This is a post for DJCAD TBA assessments, posting an essay- about Twilight- I wrote previously. It is supporting work.
The Twilight Saga: Afternoon Delight
A Study of the Manifestation of the Teenage Identity
How has the Twilight saga manifested itself as a social icon in the minds of females?
Researched by Melynda Roy
Virginia Commonwealth University
Professor Jennifer Smith
March 21, 2012
MLA citation style
Dear Professor Smith,
Spoiler alert! If you want to read or watch any of the Twilight series, I recommend doing so before reading this paper! If not, you will already hear the whole story. That said- if you have no desire to read it, perhaps after reading this paper you will. It’s a double-edged sword, I suppose. I fell in love with the Twilight world in 2008, when the first movie was released. My friends all read a lot of books, and they had all read this book. When they went to the midnight premiere, I just went along for the ride. By the end of that night, I was hooked! I borrowed all of the books and finished the entire series within a month and anticipated the next premiere of a movie. I didn’t realize then just how much of an icon Twilight would become. In my paper I am trying to show the effect of Twilight on its fans, and that while there are some issues that should be addressed, overall the impact that Twilight has can be beneficial. David McCullough claims, “There's an awful temptation to just keep on researching. There comes a point where you just have to stop, and start writing.” This temptation happened to me upon my research, I picked a topic I was interested in, and when I was researched my interest only grew. I have so much information and thoughts that it was very hard to organize them into a paper in a way that made sense, I wasn’t even able to express everything I feel and understand about this series and the fans and my research! Unfortunately, in my thesis I think I am trying to say too much all at once, and while I think my essay is portraying most of what I want to say correctly, I have a hard time narrowing it down to one sentence, and because of this I have a four sentence thesis which I feel is pretty weak as separate parts. The strongest part of my essay is the part about Parkin’s research where I speak about petitions. I believe this is strong because it establishes how dedicated fans are, which makes everything in my paper concrete and relevant.
Over the semester my writing has changed because I really didn’t consistently make claims throughout an essay, I would make a claim and then just use evidence the rest of the way. With this essay, I constantly made claims that made my whole paper more of an argument. The part of this that I am struggling with is how to relate back to the overall thesis. This is one weak point in my essay, but I think I improved it a lot, at least from the half draft. I learned that in research, especially a pop-culture topic, you can’t always find exactly what you’re looking for and your paper could take a new direction because of this. I learned that just because something is new, doesn’t mean that it is hard to research.
I did a lot of work outside of class; I went to the Writing Center several times and I have been working with Amanda. A few friends at home and here at VCU proofread and edited for me. I UTA for UNIV 112, and I think that helps me because I have the constant reminders of last year’s teachings to pair with this course. At the beginning of the semester, I was not worried about writing a long paper, as I had written some of this length before. To me, the hardest part was actually the source analyses! (but mostly because of the number of these we had to do in so little time). The source analyses were more of a challenge to time management than the actual paper was. I think we could have spent more time with those and less on the paper, but that could just mean I worked extra hard on the SAs since all of mine were single spaced, unfortunately. This gave 3-4 pages of leeway to alter my essay, and I deleted 4 pages. It is pretty close to the word count now, a little over! But, I hope that you will enjoy all 16 pages! --Melynda
The Twilight Saga: Afternoon Delight
A study of the manifestation into the teenage identity
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, the latest released movie of the saga, grossed worldwide sales of $707,058,657 as of April 3rd, 2012. The original Twilight has made $192,769,854 to date. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is the highest grossing movie to date for the saga, released in 2010, making $300,531,751. Perhaps a more familiar series will allow you to decipher this amount. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the last and most popular movie in this series, released in 2011, grossed a lifetime amount of $381,011,219 (“Box Office Mojo”). The latest Twilight movie made nearly double that of the last movie of Harry Potter, bringing Twilight to the forefront of media directed to teens and young adults. This brings in perspective on just how many dedicated fans there are to this series. Is Twilight just harmless entertainment? Some parents and families may pass it off as just that; however critics suggest that the series is actually harmful to its adolescent readers.
