My 17 Year Old Self Hated Twilight, Apparently.

This is an interesting piece because I wrote it in high school for my AP Literature class. The assignment was to make our own version of Jonathan Swifts' 'A Modest Proposal' and this is what I chose to tackle.

Of all the problems facing society today, people basing their lives on works of fiction can certainly be considered one of the most worrying. While an appreciation for literature is healthy, creating religions based on a certain book series is a sign that someone should step in. And step in I will, by presenting my solution to counter the negative effects of a certain book series which is best characterized by moody vampires, unhealthy relationships and the “love story” between an adorably clumsy 17 year old and her boyfriend, who is a 117-year-old man who spends his time watching her sleep and glittering.

I am, of course, talking about the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. These books tell the story of Bella Swan, and Edward Cullen, aka the most perfect boyfriend in all the land.

Here we come to the first problem of many. Edward spends a worrying amount of time following Bella around, watching her sleep, breaking into her house, and other things that NBC’s Dateline would probably be interested to hear about. When Bella learns of this, she doesn’t bust out the pepper spray. Instead she finds herself swept away by how romantic Edward is, which is strange, because my word was creepy. Maybe Stephenie Meyer chose the word romantic the way she chose every other adjective in this book: by utilizing the right click/synonym tool on Microsoft Word.

After Edward is revealed to be a completely terrifying stalker, he still isn’t done making this the worst first date in the history of the world. Next, he asks Bella if she knows what he is, and in a shocking turn that none of us saw coming, she says she knows what he is: a vampire. 

To save you 20 bucks and two hours, I’ll summarize the books plot in the most basic of terms: Girl moves to new town. Girl goes to school and sees Boy. Boy has problem with way Girl smells. Girl is smitten. Boy stalks Girl and watches her sleep. Girl and Boy talk, and Boy reveals a startling secret: he is a vampire! Boy tells Girl that he wants her blood more than any other type of blood ever. Girl hearts Boy forever and ever. Girl represents an impressive number of societies problems. The End.

Bella irks me as much as, if not more than, the cast of Jersey Shore, so I’ll admit I don’t care much if she makes terrible decisions. However, what concerns me is the number of Twilight fans who feel that Edward and Bella lead perfect lives and try to emulate them.

First off, for a 117-year-old man, Edward is incredibly inept at dealing with things in a rational way. For example, when some evil vampires are causing mayhem in Seattle, Edward worries for Bella’s safety. His first step is to tell her to skip a day of school. The reason for this truancy? If Bella stays home from school, the evil vampires will not be able to come after her. Apparently, while vampires can run faster than the speed of sound, wrestle black bears, fall in love with their food without it being weird, live forever and climb trees like a spider monkey, they apparently lack the ability to access Maybe they have dial-up. In any case, Edward Cullen clearly endorses truancy, which is wrong unless you are in a John Hughes movie. In addition to promoting truancy, Edward also enjoying taking risks, such as driving over the posted speed limit, which Bella finds alluring. I can hardly begin to comprehend how close to the edge Edward spends his life. In addition to disregarding the safety of other drivers, bad boy Edward probably spends time jaywalking and using his Wii-mote without the wrist strap.

While Edward’s faults can be considered amusing, Bella’s should be taken more seriously. When Edward leaves her, she goes into a coma-like state for three months, until she starts spending time with a new guy: Jacob. Bella’s happiness is entirely contingent on the presence or lack thereof of a boyfriend figure, and that is simply not healthy. Later on, Bella decides to go cliff diving in a raging thunderstorm, which is stupid even for her. Edward’s sister, Alice, sees this happening with her ability to see the future. This is especially strange because a major plot point is the fact that Bella is supposed to be impervious to any and all vampire powers, because she’s so special and all. But since there was no other way for the story to proceed, Alice sees Bella jump off a cliff and tells Edward, who assumes Bella tried to kill herself over him. Rationally, Edward decided to travel to Volterra, Italy and sparkle for all the world to see, because then the evil vamps will be angry and kill him.

This is everything Seventeen magazine warns young girls about. If a guy is going to kill himself if he can’t be with you, you get out of that relationship. That’s not healthy, and that’s not the kind of relationship anyone should consider romantic. But the best part about this whole suicide tangent? When Bella hears further proof that Edward is the sort of guy who will get her story made into a Lifetime movie, she decides to fly to Italy to save him without telling her father. In Italy, Alice steals a car, so not only do the Cullens endorse truancy, but they obviously condone lying to parents and grand theft auto.

To combat the problems that Twilight causes in society today, I suggest that these books are no longer allowed to be printed, the movies are not allowed to be made, and any persons wishing to be an author must have a grasp on basic grammar and an understanding of what a plot actually is before proceeding with their goal. There will be an immediate recall of every Twilight book ever printed. If anyone refused to give up their copies, pale and sparkly men will be sent to deal with the problem. Once Twilight fans (or Twi-hards, as they are known in some circles) find themselves facing a lack of reading material, they will be referred to other books, such as Walden, Jane Eyre or The Great Gatsby. While I do believe in free speech, I simply can’t believe in a law that allows books like Twilight to be published, so I propose a serious examination of our First Amendment. This may seem overdramatic to some, but I feel that any opposition will soon see things from my point of view. After all, can you blame me for dreaming of an America where every other girl doesn’t lust after a sparkling, stalking, arguably mentally unstable 117-year-old man?

Sangeeta Ranade