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All That Glitters Is Not Gold: Twilight and Its Negative Impact on Society

      Books are powerful.  The thoughts and ideas that mankind has chosen to craft into words and preserve upon paper have shaped the human race into what it is today, be they as widely influential as The Bible or The Origin of Species or as seemingly unimportant as Fahrenheit 451 or The Great Gatsby.  However, while literature has a remarkable capacity for good, certain works can also prove to be very detrimental to the society that we live in, especially those that target and corrupt our children and our future.  One such work of sin is Stephenie Meyer's fantasy novel Twilight, which details the love story of a sparkling vampire and a rather incompetent teenage girl.  It has become a bestseller in the United States and is making ground worldwide, presiding over an audience that canvases all ages and sexes.  While the negative aspects of its widespread popularity may seem limited to the rare instance of fangirls instigating a riot or rupturing the eardrums of passerby with squeals of "Edward!" and "Jacob!" Twilight's influence runs much deeper and, in fact, is a danger to American society.  Its terrible writing has perverted an entire generation of potential writers; it has implanted within the minds of readers everywhere an idea of unattainable perfection.  And, perhaps worst of all, Twilight's woefully weak and incompetent protagonist, Bella Swan, has dealt a heavy blow to the feminist movement and prepared young girls everywhere for a lifetime of abuse and suppression at the hands of men.  While Meyer's Book has been hailed as a positive influence on young women by media outlets and fans alike, a deeper look beyond the sparkles and supposed romance reveals a much darker and sinister impact.

              Twilight is undoubtedly one of the most popular books of the millennium.  Millions of copies of the book have been sold, and, according to USA Today, it has accounted for 29% of total book sales in 2009.   However, it is by no means a work of literary genius.  Stephenie Meyer is certainly not an amazing author or even a decent writer for that matter.  The gratuitous abuse of purple prose and abundant grammatical errors are enough to sicken any lover of literature; fellow best-selling author Stephen King even famously stated in an interview with USA Weekend that Meyer "couldn't write worth a darn."  Her terrible writing is not only frustrating, but also dangerous, scarring the English language and tainting an entire generation of would-be writers.

         One of the most important rules of creative writing is to always show and not tell.  As stated by Brad's Reader, this means that, "instead of simply describing attributes, characters, settings, etc., [a writer] should show these attributes through action."  For example, a good writer should never simply state: "My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down.  It was seventy-five degrees in Phoenix, the sky a perfect, cloudless blue.  I was wearing my favorite shirt – sleeveless, white eyelet lace; I was wearing it as a farewell gesture.  My carry-on item was a parka" (Meyer 3).  Instead of telling the reader that the windows are rolled down, he or she should show the reader the feel of the hot Phoenix air rushing through the car windows; he or she should not tell the reader what the narrator is wearing, but rather show them how the gust of wind from the windows ruffles the eyelet lace on her favorite shirt.  As Anton Chekhov famously said, "Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." With so many more creative and enthralling ways to describe people and places to the reader, simply rattling off a list of the attributes of a character or setting is nothing more than lazy writing: lazy writing that makes for lazy readers.

         The worst cases of Meyer's telling involve the characters themselves: "We walked to class together; [Mike] was a chatterer.  It turned out he was in my English class also.  He was the nicest person I'd met today" (Meyer 25).    Not once does she allow the reader to get to know Mike through his actions; instead, Meyer takes the easy way out and tells the reader everything about him.  Not only does this make her writing highly unappealing, but it also squelches any chance of character development.  In decent literature, a reader learns about a character by "Observ[ing] their actions. Listen[ing] closely to what they say and how they say it. Notic[ing] how they relate to other characters and how other characters respond to them" ("Creating Character").  Because Meyer never shows any aspect of Mike, the reader is never able to observe his actions, and Mike's character is never able to develop.  The fact that Mike is a minor character is not excuse for this style, as even the Cullens are not spared from Meyer's lackluster writing abilities: "[The Cullens] didn't look anything alike.  The last was lanky, less bulky, with untidy, bronze-colored hair" (Meyer 18).  The narrator never speculates about why they don't look alike or how they interact with each other; she simply lists their physical attributes, not once showing them through action.  Considering that a good portion of Twilight is dedicated to Edward's good looks, the fact that Meyer could not even muster up the talent to describe him well is nothing short of unsettling.

         Telling instead of showing never allows the reader to become involved with the story; instead of having to draw his or her own conclusions from observations of action in the text, the reader is able to simply gloss over a list of details.  Young bookworms who grow used to this telling style become lazy readers, scoffing at decent literature because they are not accustomed to using their brains to think about a story.  This also creates lazy writers, teaching an entire generation of would-be authors to simply tell the reader every detail instead of working hard to make their writing deeper than straightforward details.  These lazy writers will in turn create even more lazy readers and lazy writers, who will eventually degrade the standards for English literature and leave a scar upon the language.  Unfortunately, Meyer's writing fallacies do not stop with showing and telling.

