Twilight: An Overanalyzed Study Guide, p. 1

Twilight is turning into a cult. I had to see what all the hype is about. My nature is to already hate it, and of course my nature is to rip anything to shreds. My experience thus far is that Twilight fans are rabid, no-mercy maniacs, so I am putting on my web armor for this one. My dream was to create a Cliffs Notes as seen here, but I’ll settle for an academic study guide. Hopefully I will finish this before the movie, which I will most likely see and hate on as well.

Chapters 1 & 2

In which we meet Isabella “Bella” Swan, who makes a large sacrifice to move herself to the small town of Forks, Washington. This sacrifice tells the reader that she is a selfless person, but will probably not let us forget it, because she will probably complain about the town ad nauseum. As a teenager, she feels pity for her father Charlie, who is probably overjoyed at reuniting with his daughter.

Despite being nervous about fitting in at her new school, many of the other students welcome her and pay loots of attention to her, Because Bella still thinks of this place as a small town, she does not appreciate the attention, probably because the students are not attractive enough.

The attractive kids, are the Cullens and the Hale clique, who despite being assholes to Bella, she feels they are the ones worth knowing. In fact, Edward is disgusted by her and begs to be transferred out of her biology class.  This utter lack of disgust only turns Bella on, going against the grain of a healthy sense of self.

When Edward decides she is worthy of talking to, Bella jumps at the chance despite the fact that she is unsure if he is mocking him. In the end, it doesn’t matter because when attractive people pay attention to us, we must always heed their requests.

Discussion questions:

How does Bella’s transformation to a single-parent father household contribute to the overall theme of patriarchy in society?

How does Bella’s displacement to a small town society illustrate the curse of modern sociological-behavioral theory?

What did all the small town hicks in the school do before someone as exciting as Bella came into their lives?

Themes explored: isolation, father-figures, teen angst, teen hormones, the Greenhuse Effect.

Advertisements

50 thoughts on “Twilight: An Overanalyzed Study Guide, p. 1

  1. Lauren says:

    haha! Your stuff always makes me laugh…! I am a die-hard Twilight fan and always will be, but I still thought this was awesome!

  2. The Hershey Bar says:

    What did all the small town hicks in the school do before someone as exciting as Bella came into their lives?

    Love it! I suppose if you can’t get Liz and Jessica to visit your hick town then you’ll have to settle for Bella to make things interesting.

  3. evier says:

    But Hershey Bar, Bella doesn’t have blonde hair! Do you really think she’s a suitable substitute?

    I love this review! I read Twilight last weekend and am currently reading New Moon. It is so so awful but I can’t stop. Thanks for doing this!

  4. Susan says:

    i fucking hate Twilight!

    *sorry.. if any more people come up to the desk and ask for it, I’ll think I’ll scream.. there’s a 700+ waiting list for it in the Queens Public Library system*

  5. 1979semifinalist says:

    As usual, thank you for slogging through something horrible so that I don’t have to!

    As a writer with an unpublished novel (that on the surface seemingly bears some very minimal similarities to Meyer’s books) I’ve been kind of secretly hating on her for her wild success…and it had occurred to me that I was being irrational and judgmental. I feared I was going to have to actually read the books to justify my hate…but the more I read about her protagonist (and everything else) the more it seemed like the most non-forward thinking non-feminist, non-creative non-wonderful book that could be written in this day and age…and I was dreading reading it. It also doesn’t help that she’s a die-hard Mormon and I’ve got drama with Mormons (grew up partially in Utah). So I can’t really tell you how much I was dreading it – thank you for doing it for me – and as usual for doing it with hilariously mean jokes and commentary.

    You rock, as always.

  6. Onnie says:

    haha I was waiting for you to write about this ever since you said you picked it up. Gawd, if you ever get through book 1 and start on book 2, you will really be raging.

  7. anonymous says:

    i actually really like these books, but i still thought this was funny. i still don’t get all the criticism about this being non-feminist, but whatever. i think it’s an interesting idea/story and meyer had some pretty good twists/pieced the story together well… although her actual writing style COULD be improved.

  8. Kates says:

    You are my hero. I tried to read these, but the feminist in me had me throwing the book down in utter exasperation. Also, I too am forced to hate anything there is hype about. Glad to know I’m not alone in the world.
    And the discussions questions win at life. That is all.

