The Imaginary Heroine

searching for the plot

A New Dawn part 2: “The Good Girl Always Goes for the Bad Boy” by Megan McCafferty March 3, 2010

[Part of a series discussing the essays in A New Dawn edited by Ellen Hopkins. These posts may contain spoilers about all four Twilight novels and Midnight Sun.]

This was a fun essay about how the popular trope “good girl + bad boy = LUV4EVA” is used in Twilight both traditionally when Bella falls for Edward and then inverted when Bella wants to have sex with and be bitten by Edward and he resists.

“In one of the most amusing passages in the whole series, Bella says, “you make me feel like a villain in a melodrama-twirling my mustache while I try to steal some girl’s virtue.” To which Edward replies, “I had no right to want you-but I reached out and took you anyway. And now look what has become of you. Trying to seduce a vampire.”

McCafferty writes engagingly about her own bad boy crush in high school and how the old trope doesn’t always (ever?) play out in real life. On the heels of an essay that contemplates whether or not Edward is a sociopath, it seems like a subtle hint about just how seriously one should take Twilight as a dating guide. Which is to say, not at all.

Following my own post about Edward’s sociopathic and abusive tendencies, I feel kind of silly asking the question:

Is Edward really a bad boy?

...whatevs

This is the only vaguely bad@$$ Edward pic out there...

I know you’re thinking “WTF, mate? A little consistency here!” But truly, as bad boys go, Edward is kind of lame. You know, if you put aside the whole killed lots of people and wants to drink Bella’s blood thing.

He’s unfailingly polite, never swears, tries to save everyone and their Auntie Mildred from danger, and studies Shakespeare and concert piano all night while his family have hot vampire boinkfests. He has been a virgin for 100 years, people, saving it all for THE ONE to whom he would pledge his undying love and devotion. I guess I’m sort of ruined by the actual bad boy Edward from Wide Awake. Now there’s a proper bad boy with a potty mouth, a history of arrests, and an intimacy problem a mile wide.

Just like I never really fancied myself in love with Edward, I don’t think I’ve ever had a real crush on a real bad boy. Maybe I found them attractive in fiction (see above re: Edward in Wide Awake and also Eric in the Southern Vampire Series), but acting like an asshole never seemed as adorable in real life as it did in print or on a screen. Even in my pseudo-punk phase, I always liked nice boys. What can I say? I’m a sucker for that whole decent human being with a subtle whiff of mental health routine.

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One Response to “A New Dawn part 2: “The Good Girl Always Goes for the Bad Boy” by Megan McCafferty”

  1. natalie wilson Says:

    Well, for a Mormon vamp, he is KINDA bad. But he is hardly a James Dean rebel…


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