         Description is an essential part of any story; it allows the reader to catch a glimpse of the characters and settings, and skilled authors are able to manipulate words to paint a mental picture in the reader's mind.  However, it is very possible for a writer to make their descriptions too detailed, too flowery, and too ornate: this is called purple prose.  Purple prose is often cluttered and difficult to read, where sentences are filled with unnecessary adjectives and other describing words to the point where "it draws attention to itself rather than to the story" ("Purple Prose").  The problem with this is obvious, as the focus of the writing should be the story and not the phrases.  A general rule that authors need to follow to avoid purple prose is best stated by George Orwell: "if it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out."  Good writing demands a balance where the author shows details but does not inflate the writing to the point where the reader is more concerned with the language than the actual story.  Therefore, the work is concise enough to be easily read and understood by the reader and stick to the story, but descriptive enough so that the reader is able to form at least a general picture of the people and places mentioned.  The inability to achieve this balance is the biggest problem that plagues Meyer's writing.

              In the rare instances where Meyer manages to show the reader instead of telling him or her, she heavily abuses purple prose.   One of the most frequent uses is when she describes the appearance of Edward Cullen, the main vampire and love interest of Bella Swan in the Twilight series: "He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep" (Meyer 260).  A good portion of the adjectives mentioned were not needed at all -- in fact, "incandescent," "scintillating," and "glistening" are all synonyms for "sparkling."  They serve absolutely no purpose other than to reinforce what has already been stated, therefore causing the reader to focus more on the wording than the actual story of Twilight.  Meyer's use of this tactic is nothing more than a failed attempt to pass as a decent author and to make her writing seem more intelligent than it actually is.  As with telling, Meyer is teaching young authors to fill sentences with as many describing words as possible, even if they have no idea what they mean, and to focus more on the phrasing in the writing than the actual story itself.

            Tying in with her use of purple prose is Meyer's abuse of the thesaurus.  Oftentimes she breaks another key rule of writing, to "never use a long word where a short one will do" (Orwell).  She frequently pulls complex words from a thesaurus to replace simpler ones.  The problem with this is that many of the words are not perfect synonyms, and therefore are used incorrectly.  Despite her attempts in doing this to make her writing seem smarter, Meyer gives many of her sentences nonsensical meanings: "But it was sure to be awkward with Charlie. Neither of us was what anyone would call verbose, and I didn't know what there was to say regardless" (Meyer 5).  In this sentence Meyer attempts to replace the word "talkative" with "verbose."  However, these words do not mean the same thing.  "Verbose," as defined by the Random House Dictionary, means "characterized by the use of many or too many words," while "talkative" is defined as "inclined to talk a great deal."  Therefore, the reader is being told that, because neither Bella nor Charlie is characterized by the use of too many words, neither of them would know how to begin or hold a conversation with one another.  This is completely different from the meaning that Meyer intended.  This, along with many other examples of incorrectly used words, teaches children two things; first, because most readers use context clues to figure out what unfamiliar words mean, they learn the incorrect definitions because the words are not used in the correct context.  The readers will therefore be more inclined to use the word incorrectly, both in speech and in writing, degrading the English language.  Second, Meyer teaches young authors to follow her bad example and use a thesaurus to include complex words in their writing to give it the illusion of being more intelligent than they actually are.  The perversion of the intelligence of America's youth is simply the tip of the iceberg, however; the dangers that Twilight poses extend to their love lives as well.

              The idea of unattainable perfection has long existed in various forms of media, such as television, advertising, and literature.  Rail-thin supermodels with impossibly large chests and faces perfectly sculpted by plastic surgeons are the most well-known examples of this, striking both envy and anger in the hearts of women all over America because of the absurdly high standards that they set in the minds of men.  Women are no strangers to this type of objectification, but the tables are beginning to turn.  Through romance novels, authors are beginning to implant within the minds of women very high standards for men; and, with such novels beginning to be written for younger audiences, such as Twilight, these standards often become all that girls have to base the opposite sex on.  

              In Twilight, Meyer spends a great deal of time making sure that the reader knows just how perfect Edward Cullen is; she gushes endlessly about his physical beauty, from his "perfect lips" (Meyer 20) to his "incandescent chest" (Meyer 260).  He is described as the perfect man: unrealistically beautiful, caring, and protective.  Even middle aged women find themselves dazzled by Cullen.  However, Edward Cullen introduces to young girls everywhere an unrealistically high standard for the opposite gender.  Through Cullen, Meyer "evokes dangerously false expectations in young women that no man could ever satisfy" (Ross).  Young readers everywhere expect to find an Edward Cullen of their own; girls have left boyfriends and women have left husbands at the altar because "[they] are idealizing Edward to the point where real men can't compete anymore" (Gorgan).  Because of Cullen, "…women pass over and ignore the great real men in [their] lives" (Juarez) simply because they do not have his looks, tact, or charm.  The detrimental effects of Cullen's influence are even stronger when a woman actually takes a chance with a man, because "like the tear-soaked tissues in our hands, [she is] let down again" (Juarez).  The bar that Edward Cullen sets in the minds of young girls and women only serves to deprive them of opportunity and dash their hopes again and again, simply because no man like Cullen exists in reality.  Even the realization of this fact can damage young women, as they crash back down to reality with the crushing realization that they will never find the perfect man.  It is comparable to a child learning that there is no Santa Claus or Tooth Fairy.  What makes the situation worse is the fact that Meyer is getting to girls while they are still young.  A very large chunk of Twilight readers is composed of girls in their early teens who are just starting to form their opinions of the opposite sex.  And, according to Juarez, sometimes fictional characters like Edward are all girls have to base their assumptions on.  Edward Cullen is not the only character in Twilight who is guilty of guilty unrealistic expectations, however; the book's protagonist, Bella Swan, is equally to blame.

