The Twilight Series took the world by surprise. A book empire invoked by a Mormon mother’s dream has stolen the hearts of teeny boppers, their older sisters, and their mothers since 2005. The books include Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. “By early 2010, these novels had sold a staggering 85 million copies and translation rights for fifty countries…” (Clarke and Osborn 3). However, the Twilight phenomenon did not merely end with a series of books. The Twilight empire has expanded with blockbuster movie hits and merchandise goods including everything from T-shirts, figurines, and underwear. However, not everyone is so enthusiastic about the Twilight Series.
One of the most popular criticisms of the book series is directed toward the author herself. Stephanie Meyer, simply stated, is not a great writer. Renowned and seasoned writer Stephen King once commented on the skills of Meyer, stating that she “can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good” (Clarke and Osborn 5). However, Meyer was a housewife made celebrity nearly overnight. Many first novels go unpublished, but her story was published and read by millions. Although her writing is not the most eloquent, it is important to remember that she was not a trained or seasoned writer to begin with. She merely turned a dream into a book.
Another aspect of the Twilight argument involves a religious and spiritual aspect. Although the author herself is of Mormon faith, the only representation of spiritual morality throughout the series is the portrayal of sexual abstinence before marriage. Besides, this moral feature is weak on the premise that it, “inverts messages about sex through Edward and Bella’s relationship” (Kim). Moreover, the primary spiritual concern revolves around the fact that the main character, Bella, sacrifices her soul in order to become a vampire.
Furthermore, the character Bella not only sells her soul to vampires, but she is painted as a hapless victim throughout the series. On numerous occasions Bella finds herself in helpless circumstances needing a savior to bail her out. Of course this is a favorite argument among feminists and mothers. The gender roles that Meyer portrays in her novels are disturbing at best. “Bella suffers from low self-esteem and seemingly has no close friends except for Edward, his family, and Jacob, a suitor-turned-werewolf…” (Silver).
Not only is Bella painted as a helpless and silly girl, but her vampire boyfriend, Edward, is nothing but a glorified stalker. The series reveals unhealthy relationships in a twisted romantic and unrealistic light. The books send confusing messages about relationships and gender roles. According to Silver, “Edward, these critics claim, is frequently controlling and domineering” (Silver). He spies on Bella throughout the day, and creepily watches her sleep at night. A dominant and overbearing male character, who eventually steals the young girl’s soul, is ultimately depicted as a hero, a savior. One mother commented, “I find the message to young girls disturbing. That love is an irresistible force that precludes making any rational decisions. That it’s OK (even noble) to sacrifice your personal safety if you ‘really’ love someone” (Silver).
The Twilight books have been popular among the crowds for many years. However arguments revolve around the skill of the author, the religious aspects, as well as disturbing gender roles and unhealthy relationships. All in all, these books bite.
Clarke, Amy M. and Marijane Osborn. The Twilight Mystique: Critical Essays on the Novels and Films. USA: McFarland, 2010. Print.
Kim. Bite Me! Literary Criticism of Twilight. 3 February 2009. http://www.sophisticateddorkiness.com/2009/02/bite-me-literary-criticism-of-twilight/. 29 April 2013.
Silver, Anna. “Twilight is Not Good for Maidens: Gender, Sexuality, and the Family in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Series.” Studies in the Novel (2010): 121-138 . Print.