In this essay I will investigate how the Twilight saga manifested itself as a social icon in the minds of females, and ultimately, how this affects these individuals. Fans of this saga are of a wide array of ages, however most are adolescent females. Twilight raises issues of sexuality, gender roles, and spirituality. Adolescents read Twilight and incorporate it as a part of their self-identity in their time of metamorphosis, which changes social norms! The Twilight obsession has been growing since Little, Brown and Company released the first novel in 2005. It adapted from four books into a series of five films mirroring the story. It will continue to cultivate fans until the after the fifth and final movie is released in the fall of 2012. The teenagers affected now will have this part of their identity existing their whole lives. Its strong presence in the media further immerses the fans that incorporate it as part of their identity. Twilight has manifested itself into the lives of high-school teenagers because of its character’s and the use of psychological tools, emotional appeal to the lives of these girls, and because of literary devices. Critics believe there is a problem with such a controversial story, especially in regards to anti-feminist messages, abusive relationships, and overt sexuality, filling teenage minds. I believe that the controversies are not that bad; they may help, rather than harm, these young fans because it enables young adults to explore their own desires. This essay will cover the psychology of fan bases, as individuals interacting with the text, literary style and choices, as well as an analysis of the characters that allow teenagers to relate to the text so well.
Bella, the main character in Twilight, easily draws teenagers in. She herself is a teenager, and constantly wishes to explore a world outside her own (Murphy 61) like most teenagers do, as they distance themselves from their parents while they grow up. Murphy explains a main theme in Twilight: “the consequence of choice and the value of relationships…there must be true love ever present, or the ‘good guys’ will lose” (Murphy 64). Teenagers branch out on their own and they learn about relationships, and make choices and face consequences. This commonality makes these characters more relatable.
A further relation formed between the teenagers and the characters is set because of the stage of life these teens are in. Bonovitz, an experienced New York psychologist, explains adolescence in three modes, or stages, of time. He explains that “Loewald’s (1972) notion of time as a ‘linking activity’ speaks to this connection between the past, present and future, keeping the past alive while simultaneously opening up possibility and choices in the moment and a vision of who one might become in the future” (Bonovitz 140). This elaborates on the decision Bella made to become a vampire, though it wasn’t until the fourth book that it was executed. She said that this decision was about “who I should be, and who I am” (Eclipse 2010).
A common goal of teenagers is to take control of their life and their bodies, but this is made difficult as teen’s bodies are constantly transforming. The vampiric transformation is not the only one in the series, McGeough elaborates and examines Bella’s three “bodies.” Bella’s body is in constant transition. Being in adolescence, her body already has many transformations that are taking place; Bella moves to a new town, she experiences her first love, first desires, aging, and the transformations necessary for a pregnancy. Transformations usually translate to pain. Pain is what enables learning about oneself through the body. Her most painful transition was when she turned into a vampire; in the end she becomes what she considers to be perfect. This tells the audience that women can grow to love their bodies, once they understand that they are not easily controlled. Transformation allows for growth. After all of Bella’s changes, life threats, and utter chaotic life, Meyer contrasts the imperfect struggle by stabilizing Bella as an unchanging vampire. Bella is the one who makes this decision, taking the ultimate control of her own body. This is the goal of teenagers; taking control of their body, and ultimately, their life.