              Although she describes herself as ordinary, the characters in Twilight view Bella as rather beautiful.  A vast majority of the boys in school are attracted to her, including the ever-evasive and ridiculously picky Edward Cullen, and a good number of the girls are jealous of her looks.  She has exactly one flaw – her unbelievable clumsiness – but even that can hardly be considered as such, since the only time it seems to show itself is when it gives Edward a chance to come running to her rescue.  But the real danger with Bella lies in her description – or lack thereof.  Meyer intentionally did not describe Swan in detail in the book "so that the reader could more easily step into her shoes" ("Twilight FAQ").  This makes it all too easy for young female readers to raise their expectations for themselves to Bella's high standards; and in a society where the unrealistic expectations women are expected to fulfill already flood the media, this is the last thing that girls need.  Furthermore, Bella is an unbelievably shallow character.  No matter how nice the many men who fall for her are, she completely writes off the more unattractive ones before even getting to know them – and, after meeting the gorgeous Edward Cullen, pays no mind to any of the boys who don't ignore her as Cullen does. Take for example Eric Yorkie, the first boy who Bella meets at her new high school.  Although he is extremely courteous and kind to her, because Bella views him as "the overly-helpful, geeky, chess club type" (Meyer 16), she pays absolutely no mind to him for the entirety of the series.  According to Bella, it does not matter how nice someone may be; if they are "geeky" and "unattractive," they are not worth associating oneself with.

         Through her actions as the protagonist, Bella teachers little girls everywhere to be shallow and vain, as well as to strive to be so beautiful that every single boy in school falls head over heels for them.  Since these horrible lessons are veiled by the book's apparent theme of "true love" and the media's hailing of Bella as a good role model simply because she abstains from sex, girls are actually encouraged to follow her terrible example.  Bella Swan's harshest blow, however, has been dealt to the Feminist movement.

         For the most part, human society has always been patriarchal; many of our leaders, past and present, have been and are men.  In this male-dominated world, women have been objectified, persecuted, and discriminated against simply because of their gender.  They have been denied the natural rights supposedly guaranteed to all humans again and again, even when it is widely believed that all people are created equal.  The feminist movement has fought long and hard to rectify this injustice.  For hundreds of years women have picketed and protested to be viewed as equal, and it seems as though the movement has accomplished much in the past century.  Women are now allowed to vote, work, and own property, and are beginning to break traditional gender roles.  However, a stubborn few still insist that women are inferior to men and should have every aspect of their lives dominated by the opposite gender. Twilight has certainly incubated and spread the idea of female inferiority, threatening to set the Feminist movement back 100 years to a time when men had complete control over every aspect of women's lives.  Even when kept to oneself, such a narrow-minded and outdated opinion can have a negative effect on the feminist movement because, sadly, such ideas tend to be commonplace.  Once further spread through the use of media, such an idea can become a cancer upon the Feminist movement, slowly infecting and destroying everything that women have worked so hard for.  Regardless of how hard women fight or how many rights world governments grant them, as long as women are still viewed as inferior in the minds of men and even women themselves, they will never achieve equality.   
      