  9. ana says:

    thank you thank you thank you. i work at a bookstore, and have friends who think these are the best books ever. so i read the whole series and loathed every moment of it. i can’t wait until you get to the part where myers starts comparing her work to classical literature and messes it up entirely (book 1, jane austen, book 2, romeo and juliet (although no one dies and everyone lives happily ever after), etc etc.). she is shameless. please tear her to shreds.

  10. ana says:

    thank you thank you thank you. i work at a bookstore, and have friends who think these are the best books ever. so i read the whole series and loathed every moment of it. i can’t wait until you get to the part where myers starts comparing her work to classical literature and messes it up entirely (book 1, jane austen, book 2, romeo and juliet (although no one dies and everyone lives happily ever after), etc etc.). she is shameless. please tear her to shreds. they do set bella up to be selfless and supposedly really smart and responsible, but there isn’t a single decision she makes from the start of the first book that follows that description. if there is one thing i can’t stand, it is a female protagonist who can’t do anything for herself or help the people she loves, but just stands to the side and lets everyone else fight her battles for her. i can’t wait for more.

  11. amandahugnkiss says:

    Thank you for snarking this! I’ve been staging a protest about this series, mainly because my friends who love these books are the same ones who hated on my “Buffy” love in college.

    Also, I saw Kristen (Kirsten?) Stewart and the guy who plays Edward in the movie on ABC Family a couple of weeks ago, and they could not possibly have sounded less excited about the movie. If I have to see that damn, “Say it!” “Vampire!” commercial one more time, I’m going to throw something at my television.
    /end rant.

  12. aaaames says:

    OMG I love you.

    My radical feminist self hates on Twilight.

    My reader of good YA self hates on Twilight.

    My writer self hates on Twilight.

    AND YET IT IS LIKE THE MOST POPULAR SERIES EVER AGHHHH.

  13. That one says:

    Oh God. Don’t give Twilight any more attention. It should’ve stayed tucked away in Stephanie Meyer’s fanfiction notebook and not allowed to see the light of day (where it would no doubt sparkle.)

  14. kiwimusume says:

    Is it just me, or does the “l” in “Twilight” on that cover look like a part of the anatomy that none of the boys in Sweet Valley High seem to have?

  15. kiwimusume says:

    @amandahugnkiss: Did you see that article where the guy who plays Sparkly McSparkleton say this?

    “When you read the book,” says Pattinson, looking appropriately pallid and interesting even without makeup, “it’s like, ‘Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.’ I mean, every line is like that. He’s the most ridiculous person who’s so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn’t do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that’s how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he’s a 108-year-old virgin so he’s obviously got some issues there.”

  16. Enid Rollins says:

    I’m sorry.

    I hate Twilight. I don’t mind escapist\’bubble gum’ “lit” if it is funny, amusing, or has some redeeming value. But Twilight was just. Plain. Boring.

    And even girls who read “Gossip Girl” and “Clique” have admitted it’s just escapist. But ‘Twilight’ is along the same lines and even adults are hailing it as something phenomenal. When it gets compared to real literature, then I draw the line. I don’t mind if girls read it, k? But when they’re encouraged to read it as literature, sorry. Bella is a total dependent, and not even one of those deep kinds like Moll Flanders or any Jane Austen characters. She moons over Edward, and Ed treats her like shite, with no real conclusion.

  17. ihatewheat says:

    Firstly, you all rock my world. 🙂

    Secondly, StephEnie is Mormon? Aw shit. That’s not me just having a knee-jerk reaction, I actually know a lot about LDS and I can firmly say that basically every value is exactly contrary to my values. Also, is vampirism a metaphor to withhold from premarital sex?

    Robert Pattison just got higher in my book! Yea, whoever said he is so not thrilled about the movie is right. He shows up to premiers looking like ass.

    As far as it being escapism, etc., I am a fan of escapism (hellllooooo I read 80s YA lit) but no matter what I have no tolerance for mediocrity. StepEnie’s prose is awful. It’s basically a narrative of “I did this. Then this happened. Then he said this.” It’s written in first person for pete’s sake! Show some more internal thoughts!

    Someone like Cecily Von Z. can still be a good writer. I am sure she is thinking, hey, I have fun writing these characters. Meanwhile StephEnie is comparing her shit to Jane Austen??? WTF???

