Twilight: An Overanalyzed Study Guide Pt. 3

This week’s lesson includes learning about the motivation and inspiration of an author. Luckily, we were able to sit down with Stephenie Meyer, the author of the literature we are studying.

Hey Stephenie, thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

No problem. I’m sorry that I am a little groggy because I just woke up. I had the most amazing dream. I dreamt I was in a sorority and there was this fraternity, but the fraternity was made up of those hawt elves like Legolas. And there was this big elvish dance coming up in the underworld, and we were all hoping the elf guys would ask us, and we decided to ask them, and when we did, their hair started to glow rainbow colors and…

Er, um. Okay. Well, I actually wanted to talk about a passage from Twilight that…

Yea, sorry I was late because I had to write all that down. It’s going to be the basis for my next book

Ok, well….  let’s talk about the key scene when Bella is at the beach with the Forks gang and she meets Jacob, who tells her about the Cullen family, and begins to give Bella the idea that they are vampires.

What do you think? Should I do bangs?

Ms. Meyer, I am not sure this has anything to do with…Anyway, Yea, so…how did you prepare for that? What can you say about it?

Oh sorry. So yea. I was chilling out one night, listening to my Evanescence CD for like the 100oth time, and someone told me about this thing called Wikipedia. And I was like, yea, Wicca, I can be into that! That’s like witches, right? I looooved The Craft! Anyway, I saw something about vampires while I was reading the Buffy episode guide, I saw something about Native Americans, and I was like, I should put one in my book. Because, they’re like, really hot. Have you SEEN Last of the Mohicans?

So, it really seems that this set up the background mythology of the Forks vampire clan and actually confirmed to the reader, and Bella, that her suspicions were not unfounded. Why pick this crucial moment to reveal that? And why through this medium?

Hey, do you like this dress? It’s like so romantic. I think Edward would totally fall in love with me if he saw me in this.

Ok, yea, so Ms. Meyer, if we can stick to the topic, because this will be on the exam.

Oh, sorry. Sometimes I just think that Edward is real, and that he takes me to be his vampire bride. And then I think about what I’d wear to the wedding.

Moving on…So I am going to read a passage, and then maybe we can talk about it. This is said by Jacob Black: “There is always a risk for humans to be around the cold ones, even if they’re civilized like this clan was. You never know when they might get too hungry to exist”. What do the cold ones represent? The ills of society? The unconscious part of ourselves we try to deny?

Actually, it’s about the temptation of having sex before marriage, drinking caffeine, and not wearing the correct underwear. I wanted to not write it as that, but use something different to REPRESENT it, you know what I mean? That’s called a metaphor. It’s something writers do.

Oh, yes thank you. I think I have heard of that technique. I’ve read that you have drawn your inspiration for these novels from some classic works. Can you talk about that?

Sure. Well, there’s the classic star-crossed lovers plot, which was inspired by the classic Romeo and Juliet.  You know, based on that movie with Leo and Claire? So classic. Oh, also, I was watching One Tree Hill and thought, Chad Michael Murray would make a hot vampire.

Wow. So, thanks for that…insight. Can’t wait for the elf prom book.

—-

On another note, thanks for all the comments, links, and support for my hatred of Twilight! Getting into the online community discussions about Twilight is like opening a portal to a bottomless, crazy universe, so I don’t want to get into that, but I wanted to give a plug for the lj community twilight_sucks, which is devoted to multiple bashings per day. Also, Kristen Stwewart and Robert Pattison continue to regret being a a part of this mess. Kristen calls the fans “retarded” and both she and Rob looked like they are being forced to attend the premier at gunpoint. You also know hating Twilight is relevant when the New York Times covers it. Also, the always genius South Park is jumping on the bandwagon. Tonight is the premier of “The Ungroundable” in which “Butters is sure he’s seen a vampire at school but he can’t get anyone to listen to him. Meanwhile, the Goth Kids are angry and frustrated when the other kids can’t tell the difference between a Goth and a Vampire.” Hee.

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38 thoughts on “Twilight: An Overanalyzed Study Guide Pt. 3

  1. Rio says:

    Ms. Wheat, I cannot thank you enough for unleashing your wrath on this shitfest. If Meyer becomes the new J.K. Rowling, I’m swearing off fiction forever.

  2. Abby says:

    I have not read or followed any of this book, but I understand it has quite the fanbase. I may have to read it now. I read the article on Kristen Stewart calling the movie fans retarded and think she sounds like a total bitch. I agree, the fans are overzealous and in some ways completely rabid, but she doesn’t have to be such a snot about it. I may page through this book out of sheer curiousity, but there’s no way in hell I’ll go to the movie.