     In order for women to gain rights equal to men, they must be viewed and treated as equal beings.  No one gender must have authority over the other; they must be able to act independently of each other and fend for themselves, even when the two intertwine in romantic relationships.  However, Twilight puts forth the idea that a woman is completely worthless without her man.   With the help of her single character flaw, Bella succeeds in proving completely defenseless and, time and time again, must be saved by Edward: "She is weak, clumsy, and seems to depend wholly on her boyfriend just to survive" (Anti-Feminism…).  Take, for example, one of the first encounters that Edward and Bella share: "…the dark blue van was skidding wildly across the ice of the parking lot.  It was going to hit the back corner of my truck, and I was standing between them.  …Two long, white hands shot out protectively in front of me, and the van shuddered to a stop a foot from my face" (Meyer 56).  While the threat of being crushed by a van does not seem like an anti-feminist act, it is not the occurrence itself but rather the reason for its placement in Twilight.  The only reason Bella is nearly killed is simply so Edward can interact with her by coming to her rescue.  From halfway across the parking lot he stops the van in its tracks so that he can protect a person he's shown absolutely no interest at all in – because, even though they have never spoken, Edward views Bella as his property.  He is heavily attracted to her blood and wishes nothing more than to make her his and only his, hence his overly protective attitude towards her.  Another example of this takes place during Bella's trip to Port Angeles: "The thickest man shrugged away from the wall as I warily came to a stop, and walked slowly into the street….  'Done be like that, sugar,' he called, and the raucous laughter started again behind me" (Meyer 161).  In this instance, Bella has wandered alone through the dark backstreets of Port Angeles and ends up being accosted by a group of rowdy men.  Bella considers trying to defend herself with "what little self-defense [she] knew.  ...That same pessimistic voice spoke up in my mind again, reminding me that I probably wouldn't have a chance against one of them, and there were four" (Meyer 161).  She does not even attempt to defend herself, reasoning that a woman would have no chance even struggling against male attackers.  Had Edward not been stalking her during her trip in order to supposedly protect her, Bella would have certainly been sexually assaulted by the gang of men.  Hidden under the ruse of the knight in shining armor coming to the helpless princess's rescue is the fact that he was trailing her on an outing with her friends without her knowledge.  They are not dating, nor have they even had much interaction.  Edward is essentially stalking a girl who he barely knows because he feels extremely possessive of her.  Of course, this also paints Bella, the falsely dubbed good role model, as a weak, incompetent and defenseless woman who is completely incapable of keeping herself out of trouble.  No woman with an ounce of common sense would dare wander away from her friends, alone and unprotected, through a completely unknown city at night.  Bella portrays all women as vapid creatures who always find some way to get into trouble and must be constantly watched and protected by the men who possess them.  Twilight is littered with instances of Bella getting herself into trouble, only to be saved by the dashing Edward; in fact, it seems to form the basis of their relationship.  Bella's dependence on the man in her life is simply one of the many instances of anti-Feminism in Twilight.

              One important element in feminism is the independence of women from the men in their lives.  Even in a relationship, it is important for a woman to have a social life outside of her partner.  However, in Twilight, Edward is the center of Bella's world.  Once they begin dating, there is never any mention of the friends that Bella had once had, nor any signs that show a social life whatsoever outside of Edward and the Cullens.  Part of the reason for this is that Edward refuses to let Bella out of his sight to see other people, claiming that it is because he wants to protect her.  However, this is merely an instance of a man claiming complete control over his female partner's life; because it is to be assumed that men are far superior to women to the point where women don't have any idea what is good for themselves, it is the man's duty to run his woman's life and make sure that she stays out of trouble.  Furthermore, Edward stalked Bella, sneaking into her room every night to watch her sleep from the day she arrived in Forks.  In addition to this, he would also eavesdrop on her conversations by reading the minds of the friends with whom she was conversing.  Outside of fantasy novels, such blatant disregard for personal boundaries would certainly result in a call to the police and a restraining order.  However, "it appears that Bella enjoys surrendering control of her life over to Edward….  She consistently tells herself that he is only doing these things because he loves and wants to protect her" ("Anti-Feminism…").    In fact, what this disallowing of a social life and stalking indicate is the complete opposite of love and protection: abuse.  According Dr. Segal and Dr. Smith, isolation and controlling behavior are signs of emotional abuse.  While it may not seem as serious as other forms of abuse, "emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so" (Segal & Smith).  Because this abuse is masked so well as love, however, Twilight does nothing more than set up young girls for a lifetime of abuse and discrimination at the hands of men.  This abuse and discrimination in turn greatly hinders the feminist movement, slowly handing over control of women's lives to men once more.

              For a book hailed as a good influence, Twilight has certainly dealt society a fair amount of damage.  Stephenie Meyer's terrible writing has perverted the minds of many a young author and bookworm, setting a new low standard for literature and permanently scarring the English language.  The dazzling visage of Edward Cullen has set unrealistically high standards in countless young girls, damaging any future chance that they may have had at a functional relationship with the opposite gender.  And, perhaps worst of all, the feeble and incompetent Bella Swan has singlehandedly set the Feminist movement back one hundred years.  Due to its immense popularity, these effects have spread quickly throughout the population, and as copies continue to fly off of the shelves and into the hands of fragile young minds, the damage will only continue to multiply.  Truly, because of its deeply sinister impact on society, the only place that Twilight belongs is within the cleansing licks of fire.
Guess what I just got back today. I told you guys that I'd post it. ;)

Also I know that book titles should be italicized, but there is no way I'm going through this entire thing and putting in tags.



This essay clocked in at just over 11 pages and ate up two months of my life. It is my child. It was incredibly hard to research, too, because there was virtually nothing really about the topic that I chose. So by posting it online, I'm hopefully providing resources for those who choose to do such research papers in the future.