The main characters of Twilight are in transformations similar to the types of changes the adolescent readers themselves will be experiencing. This has an appeal that creates a large fan base, which, with the help of the Internet, is very active. There are different types of fans, not all are crazy fanatics. Some may just simply enjoy the books because they relate to them; but some people get pretty crazy. A fandom is created by a plethora of different types of fans. There are fanatics, and anti-fanatics; Twilight has gathered quite a few on either side of this spectrum. The differences within a fandom are a “performative, psychological action that differs according to person, fandom, and generation” (Sheffield and Merlo 209). Fanatics and Anti-fans are similar in that they both have different levels of engagement, and they span all the way from “normal” to crazy, too. There are three “rhetorical strategies” that are used by anti-fans of Twilight (Sheffield and Merlo 210). The first strategy utilized is mockery, the second is critique, and the third is negotiation (Sheffield and Merlo 210). Anti-fans use these strategies to place themselves superior to Twilight fans. The mocking fans typically just demean Twilighters, referring to them as rabid unsafe animal-like beings (Sheffield and Merlo 211). These antis will also directly target Meyer, directly insulting or critiquing her. These antis are more focusing on “media coverage and fan visibility” rather than on the text itself (Sheffield and Merlo 211). The antis who critically analyze Twilight seem to be paid more attention to. These people have at least taken the time to read the text and interact with it, giving merit to their judgments. Typical critiques include Meyer’s underdeveloped writing style (which includes repetition, predictability, and just boring writing in general), and the anti-feminist messages within the plot line (Sheffield and Merlo 211). An anti-fan created one argument where the unrealistic dialogue for the characters within the series was criticized. While some teenagers may have a large vocabulary, these teenagers would not be the “terribly average” characters portrayed throughout the series (Sheffield and Merlo 213). This fan is one of many involved on an anti-Twilight fan site. There are many pro-Twilight sites, and there is about an equal amount of anti-Twilight sites. The active fan base against the series proves that this series really is making an impact on society.
Whether to live by it or to live fighting it, why have all these people incorporated Twilight as such a huge part of their life? The characters are in similar stages of the reader’s life, but with so many novels written about teens for teens, why does this one stand out? Because Twilight challenges ‘correct’ norms and readers can use this literature as an outlet for exploration of their transitioning bodies.
One trending norm of today’s society is being equal in sexes and sexuality. Twilight raises concern because of the inequality of Bella and Edward’s relationship, as well as heterosexual (and Mormon) messages. Mukerjea, a sociologist and anthropologist, explained: “The anti-feminist and homophobic principles that I see behind these ideals” concerned her only because of the large and diverse fan-base, and how this may influence their “notions of what is or is not acceptable behavior” (Mukerjea 82). Through her research, Mukerjea found that the adolescents who read the series are able to “indulge and explore important desires and personal boundaries” in a secure outlet (Mukerjea 82), which seems less harmful than helpful. Edward’s seemingly controlling behavior to fans isn’t a problem; in fact, regardless of orientation, the relationship or bond that Bella and Edward have is desirable by all. The masculine role is very protective and authoritative, but at the same time he is very dangerous, creating this juxtaposition that many find to be the thrilling, prime allure to this relationship. There is an admirable amount of maturity on Edward’s part, especially represented in his self-control, and being a trustworthy man of his word.
Teenagers may not realize the flaws in Meyer’s work because they become so engaged with the story. The high immersion levels found in Behm-Morawitz, Click, and Aubrey’s study on the fans of Twilight further suggests just how much these teenagers are incorporating Twilight into their lives. “Immersion in a media text, what scholars have called ‘transportation’ entails the ability to vividly imagine characters and settings and the degree to which one becomes emotionally involved in and completely absorbed by the narrative” (qtd in Behm-Morawitz, Click, and Aubrey 143). In Twilight, The immersion level is high for all readers. Women compare themselves to the novel in lines of romance, judging their “current and future relationships” and living out different identities within the text (Behm-Morawitz, Click, and Aubrey 141). The data that Behm-Morawitz, Click, and Aubrey collected lead to several conclusions. Self-identified feminists were generally less engaged than non-feminists, but most were still “transported” (145). Adults fans were affected by relationship status; teenage fans showed no correlations. This is likely due to young women have not yet been in a serious relationship like their mature counterparts. Feminists were less likely to want an Edward and Bella type relationship. The Carlisle and Esme type, as well as the Alice and Jasper type, relationship had admiration from those who were the most satisfied with their real-life relationships. These relationships are more egalitarian, both parties in the relationship made decisions, protected and helped one another; as opposed to the unbalance of Edward controlling his relationship with Bella. Women who were less satisfied in their real-life relationships do want an Edward and Bella type relationship, which raises the question: is Twilight the cause or effect? Or put simply, do these women want the Edward Bella relationship because they were already dissatisfied with their current relationship, or are they dissatisfied with their own relationship after engaging with the text because they realize a vampire would make a better boyfriend? This is not a question easily measured; however each reader is different, and there would likely be both relationships where it is the cause, as well as some that is the effect.
