Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sister Mary Martha on Twilight

My opinion is that the Twilight books are as much the occasion for over-analysis as the "Lost" series. So two insights I've recently found are refreshing. The first is Sr. Mary Martha's "To Hell in a Handcart" post, for both content:

It's still about romance, isn't it? And isn't romance, in novels, all about sexual tension? And then on top of that the guy is a vampire, which is an evil thing that lives forever by drinking the blood of others. Unless he stays out too late and the sun turns him to dust.

At least he has a curfew.

At least he can't loll around on the beach.


There is just no "upside" to reading "Twilight" that I can see. It really isn't just a fun fantasy book, as I imagine Harry Potter to be. It's a creepy temptation. A teen titillation.

...and context:

I am not one to run around with my hair on fire, crying out that the youth of today are going to hell in a handcart. They may be doing just that, but that is the nature of youth of every generation. Each generation has it's own handcart, is all. We still have to get them out of it.
That's why I think I'm going to have to read it. Ugh. Because the other thing they like to do, is be critical of whatever everyone else likes. They love nothing more than to think something is "stupid". I think I can light that fuse. Once you poke a hole in the story, they descend on it like vultures, tearing it apart. And once they think it's stupid, we've won.

The other insight is the comment from Katie O on the same page:

There's been a quote circulating on the internet lately that says, "Harry Potter is about confronting fears, finding inner strength, and doing what is right in the face of adversity, Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend."



  1. you're a guy, you don't get it.

    this series (and I haven't read it or seen any movie) makes a lot of sense to me. romantic relationships are fraught with danger for girls now ... they always have been of course because, well, you could get pregnant, but now boys remain adolescents for so long (often forever), sex is expected so soon, and there are big chunks of the country where getting married and starting a family in one's 20's is nearly impossible to do financially or professionally...the impossibility, even danger, of romantic love strikes me as a very real issue for young women, and this series articulates those tensions profoundly. (from what I know of it anyway) and the way these issues are aired is probably a huge relief for them. not to mention, thwarted love is a timeless issue -- see Shakespeare.

    many times, celibate clergy chiming in on romantic issues are not terribly helpful...I'd say this is one of those instances.

  2. No clergy made a comment. Nuns are not clergy.

    I do appreciate your point, though, not about celibate people, but about why the series is so popular. I'm sure you're onto something here.

  3. yeah, spare me the snark, please. I have little kids and my comments are made off the cuff. Maybe celibate people don't quite know how that works, either. I guess we can all take correction now and again.

  4. Only know about the movies. Haven't seen one, but it's impossible to live in America without knowing about 'em. :)

    IMHO, the male leads are girly-men. And preteen girls, for some reason, love girly-men. Very pretty girly-men. A colleague who majored in psychology tells me it's because girly-men look like, well, girls, and that's safe and non-threatening for preteens who are just sort of edging into adolescence. Sounds good to me.

    Mix the girly-men appeal with the dark/brooding/supernatural/dangerous/big-R Romantic appeal, and you've got a perfect recipe for preteen obsession.

    When I was 11, I read (and swooned over) Wuthering Heights. Basically the same formula, just a lot better written. :)

  5. btw, "Sister", I think it's a little creepy that you pretend to be a nun in comment boxes as well as your blog.


  6. Diane,

    And preteen girls, for some reason, love girly-men. Very pretty girly-men.

    I always noticed and wondered about that myself. I was never into any of the girly-man teen idols, but I had friends who were. One of my best friends had a scrapbook with like 800 Leif Garrett pictures. The guy did nothing for me -- I thought his music sucked and that he looked like a girl.

    Your friend's explanation sounds about right to me, too.

    I've never seen the Twilight movies, but I do confess to having the entire *Forever Knight* series on DVD. :-)