It is the latest fantasy craze and I am an ardent admirer of fantasy books. I read all sorts of junk, even about Vampires. I like vampires.
However, Twilight – particularly the characters – left me really cold. The target audience of the book is teens, and at the age of 25 I no longer qualify as one. But I thought I was quite in touch with the teen mind… it wasn’t so long ago I was one. Yet even at the height of my teenage gullible-ness, Bella would’ve bored me.
That came as a bit of a surprise, because Bella is modelled after what every teen feels – awkward, shy, unsure about what exactly we are or we are doing, a wish to be mysterious and gorgeous, and dreams of a guy who will be by her side eternally.
Naturally, Edward is the perfect foil – always present, gorgeous (though I thought Robert Pattinson looked extremely constipated through out the movie and emote to save his dead life) and he is constantly present by her side, even when she sleeps. But that isn’t too hard because he really has no other commitments in life that would need him elsewhere. And he is completely obsessed with her. The exact kind of boyfriend we all dream about 16.
But what troubled me most was that Bella never really makes a choice for herself. She goes along the circumstances or the men in her life make the choice for her. Who she should be with, where she really is safe etc.
She arrives in a small-town school and by the virtue of novelty, gains celebrity status in a place where nothing really happens. She runs into Edward and then on, everything she does is ruled by his presence or absence. Should we really qualify this as love? Because Edward is constantly pushing the buttons – “you are not safe with me and I’m going away. Look, i’m going. I’m going” and then “oh you came after me. Good girl. Look I’m going again. There is a werewolf you can hang out with.” and then “I am back.”
From a feminism point of view, this is sheer horror. But even when you strip away the feminist angle, Bella still appears boring. I do like characters who get into trouble and then find their way out of it. But Bella constantly is embroiled in melodrama… mainly relating to her now-here-now-gone boyfriend.
You would think an old vampire was above these games. Perhaps people relate to that drama… the trauma we have all been through of liking someone who blows hot and cold. And of finally getting the guy.
But the thing is… Bella never does anything, which is what makes her boring. Even her becoming a vampire in the end is directed by circumstances. The choices are limited – die or become a vampire. And the decision is taken when she is unconscious.
I like fantasy. I like drama. I like characters who are embroiled in trouble and find their way out. I love Harry Potter, who was the drama queen then. But Potter is interesting because he leads a normal life… he isn’t constantly whining about Voldemort and doesn’t simply let things take their course. And he has interesting side-kicks – Hermione, the one who makes things happen and Ron, the entertainment factor.
Bella’s life has space for no one but Edward. Perhaps it is my sheer disdain for people who let the partner consume their world and lose their identity that makes me dislike Bella. Every sentence she occurs is about Edward. Every thing she does is to be with Edward or something related to him.
And that is why I wonder why she is so popular – because, unlike the real popular kids, she doesn’t have a life.
Link of the day: Able I Was