Twilight grew expectations, and upon straying from the fans’ ideation of Twilight’s destiny, they turn their surprise, aggression, and/or disappointment to the Internet. Parkin, who earned her M.A. in Children’s Literature from Kansas State University, explains that fans use the Internet, more specifically- fan sites, to interact with each other and with the author of the series, Meyer. This type of communication “transforms interpretation, and empowers readers” (Parkin 61). Within these websites, fans and Meyer actually exchange ownership of the novel. The intimacy fans experience online with each other, the author, and the text explain these problems as Sheffield and Merlo explain: “Audience position relative to a text are discursive: close readers, fans, anti-fans, and non-fans rhetorically construct, shift among, and redefine the text to which they are responding” (210).
First of all, Meyer gets mixed responses about the heroine of Twilight. Bella, according to some fans, is an anti-feminist character. Meyer responds by explaining that her value of feminism is women making their own decisions. Bella is a female, and she plays the main role in a romance novel. Women readers dominate this genre, which is a feminist act in itself. Regardless if the fans think that she makes the wrong or right choice, Bella makes her own decisions. They were Bella’s own choices made right for her. Meyer loses fans on this argument because of one of Breaking Dawn’s critical scenes: Bella’s birthing scene. When her baby breaks her spine, Edward acts quickly and changes Bella into a vampire, thus taking away her life. She became a vampire to avoid death, but Edward made this decision for her while she was on her deathbed. However, Bella had been begging to become a vampire since the first book of the saga, Twilight. So while Edward may have made the decision to begin the transformation in that moment, Bella made this decision a long time before her labor. Another part of Breaking Dawn that upsets fans is the very happy ending. Throughout the series, Bella makes choices and sacrifices and ultimately deals with a lot of pain. Thus, to continue the tradition, fans expected Bella to make an ultimate, hard decision in the last novel and encounter a lot of pain as a consequence. In all actuality, Bella choosing Edward does not make her lose Jacob, giving birth to her baby does not make her die, fighting the Volturi is pain free and loss free, and she ends up having a family she wanted. She is able to fight her bloodlust and ultimately has a perfect ending, a ‘happily ever after.’
Since Bella did not have to give up anything, fans felt betrayed. Not as betrayed, it seems, as when Bella got pregnant in the first place. Meyer had to go online and biologically explain how this was possible for Bella to give birth to a half-vampire, half-human. Ultimately fans felt let down because the online discussions they had shared with Meyer before left them believing that it was impossible, and throughout the series fans felt no preparation for this moment. Prior experiences that these fans had with the text will create a notion of what the future text should be (Parkin 64), and Breaking Dawn doesn’t match up with the world these fans envisioned. One main problem with Breaking Dawn is that it doesn’t follow real world logic, nor does it follow the Twilight world logic. This one flaw disengaged the readers from the series. This is significant because it proves just how accepting they are of the world until this point, the pivotal scene in the last book.