Wrote this for my AP English Language and Composition class and I got a 93%, which was pretty much the highest grade that you could get. I'm rather proud of it. :'| I still need to work on my academic tone, though, because those contractions up there... should not be there OTL.

Writing belongs to me~
Here's the Works Cited so I don't get punched in the face by copyright issues:

“Anti-Feminism Affects Vampires Too!” Mibba.com. Mibba, 19 Aug. 2008. Web. 19 Mar. 2010.

“Anton Chekhov Quotes.” Thinkexist.com. Thinkexist, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2010.

Carroll, L. (2009, Feb. 3). Stephen King Blasts ‘Twilight’ Author Stephenie Meyer. MTV. Retrieved from [link]

“Creating Character.” Learner.org. Annenberg Media, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2010.

“Frequently Asked Questions: Twilight.” Stepheniemeyer.com. Stephenie Meyer, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2010.

Gorgan, Elena. “Robert Pattinson Gives Women Unrealistic Expectations of Men.” News.so[link] So[link] 13 Aug. 2009. Web. 6 Mar. 2010.

Juarez, Vanessa. “Mr. Right Doesn’t Exist – But We’re Still Looking.” Utepprospector.com The Prospector, 9 Feb. 2010. Web. 6 Mar. 2010.

Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. New York: Little, Brown and Co, 2005. Print

Minzesheimer, B. & DeBarros, A. (2010, Jan. 14). Stephenie Meyer’s ‘Twilight’ series sweeps top four spots. USA Today. Retrieved from [link]

Orwell, George. Politics and the English Language. Retrieved from [link]

“Purple Prose.” Fiction-writers-mentor.com. Fiction Writers’ Mentor, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2010.

Ross, Stephen. “The Twilight Saga: A Classic Romance Too Mature for Teens.” Equip.org. Christian Research Institute, n.d. Web. 4 Mar. 2010.

Segal, Jeanne, and Melinda Smith. “Domestic Violence and Abuse.” Helpguide.org. Help Guide, n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2010.

“Stephen King Offers a ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ Lesson in New Novel.” Bradsreader.com.A Brad’s Reader, 13 Nov. 2009. Web. 24 Feb. 2010.

“Talkative.”Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2010.

"Verbose." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc.,n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2010
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:iconcatbug-meow-jelly:
catbug-meow-JELLY Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
SERIOUSLY PPL U NEED TO APPRECIATE THE TWILIGHT SAGA SERIES!!!
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:iconamplifiedsavagery:
AmplifiedSavagery Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Another bad thing I'll point out is when they had their honey moon and on the first night there. They had sex, obviously, but she wakes up with hickies and bruises everywhere and all he can say is (in a nutshell) "I'm sorry Bella, I couldn't control my strength." When I reread the twilight series this was a huge red flag. I saw this as him exerting that he is stronger than her and can easily abuse her and mark her with bruises out of jealousy; further pushing the notion that she is HIS and his ONLY. Whenever they would do something "romantic" he would show his "superiority" in strength against her and therefor saying that if she woke up to reality like a normal woman would do in an abusive relationship she wouldn't be able to to win the fight in gaining her freedom. I used to LOVE the Twilight series but slowly figured out the nasty demons lurking beneath the sugar coated scum. I'll admit, I LOVE Paranormal Romance, as they are fun reads due to my love of the paranormal and oddness. But, Twilight was the worst paranormal romance I have ever read in the sense that it shows this weak flat character who doesn't develop and change, like you mentioned with Mike, who was never given a chance to. As an aspiring writer, I myself love characters who evolve and grow, but Bella never did. Instead she was a shallow weak extremely insecure girl who chose a guy over her friends and family. I'm sorry for the long comment and I hope it makes sense as I am half asleep at the moment, haha. One last note, I always rooted for Jacob since he wasn't such an asshole like Edward was and actually gave a damn instead of holding her down in theoretical chains.
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:iconanrili:
anrili Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

This is great! The oerall tone, the topic and the amount of Research put in this are really worth a read :)

BTW, I'm printing this out and putting it in my binder with Stuff to read during rainy days >8-D

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:iconlittlepigart:
LittlePigArt Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
This is absolutely amazing. Having been in an emotionally abusive relationship (with a friend, not even dating), the moment I started reading Twilight at said friend's insistence, I found it appalling. I couldn't even understand how someone could like such a terrible read, from the writing style to the characters to the themes it supports! I couldn't read past the first book. I didn't even fully read the book, skimming through it instead. Having grown up on Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings, I couldn't believe such bile had managed to make it to the shelf, let alone become a best-seller. I will have my friends read this for sure and hopefully more and more people will realize how bad this series is for our generation. Oh, and I don't know if you know this, but Bella and Edward's relationship apparently meets all fifteen criteria set by the National Domestic Violence hotline for being in an abusive relationship. I just thought you'd find that even more supportive of your argument. Thank you for writing this and even posting references. This is an incredible read. :D
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:iconmerlfoxfell:
merlfoxFell Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
Brilliant and eyeopening. I'd thought similar things but hadn't either put in the effort or bothered enough to try and put it into any clear order. Thank you so much for this. I won't be reading twilight again. I found many of your points very interesting, particularly the criticism of her prose. I'm sure my own writing has many of the same flaws and I didn't even realize it. I do see Orwell's point 'never use a long word when a short one will do' however I love the sound of some words, English can be so melodious. I like to think of pieces of fictional writing as pieces of music, as long as every word paints the picture and adds another layer I see no reason not to include it. I guess that sort of goes along with Orwell in that each new word should add a NEW layer, not say the same thing. But then, repetition is a powerful tool and can emphasize a point, so I have no problem with using synonyms, other than that though, I think this is spot on!
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:iconerinprimette:
ErinPrimette Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
I read the first book, and it sucks!
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:iconaquasakura:
Aquasakura Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011  Student General Artist
I decided to read your essay even though I never finish reading the first books of Twilight. It was really awesome. I like what you said. ^_^

