Twilight Saga

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 [sah-guh] Pronunciation KeyShow IPA Pronunciation

1. a medieval Icelandic or Norse prose narrative of achievements and events in the history of a personage, family, etc.
2. any narrative or legend of heroic exploits.
3. Also called saga novel. a form of the novel in which the members or generations of a family or social group are chronicled in a long and leisurely narrative.

Forget number one, I guess number 3 is the best application of the word saga to the books by Stephenie Meyer. In just a few weeks, I have read Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. Neither of these took me more than a day to read. As a matter of fact, I read Eclipse last night – this morning in 6 hours. They are not skinny books but they go FAST. Of course, the fourth book, Breaking Dawn, is coming out August 2.

This damn series has me irritated as hell. I have never in my life been so conflicted over a book (er books in this case). 

Bella Swan is the absolute worst role model for our young women I have read in a long time The relationship with Edward is absolutely frightening, reeking of obsession, possession, addiction, etc. Have we not seen the new stories of teenage Romeo & Juliet pacts? This is what Bella and Edward have established and I fear that most young readers are not getting that at all. I have loved strongly and lost. I am also with the absolute love of my life and what I know for an absolute fact is that it is simply nothing like Edward and Bella. There IS life after loss (even the cruelest and deepest loss) and it very much disturbs me that Stephenie Meyer has not made an attempt to show this in a direct way. 

I am hoping the author fixes this mess in Breaking Dawn. Otherwise, I just can’t recommend this series to young readers which is extremely disappointing. This is not as simple an argument as the Team Edward v. Team Jacob debates I see everywhere. This goes much deeper than that. 
There is also the complete belittlement of the human experience. If you compare the archetypes in the stories, it seems the human representative constantly loses against the superhuman representative. For example, the archetype of Father. You have Carlisle Cullen vs. Charlie Swan. Is this even a fair contest? Carlisle is ridiculously handsome, highly educated, wealthy, incredibly strong (of mind and body), intelligent, and has his life partner. Charlie Swan is portrayed as weak, dull, uneducated, and lost the love of his life– Renee (another human disaster). For the Best Friend, you have Alice vs. Angela. Again, there is no comparison. For one, Stephenie Meyer gives the reader little insight into Angela except that she is always there when Bella needs her (which is ANOTHER atrocious behavior Bella has– the abuse of her friends). Also, time spent with Angela is usually silent on Angela’s side, a quality Bella adores. I think these comparisons are completely valid and something the author intended. Notice Chalie and Carlisle both start with a C as Alice and Angela start with A. 
If the author then truly intends this to be a story of being human vs not then isn’t there only one acceptable ending in Breaking Dawn? Bella remaining human? Being human means pain. Becoming a vampire is a denial to that with the exception of the actual conversion which I believe is symbolic of the human body’s final attempt at claiming what belogs to it. In our world of non-fantasy, to escape pain is usually not a good thing (drug use, alcoholism, irresponsible sexual behavior, etc.). Bella’s insistince on becoming a vampire immediately is also rooted in all of the wrong reasons. She does not want to be physically fragile and she does not want to continue to age (god forbid reaching the relic age of 19). She is also all too willing to skip an incredible chance at a stellar education after high school. 
The vast majority of fans have made it clear that the only ending they would be happy with is Bella as vampire with Edward. It has been suggested that Stephenie Meyer would alienate her core fans if she ended the series with anything but this path. With Breaking Dawn, she has the opportunity to write a true masterpiece on the beauty that is humanity and the human experience, or she can just truly indulge complete and total fantasy (however irresponsible). Reading her interviews, it seems the story ended in Eclipse. She talks about how Bella has made the harder choice of becoming a vampire out of true love for Edward. This sets off major alarm bells for me. When you have these characters constantly reminding each other how living is simply impossible without each other, there is not really a choice.

The real shame is how fun the books are. They are fast-paced and interesting. But when you start thinking about what you are reading, they’re alarming. And I expect more from a woman with an education like Meyer’s. I have a degree in English as well. When we studied the classics like Romeo & Juliet (which she admits as a working tool in New Moon) and Midsummer Nights Dream (the one that she works into Breaking Dawn supposedly) the overwhelming consensus was that these were not true love stories. Midsummer especially is a farce of love. In Midsummer, characters are put in a SPELL that is much like what Bella experiences with Edward. Romeo & Juliet is not a love story with a tragic ending, but is a complete tragedy from start to finish. I’m really interested in Breaking Dawn, but it seems not for the reasons most people are buying the book. I want Stephenie Meyer to redeem herself as an author. Either way, I think I’ll have to write her a long letter when I’m done with Breaking Dawn (one letter short of Breaking DOWN). We’ll see if it’s a congraulations or a reprimand!


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