Meyer’s fan base is ultimately trying to control the world of Twilight. Parkin describes Twilight as existing “between competing fan interpretations and prescribed authorial intent” (81). Not only are there arguments about the logistics of having sex with a vampire, and creating a vampire baby (I find it interesting in these discussions that nobody bothers to mention the reality of having a vampire walking among us, anyway), but there are legal petitions online to convince Meyer that she must finish Midnight Sun, and that she owes it to her fans. Midnight Sun is a novel that would have been paired with Twilight. Basically, Meyer retells the story of the Twilight saga through the eyes of Edward instead of Bella (and in turn readers get a lot more insight into characters, since Edward reads minds). Meyer began writing this novel, and then it got leaked on the Internet. Of course, fans devoured it; however Meyer felt betrayed. Since she no longer felt alone with the writing, she could not finish it. Meyer wrote Midnight Sun in order to take ownership over her world again. It would have offered insight to characters, situations, and the overall reality of Twilight the way she intended. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: an Eclipse Novella was a way to redirect the realisms of Meyer’s world, while still trying to suffice her fans from what they felt was lacking in Breaking Dawn. Clearly, this action was not enough. There is little support for Meyer: the few fans who identify themselves as writers say they understand the emotional reciprocation of such an act, but overall that is not nearly enough. The right these fans feel they have to Meyer’s intellectual property is truly a problem, but it likely derives from the increased interaction on the Internet.
Further reasoning suggests that the infatuation with Twilight may not solely be based on the series itself, but on the genre in general. Vampire narratives have existed and remained popular for a long time. Melissa Ames gave a generalized explanation of how Twilight relates to other vampire narratives: “Vampire narratives are often a reflection of their contemporary time, the political landscape,… and stumbling points of movements- such as feminism” (39). Overall vampire literature has two types of women depicted. In Dracula, there was the aggressive, inhuman, exotic “child-eating vampire woman” (qtd by Demetrako in Ames 43). The other type was the feminist heroine, but feminine in the new sense; she played an alternative role to motherhood. She acted as the antithesis to destructive character (Ames 44). Another vampire literature researcher, Auerbach, suggests that when women represent these demons or some sort of terrible evil, like eating babies in vampire narratives, it depicts “ ‘patriarchal fears about women’s increasing social & sexual autonomy’ ” (qtd in Ames 44). She elaborates even more on the audience, not just the text, saying that these narratives are the “space to tease out problems of gender and sexuality… [Although it does not] necessarily resolve such issues…” since it often reappears again in later literature (Ames 45), such as in Twilight.
Vampires are like a virus in mainstream culture because it helps individuals work through problems of sexuality. Furthermore, people remain hooked on vampires because the literature has the ability to mutate. As explained before, Meyer adds a subspecies and modern references. Murphy compares vampires and viruses. Twilight manifested itself in society with a “media virus” (Murphy 63). The base of the medical metaphor is that every year the flu hits like an epidemic, and each year it continues to happen because it mutates and can re-infect the population. An example of today’s virus lays in the media’s portrayal; promotion of text in mainstream media involves: “love, passion, desire,” and “happily ever after” (Murphy 63).
New-age vampires, like Angel from “Buffy and the Vampire Slayer” and Edward from Twilight, are no longer scary and violent. "Vampires are the new standard for perfect romance" (Murphy 56). These creatures paired with fairy-tale storylines keep the women interested: and these stories go viral. They now protect, care for, seduce, and don’t eat us: “replacing fear with desire” (Murphy 57). They are chivalrous in mind and action and self-sacrificing for love, qualities that most women wouldn’t reject. The thing about fairy tales is there is a common story line. It is governed by female desire, and it usually has a female point of view (Murphy 60). Prince Charming is a vampire and instead of slaying dragons he is fighting the Volturi. Murphy quotes Bettelheim about one of the purposes of the fairytale, to “take existential anxieties and dilemmas very seriously and address itself directly to them: the need to be loved and the fear that one is thought worthless; (sic) the love of life and fear of death” (qtd in Murphy 60). Clearly Twilight’s main character, Bella, exemplifies this purpose since her new boyfriend is a vampire. He is dangerous, and she encounters many life-threatening situations. But his protective and caring nature matches the identity of the common Prince Charming. Edward is like Prince Charming, continually developed from previous vampire characters. Bella more perfectly represents the damsel in distress of fairytale literature, seeking a world outside of her own (Murphy 61). Fairytales are often successful because of their overall theme of love conquering all. Many other researchers agree that Twilight follows the basic structure of a typical fairytale. But since the book doesn’t just end when Edward and Bella marry, it sets this story apart from other fairytales, and its nineteenth-century precedents (like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, and Wuthering Heights), and takes them to a new level. “Meyer writes about the romance of family and the human need for connection and community” (Silver 127).
