Monday, August 11, 2008

Is it true that Twilight makes vampirism cliqueish?

I loved Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles because they were passionate, hopelessly romantic and morbidly stunning. I vaguely remember watching vampire movies when I was a girl. The name Dracula immediately brought forth visions of gorgeous women in long billowy lingerie running terrified through a graveyard while a dark haired, pale skinned figure emerged from behind the fog bearing fangs and announcing in a thick Romanian accent, "I vaaant to drink your blooood!" In contrast, Lestat was hauntingly sexy and strong, and he drew you willingly into his tormented world, making you want to engage the very creature you feared. He was the extreme epitome of the bad boy, historically a temptation to women of all ages. Plus, it didn't hurt that he was a rock star.

Twilight on the other hand, is set in modern day times and focuses on two star-crossed lovers one human, one well, you get the gist. Bella and Edward are teenagers for all intents and purposes. Bella is more like an old soul trapped in a 17 year old body, while Edward was literally born in early 1900's. Like all Romeo and Juliet-ish love stories, they fiercely believe they belong together despite the obvious dangers. I have never been a great fan of teen novels, and have rarely picked one up except to encourage my children to read by reading along with them. Teenagers do not fascinate me, perhaps because I've worked very hard at trying to forget my own less than magnificent adolescent years. I began reading with a bit of apprehension and surprisingly, couldn't put the book down.

Meyer's novels have been able to capture my curiosity. In fact, Twilight fits quite appropriately in this genre. Teenagers by definition are rebellious creatures. They are also infatuated with their newly blossoming superegos and idea of loooove. Psychosocially, at least according to Erik Erikson, the balance between identity vs. role confusion and intimacy vs. isolation becomes crucial to survival. The pivotal questions: how does a vampire fit in the already chaotic world of high school? How can love be so simple? Why would anyone want to be a teenager for eternity?

Do I think Twilight promotes vampire cliques? Remember who we're talking about here. By it's very nature it attracts teenage fascination. This vampire family, comprised of teenagers are both the exception and the norm. They are the new age "socies" with a terrifying twist. There will always be socies, jocks, nerd, greasers, jets, sharks, mods, goths, etc. Twilight does nothing to add to the high school world of cliques except make it a little more interesting. Will it unleash a frenzy of blood drinking? Exacerbate the myth of infallibility among already conflicted teenagers? Ah, maybe. Who knows what lurks in the minds of the dain bramaged. Hopefully the most harm it will do is launch a cool new clothing line and increase sales in dark black eyeliner and Johnson & Johnson baby powder.


kirida said...

Okay, this is super Twilight-geekdom, but they *have* to be cliquey because it's one of the vampire "rules." They have to keep their vampirism secret and they blend in as much as they can. These rules become more clear in the next few books and play a more integral plot role.

Saipan Writer said...

I love young adult (teen) books, but I'm not fond of Anne Rice or anything vampire-ish...

Interesting book review, though.

(and fyi-it's "all intents and purposes" I think...begging pardon, but I have an internal editor that works overtime)

Boni said...

Thanks SW, I might have been at smiling dock cutting English class that day:)

The Last Disciple said...

I've read the first three and am currently reading the fourth iteration of this series. I was actually turned on to Steph Meyer by one of my college instructors who owns a clothing web site. I am so hoping the movie is at least half as good as the book, alas, they never are.