When I read her first book I was getting the impression Stephanie was writing it like someone was writing a dairy entry of themselves. In this case she was writing it how Bella would write about her life. However, I do know what you mean. I read a short story for an assignment that seems to fit with this “purple prose” you mention. The arthur of that story spent way too much time describing the environment and such. It was such a pain to read and because the Arthur spent way too much time doing that I could hardly make out the story. I think I was telling myself “Can we just get on with the story all ready!!!” I can tell you it was worse than how Stephanie wrote Twilight. I don’t remember the name of the story but I think the person who wrote it had “Ford” as a surname I think.

I heard of cases of the media giving females high expectation of themselves but I didn’t know it was happening with males now. Well, personally I don’t find Edward to be that attractive. I am basing how I saw him in the movie previews and the movie base book cover version of Twilight but from how the book describes him it seems that whoever was in charge of the movie got his looks down perfectly. Even if I was a girl I might not find him attractive. Since I find girls with a cute, young look more attractive then the overly sexy girls I think the same might imply with boys if I was a girl. Edward look is too masculine and not really cute (I would say he is more like the overly sexy male). As for Bella, I was puzzle as to why all the boys thought Bella was attractive. There was nothing attractive about her. Looks are one thing. I personally didn’t think she looked attractive even if the books said she was beautiful, but everyone has a different preference when it comes to that. What really bug me was who she was on the inside. Bella is so far one of the most boring characters I have ever come across in literature and this is what made me wonder why the boys liked her so much. She hardly liked to do anything that was fun. To me she came across as a person who was trying too hard to be a grown up. Plus I never remember Bella being that much a jerk to Eric but again it has been a while since I read Twilight and I never finish it. I have loss eve more respect to her now. As a side note since when the media claim Bella was a good role model (as well as even the entire Twilight series in general)? The media definition of a role model must be either shallow, because there is more to being a role model then just doing something smart like waiting to mate, or its focus on a certain agenda. From what I have read it could have hail her as a role model for not having sex until the right time.
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:iconkataclysme:
Kataclysme Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I would fav this 10 times if I could! Insightful, extremely well written and dead on!! :D
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2011
Thank-you very much! :3
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:iconalicia-x-itachi:
Alicia-x-Itachi Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
Excellent essay! My dream has always been to be a writer, and seeing things like Twilight (and the countless "paranormal romances" that have followed in its wake) make me sad. There are many things that can be said about Twilight, many that have been said already, but you mention both my major gripes with the series: the fact that it makes a mockery of literature, and the depiction of women. All the arts are sacred to me, and it sickens me when people make a mockery of them. Being a writer isn't about being famous, being popular, or making money--it's supposed to be about telling stories and creating worlds and characters. And longevity and quality are important with any work of art. When I have my own children, no one will remember Twilight, and said children of mine won't think it is anything but a time of day.

The treatment of women in the books is really scary, as well as the whole beauty-equals-goodness shtick. I'm so tired of those tropes and the negative effect they have on people that I want to do the exact opposite of them in my stories. I want to write about brave heroines rescuing young men in distress, and about female creatures of the night seducing human men. I also wish to depict both manly men and soft-hearted naive ones (particularly since I have met many such men)--and I want to have extremely beautiful villains who use their beauty to further their evil plans. That's the whole appeal of Monster x Human love, vampires in particular--the silly human walks right into the vampire's arms because he can't resist her beauty, and keeps thinking she'll grow to love him when she merely wants to keep him as a pet/sex slave.

As for Edward Cullen, I wouldn't go near him if he could wave a magic wand and make Pokemon real. I'm much more attracted to the sort of man I can talk to, trust and confide in, enjoy spending time with, and who would be a good father. I want my children to be as proud of their father as I am of mine. While I do currently have someone in mind, who happens to be very handsome, that's hardly the first thing that attracts me to him. I don't know why so many girls (and guys for that matter) don't care about what's truly important.
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:iconreveriesound:
ReverieSound Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2011
Well done!
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Thank-you very much!
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:iconreveriesound:
ReverieSound Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
This is one of the finest literary essays I have ever read. You, sir, deserve this :+devwatch:
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Ah, thank-you! I put a lot of effort into it.