  3. yasoup says:

    Wow, that article is sad. I know some girls go emo and that’s normal, but that many? And that much? Whoa. Stop. Those pix in the NYT article of the weeping fangirls made me want to either vomit or laugh. Bad idea…I could choke!

    I just don’t see why Twilight’s different than Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants or any other teen books. Sure, SotTP was popular, but not maniacally so. I mean…I think Edward was only popular because he was a sparkly vampire and his gf had a martyr complex. Wish fulfillment.

  4. Robyn says:

    Well, I’ve read all the books and they are pretty horrible. They are dull, nobody dies and did I mention dull? I have no idea how I managed to get through all four of these books.

    However, I also rabidly read BSC books in my spare time too, so my literary choices might be a little suspect…

  5. Diana says:

    Loved this! The Twilight series is a (very) guilty pleasure of mine. I actually have a little hope that the movie will be better than the first book–more action, better pacing, less redundancy. Granted, the bar wasn’t set all that high to begin with.

  6. Jen S says:

    Twilight only gradually crept up on my radar, since I thank God and Jesus no longer work at Borders, but when I did hear about it, my one reaction was pretty much “I am SO GLAD I am too old for this shit.”

    The one piece of info that made me laugh was a little interview with Edward where he said reading the book made him hate Edward more and more since every character creams herself over him, so he played the role as a manic depressive who hates himself. Wanna see it just for that!

    Read Roger Ebert’s review for more laughs, and go see “Let The Right One In” for a good vampire movie.

  7. Melody_Grey says:

    One of the things that I find so hilarious about this Twilight-steria is that when I read the first two books, I’d never actually heard of the series. I was in the local indie bookstore & saw it in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section. I’d read all of LA Banks stuff (up to that point) and thought “Hey, I like vampires & Young Adult books. I think I’ll buy them.” Even after I read them, I thought they were nothing to write home about, but then I discovered there was a third book. I thought, “Might as well finish the series.” Then 2 weeks later, there’s all this buzz and release parties at the Barnes and Noble and everywhere else, and I was all confused. Like it literally came out of nowhere.

    That being said, I’m counting the days for the ex to come home so we can see the movie and snark and snark some more.

  8. Taren says:

    That was so great! There’s an interview somewhere where Robert Pattinson talks about how the fans freak him out, how he doesn’t like the character of Edward, and how he thinks Stephenie is in love with Edward. Kristen Stewart *does* act like a huge bored bitch all the time, but I can’t say I disagree with her opinion. There are people who find the books enjoyable (albeit flawed) and the crazy fans who think Twilight is bigger than the Bible make all of us look stupid.

  9. bellayawn says:

    Yeah, I’ve been reconciling my loathing of this book by hating it on a chapter by chapter basis. The low point for me was when Bella talked about writing a paper on whether the Shakespeare was misogynist (Chapter 7), because I wrote a paper on the misogyny in Hamlet in high school and have felt it misappropriated by this whining Damsel in Distress. Haha.

    And Edward is one of the creepiest controlling boyfriends in YA for quite some time. Plus, he’s a Creationist. And he drives a friggin’ Volvo. Fuck him. THANK YOU for this.

    And for anybody who wants to know about the fuss WITHOUT actually reading this shit, come by my blog. I’m doing chapter by chapter synopses – so you can hate without subjecting yourself to the actual “prose.”

  10. Cat says:

    I was hoping you’d recap this series. The truly frightening thing is that this is actually how I imagine a convo with Smeyer would go…

    Now if only you’d recap High School Musical, my dreams would come true, but it’s not a book so I guess it wouldn’t really apply.

    And if you’re looking for more twilight hate/lulz, might I recommend the livejournal community ontd_twatlight? Epicness occurs there on a regular basis.

  11. Malika.. says:

    Great Interview! You’d make Diane Sawyer proud..

    The Edward character is going to foist a whole new set of traumas onto the now-teen generation. It’s o.k for your boyfriend to be a loathsome twat who calls you-won’t call you-call you- calling you is beneath him- Call you to tell you that you should stop calling him- Ends up on your doorstep days later, moaning about how he has nothing better to do than hang out with you, just don’t expect him to have the energy to ever pick up a phone in this lifetime/eternity etc..

    Still can’t wait for the bitch-fest to begin.

  12. Namrata says:

    hahaha, oh i love the twilight-related bitchfest, it’s sooo much fun…as much as i love all the svh-snark, it’s nice to see something different being the targest of your ire! please tell me there’ll be more of these study guides!