    As far as lots of people reading them, some would say “hey at least people are reading” but I totally am against that, especially if what they are reading is not good and if the message is negative. Girls are impressionable! Hellloooo! I am fine with adults reading this but for adults who hardly read and just read these and fine them enjoyable…er,um…I have to get snobby and scoff at them. And then hand them The Poisonwood Bible or something like that.
    I devour Phillipa Gregory’s novels, which I would consider escapist, but ol’ Phil still can write well.

    I just Wikipedia’d StephEnie, and it says the idea for Twilight came to her in the dream about a vampire that was in love with a girl. Hell, If I wrote a novel about every erotic dream I had, you’d be reading books about me feeding Seth Rogan Cheetos while we were in our underwear. And about a high society girl in Civil War Era having a secret affair with a street-smart ruffian (played by Sam Rockwell).

    Dear Ms. Meyer:

    We’d like our B.A. In English back.

    Love, Brigham Young University

  18. BartTempleton says:

    Your comment right above mine, IHW, is veering dangerously far from snark towards legit lit-crit…and I approve (hey, what good is doing a grad degree in library science if you can’t talk shop once in a while?)

    Seriously, peoples, break it down for me: is the humor-factor in reading these books worth the aggravation for me?

    Just so you know: I heart feminism and the abolishment of exclusive, essentialized gender roles; I hate writing with excessive dialogue tags and exposition; and I hate characters that are Too Stupid to Live.

    [Caveat: unless they’re YA 80s ghostwritten lit that were never meant to be taken seriously]

    Can I handle TWILIGHT?

  19. Jaci says:

    ihatewheat: What’s sad is Book One is the best book of the whole series. It only goes downhill from there.

    I can not wait for your next Twilight installment, and I’m so glad there are other people out there who hated this book!

  20. Melody_Grey says:

    I’ve figured it out, why everyone claims that the Twilight “saga” is the best thing since, well, SVH. The writing is horrible, the characters are unlikable (except Alice, Charlie, and Jacob), and you feel sorry for Charlie to have such an ungrateful brat for a daughter. It’s a trainwreck, and you can’t look away. You can’t put it down, and it gets worse as the series progresses (if you make it to Breaking Dawn, you’ll want to kill yourself). But rather than admit that they are reading something that they and everyone else KNOWS is horrible, most people will claim that the books are awesome with a side of awesome sauce.

  21. Cara Walker says:

    Ok, admittedly I read all 4 Twilight novels obsessively – but I agree that the writing is not great, and there are major plot flaws. I would suggest reading only if you enjoy unrealistic teenage romance (this series kind of reminded me of the Jonathon Cain vampire series of SVH – by the way, please review these, IHW!). By the way, I thought the second book of the series was the best, but the last was the worst. I won’t give anything away, but it was unbelievably bad and unrealistic!

  22. Cara Walker says:

    By the way, Melody Gray, I agree with you about the ‘likeable’ characters – they were my faves, too. Although I would probably add Carlisle and Esme to my list.

  23. Namrata says:

    The real question is, how long will it take for you to want to tie Bella down to a railroad track and watch the carnage?? She’s so whiny, it’s beyond me how both a vampire AND a werewolf could fall in love with her! Stephenie Meyer seems to like promoting the damsel-in-distress method of getting a guy (human or otherwise).

    And despite the above, I’ve read all the books, and will undoubtedly watch the movie. Sigh. I worry myself.

  24. Renee says:

    P.S. I know Frankenstein’s creature is married and all, but I can’t believe he’s not even invited to this Steph Meyers party. Maybe he and the mummy are out trolling for less whiny chicks in sorority houses. Wow. I need to start dreaming this plotline out, so I can make millions in the bored housewives’ market too.

    (Yes, my library of monsters comes directly from cereal boxes).

  25. Deathycat says:

    “The real question is, how long will it take for you to want to tie Bella down to a railroad track and watch the carnage?? ”

    It took me about a third of the first book. ^_^

    Ihatewheat, I love the study guide. The Discussion ideas are made of win. ^_^ Can’t wait for more.

  26. amandahugnkiss says:

    @kiwimusume: I knew he hated himself for doing the movie! I’m kind of pissed now because that quote makes me like him a little.