Choices made in the Twilight saga are the main controversy. Silver writes from the University of Texas, her concern is that children and teenagers may read this story and accept the values and morals without giving them much thought. The story is created to teach young men and women who are forming their identity “how to live what the author believes is a virtuous, moral, and meaningful life” (Silver 124). Choices the characters make throughout the saga later define their identity, and if these choices are moral, by Meyer’s standards, how does that affect teens from others’ standpoint? Teens are the most vulnerable with issues of identity since they are in a metamorphic stage of their own life. Meyer’s story suggests that instead of the teenager transitional stage happening as a branch out from parents, the identity is formed from the family.
The characters in Twilight allow readers to explore one’s own desire while being immersed in the book. It is easy to compare this type of immersion in the book to other “classic” novels like Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights. While the author and actual language is not as rich or experienced as Brontë, Meyer uses a lot of the same literary techniques. Anastasiu writes about a psychological literary technique called super-ego and id. Anastasiu claims that Twilight manages to captivate its audience because of the way Meyer uses the psychological technique of conscious identity. A conscious identity (or ego) is created with id, the unconscious darker side of the mind, and super-ego is how you control the id (Anastasiu 41). Both of the main characters in Twilight experience the tug of war between the two, causing a transformation of identity. This is a common mythological theme, which allows the audience to “gratify” (Anastasiu 53) their fantasies, reflect and renew themselves. This relay of super-ego and id is very relatable to teenagers undergoing many of the same conflicting feelings. Readers project themselves into the characters, in situations, mannerisms; they interpret their own “unconscious fears and desires” in the novel without consciously recognizing them, “resulting in gratification” (Anastasiu 49). There is no way for others or society to judge them, no need to feel embarrassed by certain interests or explorations. Campbell explains that incidents present in mythology, though “fantastic and ‘unreal’, represent psychological, not physical, triumphs… [The hero’s] journey is inward-into depths where obscure resistances are overcome, and long lost, forgotten powers are revivified” (qtd by Anastasiu 47). Therefore, this is reflects on the readers. Readers re-create their identity in the text, projecting their 'own characteristic patterns of desire and adaptation. They interact with the work, making it a part of their own psychic economy and making themselves part of the literary work' (Holland qtd by Anastasiu 49). Myths were used to help cross a “threshold” or make a “transformation” of conscious or unconscious mind. This is probably why so many teenagers are obsessed with the book; the characters are amidst a transformation, a metamorphosis easily translated into one’s own metamorphosis from child to adult. Another part of adolescent transition typically includes sexual exploration. Meyer uses this unnatural union between human and vampire to speak about something natural: sex. Sex is a theme throughout the saga and a large part of Bella’s transition into adulthood.
