Ever since I first gobbled down all four books in one week in December 2008 (I almost ruined my last finals week of college – Thanks, SMeyer), I’ve been dealing with a lot of confused feelings about my TwiLove.
I’m an unabashed vampophile, but in terms of vamp cannon, Meyer’s vampires are definitely a departure in both surface elements and underlying metaphor. The books are definitely romantic, but are they romance novels? Considering that all bodice ripping takes place after an exchange of I do’s and even then tactfully out of the literary frame, I’m not so sure. Don’t even get me started on the whole issue of whether Edward is abusive, Bella is a passive bore, and Jacob is guilty of being a Nice Guy (R). Hello cognitive ambiguity!
As you can see, it’s all a very fraught subject for a hyper-analytical nutjob like me. I can’t just sit back and enjoy. I have to know! If they aren’t vampire novels…and they aren’t romance novels…what the heck are they? Why do grown up women and even feminist academics go gaga over these books? What was up with Breaking Dawn? Most importantly – what the heck do they all mean? What is the Saga trying to tell us about life, the universe, and everything (LU&E)?
With all these questions swirling around in my head, I started hunting down critical analyses of the Saga. After sifting through a lot of “Twilight is so awesome and Edward is so HAWT SQUEEEE!” and even more “Twilight is the stupidest book of all time, not that I read it to come to this is conclusion”, I found a few books and blogs that really got me thinking about the philosophy behind the Saga. This is the beginning of some posts about the latest bit of Twilosophy I’ve been reading, A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins.
Unfortunately I got my hands on this book just after I had stumbled upon a series of essays by John Granger, the Forks High School Professor, that included a serious analysis of the underlying allegories of Twilight (and Harry Potter, but that’s another post). A New Dawn really didn’t hold a candle to Granger’s work.
Instead of dealing with the question “what does Twilight tell us about LU&E?,” A New Dawn examines individual elements of the Saga and places them in context of young adult fiction, vampire cannon, the romance genre, etc. The book is written to the young adult audience specifically, so it’s very chatty and light.
I’ll be posting on each essay separately, as I’ve been informed that my posts resemble Tolstoy’s War and Peace (must be an August 28 birthday thing).