  13. kiwimusume says:

    Jen S, I know exactly how you feel. If these had come out while I still worked at the bookshop where I used to work…*shudders* (In fact, I am currently living in a non-English speaking country, so I get to avoid the hype altogether! *prays to every God I have ever heard of and some I haven’t that this shit never gets translated into Japanese, and if it does, that it doesn’t become popular here*)

  14. maya omega says:

    Is that picture of stephanie meyer in a red gown real? I can’t tell coz it’s too small. If it’s real, please give me the link. I’m rather curious about it..thanks

  15. BartTempleton says:

    bellayawn:

    “Plus, he’s a Creationist. And he drives a friggin’ Volvo. Fuck him.”

    ” without subjecting yourself to the actual ‘prose.’ ”

    You rock. That’s all.

  16. Rachel says:

    That is a crazy dress! Thanks for the full-picture link. If the dress went up to her knees instead of being floor-length then it would be the kind of thing a five-year-old would wear to a birthday party. Seriously, the baby-cardigan gives it that look!

    Anyway, although I’m still on the “Twilight is pretty decent teenage fiction and at least Bella isn’t a Mary Sue and actually has issues” boat I have to say that the manic-fan thing scares me. The books aren’t THAT amazing. Sure, it was a pretty unique idea but it is not worth all the hype! And I completely understand the actress who plays Bella wanting to have her space as manic-fans would really distract you BUT what she actually says makes her look pretty immature. It also makes her look like she has a rubbish vocabulary. Please learn to use an adjective which makes sense – calling your fans “retarded” just makes you look like every other high-school kid! Seriously, it’s people like her that makes adults look down on people like me and think that all teenage girls can’t string together a decent sentence.

    I’ve never read any interviews with Stephenie Meyer so I’m intrigued as to what she actually says. How close to the truth is this wonderful piece of blog-fiction?

    But anyway – does anyone know why teenage girls are obsessed with these books so much? I’m a bit old for this genre so I can see the appeal but not the obsession. Then again, I couldn’t see the obsession with Harry Potter either, but I didn’t even like those books.

  17. Kate says:

    I read the first book. I liked it, despite being a rational intelligent 32 year old woman. And yet, everything you say makes total sense. I don’t know why I liked it. It’s just plain weird. Please continue with your commentary – it is the perfect reading companion!

  18. BartTempleton says:

    Rachel, I haven’t read the series, but from what I’ve read about it, it seems it’s not all that original. L.J. Smith did the small-town-teenager-in-love-with-an-honorable-vamp-who-only drinks-animal-blood thing about 18 years ago. (Whoa, I really am old).

    I agree with you about the actress’ brattiness, though I hate her and Pattison–not admire them like others– for it. It pisses me off when artists disclaim their own work to clue us in to their coolness while raking in the moolah from fans–hey, if you hate your project that much, guess I won’t come to see it, huh?

  19. Abby says:

    Bart, I totally agree with your post. The nice girl falling for a a darker guy is as old as time, shit Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a whole series not more than 5 years ago. You can probably find similar themes in other YA books and straight to DVD movies about every year. I guess I can’t judge because I haven’t read it, but considering even people who enjoyed the book say it wasn’t that well written I really don’t get the hype at all. I am guessing it’s just a fangirl thing– every 13-17 year old girl wants a moody vampire to fall in love with and protect her from evil. Whatevs.

    Also agree about the actress- her comments make her look not only bitchy and immature (and not terribly articulate), but also that she takes herself and her ‘craft’ WAY too seriously, and considering she signed on to this trainwreck in the first place, is not only obnoxious but also laughable. All the sudden, she has standards?

  20. Magpie says:

    Bart and Abby, I agree with both of you. Even SVH (and SVU) did the vampire thing, which probably means they ripped the theme off from something else anyway.

    And if I were a fan of Twilight, comments like that from the actress would seriously make me boycott the film.

  21. Rachel says:

    Bart – I’m going to make you feel even older by saying that I wasn’t even born 18 years ago. But my library did have a whole load of late 80s and early 90s trash in it, hence how I found my way to a SVH snark website! However, the vampires I read about tended to be really stereotypical and blood-sucking, i.e. typical Celia Rees/Point Horror. So I guess that’s why the story seemed quite original to me.

    And anyway, we all have to admit that sparkling vampires aren’t the kind of thing you read about every day! 😛

  22. BartTempleton says:

    Rachel, I’m SO glad you found our way into the stash of stuff us old ones (well, not really–most of us here seem to be no older than 32-33) enjoyed in real time back in the day. I’m really curious to get a current teen’s perspective: no cell phones and no internet and “the Berlin wall has not yet fallen” aside, what do your “fresh” eyes think of SVH, Caroline B. Cooney, Richie Tankersly Cusick, Christopher Pike, etc? Does Pike freak you out and entertain you as much as he did me?