Anastasiu seems to argue that Twilight isn’t all bad; it can be used as an outlet for the writer and the readers. For girls, Twilight can address some issues about sexuality, romance, and the “safety and security” Edward provides (Anastasiu 52). Girls must both be sexy, but not have sex, in order to get respect. With sex in the media, and many different pressures, teenage girls are receiving many conflicting messages. Bella is a form of resistance to popular culture, with an imperfect body and strong sexual female character. Bonovitz explains the adolescent time span in these stages, elaborating on the action mode that “mirrors the press and urgency of the adolescent’s rapidly changing physiology and burgeoning sexuality, with the aim of exploring and gradually taking ownership of one’s body in relation to the outside world (Bonovitz 133). Today’s technology integrates into teenager’s life at the action stage, time moves faster with texting, tweeting, online chatting, “all in real time, without delay or even the slightest pause” (Bonovitz 133). The fast pace among other social pressures and bodily wonders make the adolescent want to separate from their family. Puberty takes over and changes the body, often maturing faster than the mind (Bonovitz 134). The impulses of the body take over, making decisions and leaving the mind to be the “reflective eye” that watches it happen (Bonovitz 134). “Immediate yet brief contact” with others through modern day technology restrains the “need for holding or containing a thought or reflection” (Bonovitz 134). Girls are more specifically susceptible to these impulses, and they can at least experience some of this in Twilight. Bonovitz refers to Sarah, an old patient of his that used to be obsessed with Twilight. In their sessions, Sarah did end up spilling a story of her recent party, a party where she hooked up with a guy after this “moment” of connection, reacting to the immediacy and impulses of her body, and leaving the mind to catch up later. She recalled that she was “really enjoying the adventure of it all” (Bonovitz 139). The timeless mode is for teenagers to experiment with their sexuality and develop a “capacity for intimacy and attachment” (Bonovitz 140).
Ames points out one dangerous and controversial part about Breaking Dawn and its effect on fan; when Bella and Edward finally have sex. While the action details are left to the imagination (truly adding more of a sex appeal), the details of the aftermath are disturbing. Bella is physically hurt, and feels guilty about this. Ames elaborates: “In this case, despite their marital status, sexual intercourse is still dangerous (emphasis in original). Also, Bella’s self blame for the injuries she obtained… sounds similar to rape victims who blame themselves for being assaulted after the fact” (Ames 41). This isn’t the way she is supposed to feel, which is why she was concerned that this was a focal point for many readers.
The contradictions and controversies of Twilight make it a dynamic read, but they exist for a purpose; “To arouse longing in readers but, at the same time, to instruct how and why those longings must be contained and controlled” (Mukerjea 82). Which is the goal that is assumed by Meyer and her Mormon principles. The arousal art may be another reason why teenagers are so addicted; they can read without feeling embarrassed because nothing actually does happen.
Vampire narratives tend to be popular because they allow readers to have an outlet for their anxieties. Twilight’s Fans are mostly young women who directly relate to the characters and fall in love because of the romance-based plot, and the female gaze. While Meyer is critiqued often about her writing style and supposed anti-feminist views, Twilight fans obsession continues to grow, and interactions and discussions of strengths and weaknesses, especially online, remain heated. The adolescents are beginning to incorporate Twilight as a part of their identity, and if their new ideas consist of anti-feminist views, un-advanced literature, and unstable relationships, it could be problematic to their future. On the contrary, “Charles Saarland says, ‘The research evidence… uncovers a complex picture of the young seeking ways to take control over their own lives, and using the fiction that they enjoy as one element in that negotiation of cultural meaning and value’” (qtd in Silver 137). Twilight is a good guide for teenagers; they recognize similar problems in their own lives and may be lead to better decisions. This part of society using Twilight to explore sexuality and relieve tensions that go along with adolescence isn’t that bad. Like a child having an imaginary friend, it’s a way to release inhibitions. A common ‘phase’ for children, fans use the Twilight fantasy world as their new emotional outlet. How has the Twilight saga manifested itself as a social icon in the minds of females? After reviewing some research, the general answer found is that there is a collection of theories. Overall, a fantasy based, romantic, vampire literature book focused on the female gaze and controversial subjects combined with great marketing generates enough media attention to be unavoidable to teenagers, who are bombarded by the media every day. The choices then are for the reader to actively engage in this popular text and use their experiences with it as a positive experience for their own development.
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