And thanks for the watch! Though I must warn you, I haven't had a life lately, so I might be slow with uploads.
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:iconreveriesound:
ReverieSound Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
It's ok!
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:icondarkladyjade:
DarkLadyJade Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2011  Hobbyist
This is a well-written and detailed article about the criticism of the Twilight series. I've never read any of the books (I've only seen the first 2 movies) but usually when people criticize Twilight, their comments are usually simple and often not much more than "it sucks" (no pun intended). So, good job with this. I've wanted to read the books, to better understand the hype for myself, but after reading this, I'll make sure to read the books with an even more critical eye.
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2011
Ah,thank-you! I really put in a lot of work, aha.

Yeah. I'd just read them if you're looking for something to make fun of.
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:iconkyuubi-no-kyuu:
Kyuubi-no-Kyuu Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I could kiss you for this. XD This is why I am strongly against the Twilight series, nevermind that I have bought them and it was a guilty pleasure to read them. At the very least is the writing and the chosen word improved by the Swedish translators, so it is not THAT disgusting language-wise, but every single other point stays.

This Twilight thing is a terrible disese, for both writing and Fenimistic movements. This is such an twisted and evil book, and the worst is that it gets so good reviews and appears everywhere. It even appears a lot in THIS PART OF SWEDEN, and that is saying a lot. It is a rarity that it's so much about it. But I've also noticed that here it's not many who puts it very high. I guess a lot of we Swedes are relatively sane. ^^;

No, this should be spread far and wide.
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2011
Thank-you very much! Yeah, my German friend has a copy of the books in German, and apparently translators made a lot of improvements as far as grammar goes.

....
Maybe I need to move to Sweden.
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:iconkyuubi-no-kyuu:
Kyuubi-no-Kyuu Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
God, don't one love translators sometimes? Though, sometimes translating destroys things in the book. Expecially jokes. But in this case, it's a blessing. ^^;

I only know how it is up here in North Sweden though, and I just live in a town. But at the very least, I know that Sweden (and probably the other Nordic Countries) is a very... Accepting country, and has a great school-system (though some things, as jail, could be better. Some people WANT into jail, and criminals get much better food then students and is treated better then elders).
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:iconharrypotterhedgehog:
HarryPotterHedgehog Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011
This is really, really amazing.(:
I love how carefully you researched it and well written it was. I've noticed that about a bunch of AnitTwilight essays, how they made so many valid points and how it was easy to see the effort that went in to it. I hope I get to write something about this topic for English when I go to high school! (I'm in 8th grade now, and we can't take AP until 11th and 12th grade. :( )
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2011
Thank-you so much!

Hehe, well, feel free to use my essay as a reference point when you do. c:

Oooh, relish those years while you still have 'em, though. ;) Everything gets less fun when AP Calculus starts becoming involved in your life.
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:iconlykothraxx:
lykothraxx Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
Ryuuuuu, this is so amazing o3o
-worships-
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2010
Thank-yoooooooooooooou! ♥
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:iconkitsune-kit-kaguya:
Kitsune-Kit-Kaguya Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That was extremely well written. I especially loved how you had citations which is something that I see many anti twilight essays do not include. This made my day.
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2010
Thank-you very much! ♥
I'm glad your day was made. :3
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:iconiceemblem777:
Iceemblem777 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2010
This treatment of the books in a political context is sseverely out of hand and exaggerated. This is bull**** of the worst category, perhaps worse then the people who think so much about sex that they complain about Edward's age or label the books as depicting statutory rape, a detail which only would be noticed by someone who thinks about sex enough to notice that.

Besides, the nonstop constant insulting of people who like the books is not proportionate to their actul quality. I personally, think they depict everyone's dream and thus like them. Your above statements about the books, however ,are pure paranoia or propaganda, at least you were'nt a grammar Nazi in the process.
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2010
What was the accomplishment of this comment? You like the books, and that's fine and dandy for you. However, just as you're allowed to like these books, I'm allowed to dislike them.

I never, ever intended to insult people who like the books -- my only beef is with Ms Meyer. And the fact that you're taking this whole report completely seriously is ridiculous in itself. Do you honestly think that I mean everything I wrote? Take it with a grain of salt.

If you have such a problem with my paper, why did you read it? Of course I'm always open to criticism, but this is bitching someone out for the sake of bitching. If you're so unhappy with it just close out the tab and read Twilight.