    I was actually going to break down and read them, then a friend told me that the first one was good, the second and third started to head downhill, and the last one made her want to throw it out the window. Plus, if Stephanie Meyer takes herself that seriously I don’t really want to contribute to her growing Monty Burns-like fortune.

  27. Kristin says:

    BLAAh I sort of hate them too. I read all four of them and really wanted to like them more than I did.

    I think because my cousin told me it was like Harry Potter but with vampires. Which would have been AMAZING because I love Harry Potter and also Buffy. So I was expecting that, and wanting it, and did not get it.

    The first one was the best of them I suppose, if only because you didn’t know exactly what was going to happen with the Cullens, etc.

    I tolerated the rest of them. My friend read and loved them and thinks Bella and Edward are the best couple OMG forever, but also does not think the writing is that great. You can definitely tell they are written with VERY young tweens in mind, they are extremely repetitive.

    I was on Team Jacob.

    The last book in the series is maybe the stupidest thing I have ever read in my entire life and I feel dumber for having read it.

    I am going to see the movie … I actually sort of look forward to it out of curiosity.

  28. I like toast says:

    Here’s what I don’t understand. The books are bad. Period. I mean, I seriously don’t understand people who think the first one is bad but keep reading. I have zero interest. None. And I read the first one before there was this mad hype, so I don’t even have that as an excuse for not liking it. I just plain don’t. Badly written, crappy romance, terrible characters. Ugh. And I love my share of “bad” books. This just isn’t up to that level. Good on you IHW for not being sucked in, even if you are reading them all!!

  29. Alicia says:

    This is amazing. THANK YOU! My friend made me read them, and I got a little defensive of my love of GOOD vampire stories afterwards.

    Angel > Edward.

    That is all!

  30. KC The Great says:

    Never read Twilight but now I really want to, because it’s sounds so horrible. I’ll read it so I know what not to do when I write my novels. I’m really picky with my Vampire novels. I only have read Anne Rice vamp novels, and I have a feeling I might burn my library’s copy of Twilight. Just kidding.

  31. Melody_Grey says:

    @Cara Walker: After I posted, I realized that I forgot Carlisle, Esme & Seth, but I was too lazy to post again.

    @Kristen: Jacob was too good for Bella. My ex read the books and he was all for Bella & Edward being together because “the two pieces of cardboard are completely devoid of personality and, therefore, deserve each other.”

  32. Magpie says:

    “Plus, if Stephanie Meyer takes herself that seriously I don’t really want to contribute to her growing Monty Burns-like fortune.”

    HAHA, this made me laugh out loud 🙂 It’s exactly what I was just thinking. I’ll just read these awesome recaps in increasing horror.

  33. ohsaxylady says:

    Yeah, I work at a bookstore in Podunk-ville and the amount of people (not just kids, sadly) who are obsessed with Twilight is astounding.

    My boss actually required us to read the first three books to “stay up on things” for the mandatory Breaking Dawn release in August ’08 at midnight. I specifically requested day shift that day, because the boss also required high school prom attire for all employees working the release party. I wish I were kidding.

    For curiosity’s sake (just to see how the series ended), I picked up Breaking Dawn after the brou-ha-ha died down in September and essentially grimaced the entire time while reading it… what a stupid plot and a stupider way to end a series.

    But (sigh) I also will probably watch the film… I’ll just be sure to go on a school night to the theater when the 12-year-olds aren’t there to screech in gooey delight every time Robert Pattinson appears on screen.

    A friend sent me this gem, and I make sure to send it to as many Twilight fans I know just to tick them off. 🙂 …

    http://psa.blastmagazine.com/2008/08/23/twilight-a-follow-up-and-a-promise/

  34. Aretha says:

    “Hell, If I wrote a novel about every erotic dream I had, you’d be reading books about me feeding Seth Rogan Cheetos while we were in our underwear. And about a high society girl in Civil War Era having a secret affair with a street-smart ruffian (played by Sam Rockwell). ”

    ihatewheat you are too damn funny 😀

  35. amandahugnkiss says:

    @aaaames: That was hilarious! So based on what I read of the book on that site and this one, is Alice basically like Drusilla, with the visions and the crazy?

  36. Alicia says:

    Alice has Dru-like visions, but isn’t crazy.

    And I just realized that the entire book series is pretty much one huge Mary-Sue fanfic… except with a lot less sex.

