (marry) her, so he can feed his hunger (have sex with her), and she's game for it, because once she meets Edward, Bella stops being a whole person. She doesn't have any interests, skills, or talents of her own, so she might as well get married and have vampire babies.

In fact, she blows off college, (and I can only assume none of the Cullen kids have bothered with college, because once they'd had the college experience, I can't imagine them spending several years going back to high school) - so Bella is about as smart as she's going to get.

Perhaps all my issues with Twilight as a whole is this: Bella is the opposite of a strong female protagonist.

In a world where I want to teach my daughter to be a strong, independent, and complete person (with or without a significant other), the pop culture shrine of Edward and Bella just annoys me. The relationship at worst screams "emotional abuse" and at best gives the idea that it's okay for a woman to give up all her life, all her hopes and dreams, for a boy. Heck, getting the boy IS her goal in life. If Edward truly loved Bella he'd want her to get a college education, he'd encourage her to find her own talents and realize her own dreams.

Okay, Edwards talents:

He can walk in the day, although the more over-cast, the better. He can move exceptionally fast. He can survive happily on animal blood. He's probably a straight A student - after all, he's been there done that quite a few times. He has superhuman sense of smell, sight and hearing. He can read minds - with the exception of Bella, because she's a very private person.

So. In closing. I guess I think Edward is okay, as far as vampires go. I just don't like Bella (apologetic smile).

Have a great week! Leave some comments about Twilight, whether you agree with me or don't, or maybe you have an entirely different take on the series than I do - that's all right - I'd love to get some discussion rocking here. And remember, if you nominate a vampire for Bloody Monday, and I feature that vampire (which I probably will), you win an ebook from my DeVante trilogy. You may nominate here or tweet me with hashtag #BloodyMondaySMJ.


4 comments:

  1. I totally agree with Bella not being a strong character. At first i didn't notice but as i read different books i noticed just how young & just a bit whiney she was. I like my characters that have depth, that are strong & don't pity themselves.
    In saying this though a lot of people read YA books like Twilight not because of the depth of the characters, its because they like the romance & excitement that happens, i know i still enjoy the books & the movies!

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  2. Hi Moonlessbites! Thanks for the comment. True about the romance and excitement - I go through periods where all I read is YA, because I love how quickly YA books suck me in. And I do think Meyer did that really well in Twilight - when Bella has to go live with her dad, and feels she barely knows him. I was very sympathetic to her in the beginning.

    Some of my favorite YA books are the quiet ones that deal with the family relationships kids have no control of - where they're going to live, who they have to live with (i.e. step-parents, step-siblings)- and I like when the MC has to grow up a bit to resolve some of their problems.

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  3. "because once she meets Edward, Bella stops being a whole person. She doesn't have any interests, skills, or talents of her own, so she might as well get married and have vampire babies.

    In fact, she blows off college, (and I can only assume none of the Cullen kids have bothered with college, because once they'd had the college experience, I can't imagine them spending several years going back to high school) - so Bella is about as smart as she's going to get.

    Perhaps all my issues with Twilight as a whole is this: Bella is the opposite of a strong female protagonist."

    With the above, you hit the nail on the head. This is exactly why I wans't thrilled with the books. I am a mother of seven, five of whom are girls, so the idea of giving them a role model like Bella, well, it just isn't much of an idea because she isn't much of a role model, whether intended as one or not.

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  4. Moonduster - It wasn't quite as glaring to me the first time through - I think I got focused on the "sparkling" and disliked Edward - but it was on a re-visit (leafing through, not really reading) that I realized I disliked Bella for her doormat qualities far more than I disliked Edward for his vampire ones. Thanks for the comment!

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