Twilight, the first in the series written by Stephanie Meyer is a romantic fantasy. Ironically, it is neither romantic nor a fantasy. The central character Bella is painfully plain as paper. Bella Swan is largely passive in her own story. A character so bland, it is abysmal that she is the protagonist. Her character is marked by being Edward’s girlfriend and constantly biting her lips. It is disheartening that Meyer didn’t bother developing her central character and make her memorable like either Katniss Everdeen from Hunger Games or perhaps Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. The language and writing style is mediocre at best. Therefore, the book is an easy read.
Bella is 17 and Edward is 104. This romance is paedophilia wrapped up in a sparkly, beautiful boy. Does he have nothing better to do other than taking calculus for the 70th time already?
Bella is in love with ethereal beauty. She says, “About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how potent that part may be—that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.”
Despite Edward repeatedly telling Bella he is a monster and to stay away from him, she doesn’t pay heed and is drawn to him like a moth to a flame. Bella sticks to his side even after he mentions he is actually very dangerous and could kill her and suck the blood out of her. If your partner wants to actually kill you, the last thing you should do is willingly go to him.
The reason Edward is attracted to Bella is because he wants to taste her blood. He wants to bite her. His favourite hobby is smelling her. He gives Bella baleful stares, looks like he smelled something bad, and disappears for weeks. When he returns, he’s suddenly interested in Bella even while keeping his distance. Once Bella figures out the truth about him, Edward tries to scare her off while also trying to bring her closer. He constantly asks her if she’s terrified of him yet later, he does something monstrous. Edward is manipulating Bella, and his inability to stay away from her ultimately hurts her more than anything.
Bella exclaims, “I couldn’t imagine anything about me that could be in any way interesting to him.” This is an actual line from the book when boring Bella meets the oh-so mysterious Edward. This sentiment by Bella is damaging to the self-esteem and self-worth of impressionable young girls. Bella should in no circumstance be made a role model for young girls. Nor should boys be led to believe that the creepy, stalking behaviour that Edward indulges in is alright.
Edward Cullen is not romantic. Period. Edward takes away Bella’s keys to her very own car, saying, “You’re intoxicated by my very presence,” whereupon she says—”There was no way around it; I couldn’t resist him in anything.” This is what we get after all the women’s’ movements. He is a pathological stalker who enters her room at night and creepily watches her sleep. She, simple-minded as she is, finds this behaviour romantic and not creepy. He essentially also follows her everywhere. Be it school, home, everywhere while claiming to keep her safe. He is a stalker not a gentleman.
Bella is essentially a damsel in distress. But Edward changes his personality towards her multiple times. He nearly threatens her life by telling her how easy it would be to kill her. Their relationship is grossly unequal. He makes it worse by controlling her in every way possible.
Bella and Edward both become co-dependent to each other. She is literally willing to give up all of her friends and family just to be with him as a vampire. This ultra-clinginess further accentuates the point that neither has any individualism. Edward is shown to be perfect, therefore, leaving no room for growth. Perfect is boring in story-telling.
Sparkly (can walk around in the sun without bursting up in flames.), vegetarian (because the vampires only feed on animal blood not human) vampires are the least of this book’s problems. Misogyny, paedophilia, naiveté and toxicity are unfortunately romanticised.
The first 150 pages can be skipped as nothing worthwhile happens. The book becomes remotely interesting when the villain (also sparkly) is introduced but ends in a disappointing anti-climactic fashion. Effectively rendering the whole book, a boring read.
If you enjoy reading, pick up another book and go ahead. Leave this non-romantic, non-fantasy alone. This genre has quite a number of fantastic female protagonists, so go ahead and read actual, fulfilling literature.
(Writer is a student at Don Bosco College and is currently pursuing BBA)