And just for the record, I prefer females. My dreams don't include men of any sort.
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:iconfedora-blues:
fedora-blues Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2010  Hobbyist
This is a fantastic article!
I agree wholly with the points you bring up in it.
Great job!
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
Thank-you! : D
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:iconemerune:
Emerune Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2010
-applauds- This was hilarious. I've never read any of the books in the Twilight series, but the more I hear about them, the more I wonder why everyone is so obsessed with them. They sound so lame, and the movies look absolutely horrendous. Even my friend who has read them doesn't know exactly what possessed him to do such a thing. xD
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
Thank-you!
Yeah, just... just don't.
I think a lot of people read it either because they're curious or because it's a guilty pleasure, but as for those obsessed with it... well, people just don't know what good literature is anymore, I suppose.
THE BOOK HAS EVIL VOODOO POWERS. D: |
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:icontucanathetoucan:
TucanaTheToucan Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree with you to the nth degree; The entire Twilight Saga made by that dime-a-dozen wench and it should not be read at all. Twilight is a virus that destroys a woman's self-worth and gives Transformers; The Legend Of Zelda; Full Metal Alchemist; Ed, Edd, n Eddy; Cowboy Bebop; and other franchises involving someone named Edward (or any real person with that name), any real person who's family name is Cullen, vampires, and/or werewolves bad names. I rather get stuck in the swamps of Lake Champlain while listening to someone playing a vuvuzela than read a page of this BS. It is so bad that Optimus Prime would allow Megatron to get away with destroying anything that is related to this piece of garbage! These books are S-Ranked criminals for killing trees! They are so bad that the Devil himself would have to call the entire series scum! Kakashi Hatake would never read those books even if you gave him a book from the Make-Out series with them! I'd rather drink sulfur water from a bathtub while dancing to Cotton-Eye Joe while Sophie the German Shepard pulls dead tree roots from my hands! I'd rather chase Jake the Tabby off the Empire State Building! In other words, I'll never read the books and I'll never buy the merchandise of the godforsaken Twilight Saga. I'm anti-Twilight until I breathe my last breath!
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
(/snort) Vuvuzela.
BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZBZBZZZZZZ

"These books are S-Ranked criminals for killing trees!"

Yes.

I don't think I'd have such a problem with the books if Ms. Meyer would actually accept critique instead of sending big brother to bully those who try. If she did it for the writing, she would accept critique so she could improve, and if she did it for fun, then she wouldn't have published it in the first place. She's in it for the money and doesn't give a damn about the quality of her writing, so obviously, it suffers. And sadly, she doesn't even have to write quality books. If she wrote the letter "A" on a piece of paper and published it, that shit would sell like hotcakes.
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:iconsawniknoob:
sawniknoob Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2010
I wish I could push through this to the end, but I am extremely tired and I think I may have what you call 'lazy reader's syndrome' only because I haven't read anything way way detailed like yours. Only yours is a lot of good detail, not bad. If you get what I mean.
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
Hahaha, that's okay. xD
It killed me writing and editing it. :P
Thanks, though!
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:iconsawniknoob:
sawniknoob Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2010
Fo' sho' buddy~

Got any fanfiction? ;o lol
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2010
Nah, sorry. xD I don't write fanfiction, just original stuff, essays, and stuff for my job. c:
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:iconsawniknoob:
sawniknoob Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2010
Ah. Well, if you would ever possibly get the time, you should write some. You would be kissed on your toes.
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:iconthe3rddestiny:
The3rdDestiny Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010  Student General Artist
Wow, this was great. made me think twice. this needs a 193%
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
Thank-you!
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:iconlamorte1313:
LaMorte1313 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
This is amazingly well written and gets the point across without bashing one over the head with it. You deserve the 93. I also rather like that you wrote the whole thing without insulting the fan base of the series.
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
Thank-you!
It's not really the fans that bother me. Some of my best friends actually loved it back in the day. My beef is just with Ms. Meyer. xD
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:iconlamorte1313:
LaMorte1313 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
I only read it because my friends told me I'd enjoy it. I still haven't quite forgiven them, but they don't seem to like it anymore either. I agree, the problem is with Meyer.
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:iconimpulse-delusion:
Impulse-Delusion Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2010
This is amazing.
I seriously can't put into words how very awesome this essay is.

You should win cookies. Or a medal. Or something. ;w;
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
Aghhh, thank-you so much!

; w;
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:iconnarsilion:
Narsilion Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
...did I just say "intelligently"...? oh god. D:

I love how daybreaker's Edward totally owned twilight's edward. XDD
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
LOOOOL

Yes. x'D
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:iconnarsilion:
Narsilion Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I can't really think of anything intelligently and loving to say to you. I think I ought to revert to some purple? x'D I enjoyed this so much.. it was just.. holy gold ooze. serious. I want to print it and hand it out on the street and get it published in Times or something. so hard. Twilight wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so popular. There's tons of crap books exactly like it before but luckily have been ignored. It's dangerous shit.

Oh well... more average joes for us. ;D
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:iconsrsface:
Srsface Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2010
Aghhhh, thank-you so much! ; U; ♥♥♥

Mmhmm. There are a lot of shit books, yeah, but none of them are nearly as wide-spread as Twilight is. And, due to its popularity, it's really starting to influence the culture. D:

Mmmm, yes. Gimme some nerdy boys pls. Or girls, hurrhurhurr.
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