The Perverted Promise of 'Twilight'
Recently, on Facebook, I posted my opinion that Stephen King will go down in history as one of the greatest writers ever, while Stephanie Meyer will be forgotten in the pages of time like all of the other pop authors who exploit the market for financial gain, as opposed to writing what's in their hearts. A respondent replied that she felt Ms. Meyer was “brilliant” and she loved her “twist” to the modern day vampire. My response was as a professional writer, Meyer is the polar opposite of brilliant. Brilliant is J.K. Rowling’s twist on the modern wizard. What Stephanie Meyer gave the world isn't a 'twist' but a perversion.
Throughout literary history vampires have always been symbolic of the old aristocracy that drains the life of the common man. Blood symbolizes the life that the old decrepit must feed from the living in order to survive. If you read any of the original literature, Vampyre, Varney the Vampire, or Dracula, this theme is evident.
The reason why the vampire has always appealed romantically to female fans is because death by vampire has always symbolized rape. The vampire is this dark stranger who is extremely attractive and seems to have a hypnotic power over his victims. They try with all of their might to resist him but eventually give in because it feels so good to die in his arms. Isn’t the vampire bite, especially in Stoker’s novel, described as the “ultimate” orgasm? Also, vampires are supposed to be engulfed in flames when sunlight shines on them. The reason for this is because they live in the world of the old and dark and fear change. The sun symbolizes a new day on the horizon, a future that they cannot exist in. That is why they die when the sun strikes them.
Meyer exploited the market by perverting these totems of mythology to make financial gain for herself. She took something that has been established in the consciousness of mythology and changed it to her parameters to make a quick buck. She exploited the hopes and dreams of young girls who are missing, deprived of, or haven't discovered affection or chivalry in their lives, and gave them the promise of a mythic being (albeit extremely changed) that will always accept them and will never struggle with them. This trick works on the inexperienced or emotionally desperate reader but it will not work on the mature reader.
The mature reader understands that true love does exist, but it is something that is never perfect and requires a lot of effort. True love can only exist when both parties work together and overcome the obstacles keeping them apart, hence strengthening their bond. Meyer promises these girls a sense of true love that fits perfectly together without conflict, like puzzle pieces. That type of love does not exist and anyone who has ever been in love will say that love is difficult work. Sadly the exploited are not aware of this and will gorge Meyer will their hard earned dollars and buy into that pre-broken promise, only to be disappointed later in life since they were expecting a Edward-Bella ending to everything.
If you want to read a good modern twist of the vampire legend that doesn't pervert, but actually expands on the myths, read Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles. At least that author had a high enough IQ to ensure her novels are historically accurate and was professional enough to do her research.
Victor Phan & Clark Jones
Torture Chamber Productions
December 22, 2009