    See, in reading reviews of TWILIGHT on Amazon, I see a level of slavish devotion that I and my friends had towards our fetishes (NKOTB–but their 2008 CD is hot, peoples, seriously) back in the day. (I never felt that way about my YA fiction, though.) And then, I see teens on L.J.’s and Richie’s and Caroline’s review pages dissing their work as being “OMG NOT AS GOOD AS TWILIGHT” So, it seems as though people, whether Baby Boomer or Gen Y, really do “remember their first” in powerfully strong ways, and cling to them.

    My 29-year old self has re-read VAMPIRE DIARIES and has found it to be just as well-written and well-characterized as it was in 1991, but, even though I know my rational adult mind CAN recognize good writing when it sees it, I also ackowledge that some nostalgia has to play into my reaction…right? So, I want to read TWILIGHT, also as a 29-year old, to see if there really is a huge difference in the quality of the works (as my generation alleges) or if this disparity in reactions is largely a function of us older readers reflecting fondly on our first vamps and you younger readers expressing devotion to your generation’s own vamp sagas.

    That’s not to say that each generation’s authors do not innovate. Smith threw out the garlic, silver, nightime, coffin, and a host of other ancient vampire folklore and created vampires who chose to drink animal blood in order to avoid taking human/his girlfriend’s lifeforce (a “chastity” of sorts). I have not watched BUFFY, but I’ve read literary commentaries about the Joss Whedon’s universe, and it seems he added to the pantheon. Now, in the 2000s, from what I’ve read, Meyer has added her own vamp quirks: sparkling skin, vampire baseball, a vampire baby (I think), etc.

    Those of my age bracket want to take it all in–it’s all fodder for the imagination; I just hope today’s readers do what you do and explore a little of what came before–and do it with an open mind.

    P.S. POINT HORROR….ah, Stiney, my good friend. BTW, I’m pretty sure Celia Reese is a recent (recent to me means last 10 years) author. Wasn’t her first book about the girl with the witch ancestry–I think it came out like in 2001?

  23. Kates says:

    I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. ihatewheat, you are my hero.

    Speaking as someone just out of her teen years (by about 5 months), these books just seem to typify all the creepy relationship stereotypes that teenage girls have internalized. The fact that stalking is romantic, that chivalry is the ideal, and that the perfect guy is a guy who doesn’t like you. Gah. Makes me crazy.

    And Meyer is my enemy, but that might just be because I’m jealous that she’s gotten published and I haven’t.

  24. JustT says:

    @Kate: I’m in the same boat as you – 30, intelligent, and (though you didn’t say so) a self-identifying feminist. Bella is nails-on-chalkboard to me, but I *really* liked the books for reasons I just can’t understand or articulate.

    I would love for someone ELSE to write the Carlisle/Esme, Alice/Jasper, and Rosalie/Emmet backstories. They are the truly interesting characters in this series!

    And on the subject of YA vamps – has anyone else here read the Vampire Academy books? I love those!

  25. redb says:

    Damn, I’m 36, do I have to leave? 😉

    I LOVE the Vampire Academy series JustT. I get most of my books through the library these days but I was at the bookstore the day the third one came out. And how devastating was that ending!

    I read the first Twilight book and didn’t like it but could see the appeal. What I don’t understand, like others have mentioned, it the level of crazy love for the series.

  26. Kates says:

    Bart–That’s where I recognized Celia Rees’ name from! Witch Child and Sorceress were the names, I believe? The first one was rather predictable, but the second was pretty cool.

    And JustT–I’m def in the feminist boat. Glad to hear I’m not the only one from our generation! Don’t worry, we all have books we love despite all reason telling us not to love them.

  27. BartTempleton says:

    No, RedB, you’re actually somewhat of a hero to me.

    My goal is to normalize pop-culture obsession to the point that it will be cool when I’m 50 to still read and dissect SVH. I don’t want society in the future to look at me the way I do the TIME LIFE informercials for 1950s music (“gee, that’s sad that in the past 50 years, they haven’t discovered any new music they enjoy, and the only stuff they listen to are the hits from their teen years.”)

  28. Amber Tan says:

    “Damn, I’m 36, do I have to leave? ”

    Hells no, redb! If it makes you feel any better, I’m 37 and still love to wallow in YA books of all stripes too.

    Good plan, BT! 🙂

  29. Fraser says:

    Just saw the movie–while I know it’s not fair to judge the book, it did seem a recycling of a lot of old vampire ideas (Nick Knight and DC’s I … Vampire also did the animal blood bit).

    And I’m bored with vampires who are super-strong and super-fast. I want them turning into bats, summoning wolves and dissolving into mist, dammit!

  30. cupcake says:

    say what you want about Twilight, Mormon Vampires is a HILARIOUS premise for a book.

    I’m ashamed to say I read the series to it’s horrible ending, rife with ridiculous-but-convenient plot devices. At least it was quick enough that nobody noticed me reading them.

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