  37. Rachel says:

    Damn. I didn’t realise until I read IHW’s comment just what a bad example this book is to young girls. I passionately hate books which encourage girls to be reliant on men to look after them and do everything for them and basically transport us back to the 19th century (not that I don’t love gentlemanliness and Louisa May Alcott). And I’ve just realised that this is one of those books! Okay, it’s a fun read and a nice break from Joseph Conrad and Chinua Achebe but I wouldn’t want my teen daughter reading Twilight until she was mature enough to know that she does not need a boyfriend in order to be happy and that God gave her hands so that she can punch boys.

    I’m currently reading New Moon and Bella was all whiny over Edward. For like six months. Seriously, I’ve been upset when guys have been jerks to me but after a few months you snap out of it and are like “Why am I pining over him when he treated me like quatsch?” and then you move on. And Bella didn’t. For MONTHS. That annoyed me. There are more important things in her life than Edward. She just totally ditched all her female friends. Sure, girls can be total weibstücks sometimes, but you need good female friends to stand by you when guys do bad stuff, like Edward doing a runner. Luckily she has stopped whining and made friends with everyone again, but still BAD MESSAGE FOR TEENAGE GIRLS.

  38. District Doll says:

    Despite the fact that I am laden with my own brand of snobbery, academic superiority, and merciless criticism, I must comment that before you batter not just Stephenie Meyer but any writer/artist with your caustic yet uninformed judgments, perhaps you should work on your own grammar, syntax, and cohesiveness of thought.

    “…many of the other students welcome her and pay loots of attention to her, Because Bella still thinks of this place as a small town, she does not appreciate the attention…”

    “…The attractive kids, are the Cullens and the Hale clique, who despite being assholes to Bella, she feels they are the ones worth knowing…”

    Just two examples of poor writing on your part. Is punctuation foreign to you?

    “…Bella jumps at the chance despite the fact that she is unsure if he is mocking him…”

    I’m sure you mean “if he is mocking HER.”

    “In fact, Edward is disgusted by her and begs to be transferred out of her biology class. This utter lack of disgust only turns Bella on, going against the grain of a healthy sense of self.”

    Firstly, if I’m not mistaken, Edward wants to avoid her because of his lack of self-control in her presence.

    Secondly, “lack of disgust?” Did you not just proclaim that he was disgusted by her?

    I’m not a fan of Twilight, but I do think you ought to take a moment to examine yourself before you rain your opinions down upon others.

  39. Outraged Giggle says:

    I can’t get over the relgious crap in the book – i.e. no sex pre-marriage. That’s just infuriating. Secondly, I hate the damsel in distress bs. Wow. Unbelievable. I would have loved this book if Bella had seduced Edward and maybe one of his brothers. I also wish she had bitched his ass out every time he acted like a tool – which was a lot. Edward struck me as this whiny, prissy bitch lost in the Victorian era of England or something. Bella had potential in the beginning when she was all emotional turmoil from moving, but that came to a screeching halt when she started behaving like a jackass by obsessing over Edward’s complete indifference (and sometimes just plain rude attitude) towards her.

  40. Colleen says:

    OMG I tried so very hard to read them, because all my friends were like “oh, they’re amazing, you’ll love them, they’re so good.” So I borrowed the first one months and months ago from a friend. And I got up to the Port Angeles chapter and I seriously wanted to gouge my eyes out. I would never ever be friends with someone like Bella in real life, and if anyone I knew was dating someone like Edward, even if he wasn’t a vampire, I would have them committed. He’s controlling and a mad creeper.

    “But he loves her!” they tell me. what’s that phrase? “I’m hitting you because I love you.” Something like that.

  41. alice says:

    omg you ppl tht trash twilight are such retards just let these ppl like it they don’t bother you about things you like and if they do just be the bigger person and don’t do it back . if you really don’t like it you don’t have to say it gosh!

  42. Kiwi says:

    Everyone has the right to express their opinions.
    If we cannot say that we don’t like the books, you fans can’t say that you like it either.

    You know first time I saw the word “Twitard” I thought it meant Twilight is retarded ._. but lols…

  43. Neek1981 says:

    Haven’t read the book, but I have seen the movie. I don’t understand Edward. Has he lived in the little town his whole life? If so, hasn’t anyone noticed that he’s been seventeen for like a hundred years? Also, if he’s a vampire, why does he hang out in high school?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s