Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Twilight Tuesday 4

I wanted to switch from taking about the romantic aspects of Twilight to the use of power and respect.  You won’t find much romance in the popular youth fiction that is geared toward young men (Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc).  You will, however, find these same themes of who has respect/power and how they use it. 
The heroine of the Twilight series is an amazingly self-sufficient young girl.  Bella is the parent in her relationship with both her mom and her dad.  She protects them from themselves as much as she does from her vampire friends.  She cooks and cleans for them and seems to never really need anything from her parents.  Bella has the emotional maturity to be self-sacrificing for her mother’s needs and her father’s physical safety.   In the family hierarchy, she is above their concerns.  Bella’s parents respect her maturity and rely on her more than they know. 
Getting into action and danger of the series, Bella is put in the predicament of having to protect her father or mother from marauding vampires on several different occasions.  Bella’s methods are to keep her family in the dark about what is going on by giving them half truths and in one case, brutally lying to her father in such a way as to intentionally cause him great pain.  Bella’s scheme to keep her father out of danger is to shield him from a truth he couldn’t handle (but she can) and lie to him.   She also tells him a lie that is meant to cause him enough hurt that he will not follow her.  This is a wonderful example of love and parent/child roles!  Ok, maybe not but compare this to Edward’s coven family, who is on the adventures, can empathize with her, and can protect her.    
Bella’s peers are either beguiled by her beauty, wisdom, and maturity or they envy it.  Adults in the series do not fare much better.  Bella is isolated physically and emotionally from her family and peers at the same time that she is drawn into an ideal family (complete with a cranky older sister). 
Another key theme of power in the series centers around the second book in which Bella is in such a depressed state she can’t even contemplate suicide because that would mean she was alive enough to think about ending her life.  I am frankly surprised, but encouraged, not to see “Edwardesque” rehabilitation and recovery centers opening up for teens who become walking zombies when their true love leaves them.  Bella’s depression is a heart-wrenching challenge to her dad and to Jacob, and her emotional state controls those around her. 
In short, the adults in this series hold no power while the youth in the story are in complete control.  I suppose you could argue that the hundred-year-old vampires are adults, but with their eternal youth and perpetual high school careers they get grouped with the younger crowd.  Respect is not earned; you are either born with it or bitten into it. 

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