With the release of the highly anticipated film Twilight coming this Friday I decided to dedicate the majority of this weeks blogging efforts to the subject of the Twilight Saga. Each day this week I will be posting something new related to the series and will wrap it up Friday with my review of the film since I am going to the 12:01am showing.
I start you off this week with the first of three guest posts from Kristina Sanchez. Kristina is the author of the witty blog How To Be A Customer and an aspiring screenwriter. She’s also been one of my go to girls for all things Twilight over these last few months. Saying she eats, sleeps, and breathes Twilight would be an understatement. Kristina will be exploring some of the myths and criticisms surrounding the Twilight saga and it’s characters in this exciting 3 part series.
UPDATE: Per the request of one of our readers I want to post a spoiler alert and let you know that if you have not finished the complete Twilight Saga there may be spoilers in this post and the coming two posts from Kristina.
Edward Cullen: A Thin Line Between Abusive Teenage Boyfriend and the Perfect Man
Let me start off by saying that I am not one of those Twilighters that thinks you’re a sinner if you have the gall to dislike Twilight. In fact, when I put down Twilight for the first time no one was more shocked than I was about the utterly PHYSICAL reaction I had to this book.I’m an avid reader and believe me when I say that many, many better books have been written, so I understand completely that there are totally valid reasons to dislike Twilight.
And then there are those haters out there whose hate of Twilight is irrational and just plain wrong. Seriously, reading through some of these gives me the impression that these people have watched one too many Dateline specials and are judging the characters of this wonderful series based on single actions, completely and totally disregarding the context of these actions. This gives me the impression that either they haven’t actually read the book or they totally misunderstood it – which is impressive given that it’s a relativly simple read.
Edward Has No Personality
This one is probably at the biggest has the biggest HUH?! factor. Basically, there are those who see no personality to Edward other than his obsessive love for Bella. While I don’t consider Edward to be the perfect man, his character is wonderfully developed, like all the characters in this series. His biggest flaw is that he’s a complete know-it-all. You think his brothers were teasing but look at the facts. He mentions several times that Bella never does what he expects, and as, in his century of life, he has been privy to the thoughts of countless thousands of humans, his surprise and curiosity at Bella is based on the fact that he thinks, quite accurately, that he can predict human behavior. Of course, this part of him is what leads to a lot of the trouble in his and Bella’s relationship as he’s constantly underestimating her. This is what leads him to believe that Bella will forget him if he leaves. As Stephenie Meyers puts it “Can you blame him for thinking himself—after one hundred years of immortal experience—capable of a more profound love than his eighteen-year-old human girlfriend?”
Just being a vegetarian vampire takes a certain amount of character. After all – a vampire’s natural instinct, and most overwhelming physical call, is to hunt human blood. Jasper describes it at one point as seeing humans as no more than cows by the wayside – food. The Cullens all value human life to the extent that they’ve overcome their own nature to live peacefully among us. Edward in particular has a certain thirst for justice. He mentions briefly that in his human life he had been eager to turn 18 so he could fight in World War I. Though misguided, it takes a certain amount of valor, courage and want for justice to be a soldier. And then, in his vampire life, Edward did briefly go the traditional route, but only stalked and killed rapists and murderers. A God complex to be certain, but still, at it’s core – if you had been given the powers to be able to STOP a murderer, wouldn’t you at least think of taking it? Again, it says a lot to Edward’s personality that he did take that opportunity, and even more that he so valued human life that he could not stand taking the life of even the most monstrous among us.
Now add to that his other qualities. He’s grateful for what he’s given. In Midnight Sun, Meyer’s unfinished look at Twilight from Edward’s perspective, we see that Edward, taken in by the kindness of Angela Weber towards Bella and then, in turn, him, wishes to grant Angela some small favor. Using that aforementioned knowledge of human behavior, he leads the very willing object of her desire, Ben Cheney, right into her arms. How sweet! He has a great love and respect for his family. Remember that each member of his family was adopted. He didn’t have to love them, but he did. He is a gentleman. He is loving, tender and generous. Like his father figure he has a thirst for knowledge. It’s not like he had to spend his free time studying, reading, composing, learning languages and sciences, but he did. No personality? Pffffft.
Edward Is A Controlling Abusive Monster
The correct term is over-protective. Here is where we really need to pay attention to context. I can understand where the idea comes from. After all, out of context a guy creeping into your room in the middle of the night and following you is creepy. Disabling your truck so you can’t go see another guy? Definitely controlling. Now let’s look at those situations WITH context.
First, the spying thing. Edward is NOT a pervert. He’s not trying to catch a glimpse of Bella changing or steal a pair of her underwear or anything equally creepy. Think about it. In his 80 years of vampiric life he has been able to read the mind of EVERY single person, vampire and human alike. And yet here is this girl who not only can he not read, but he can’t figure out. He’s fascinated by her. Why isn’t she frightened of him? Why does she turn down all the boys who want to give her attention? What does she think about that first day that he looked at her so murderously? Why didn’t she tell anyone about it? Why? Why? WHY?! The fact that she talks in her sleep is just too irresistible for Edward. It’s the closest he gets to hearing her unprotected thoughts. No, it’s not entirely rational, but please. To quote Wicker Park “Love makes you do crazy things, insane things. Things in a million years you’d never see yourself do. But there you are doing them… can’t help it.” Not a whole lot truer than that, as anyone who has been in love can quickly attest.
Now the following and over-protectiveness. Again we have to consider that no one is more surprised than Edward that he has fallen for a human girl. In all of his 108 years, he has never been interested in anyone – even the gorgeous, fellow immortal Tanya. Remember that he lives in a world where he really only associates with fellow immortals – all indestructible, and quite capable of surviving pretty much anything. When the depth of his feelings for Bella becomes known, think of how he must see her. She is human, and utterly breakable. To even be around her he has to be careful ALL the time. He becomes utterly obsessed with her safety. There are so many ways a human can be killed or hurt. He is only truely at peace when he can see her and know with certainty that she’s safe. His only fear in the world is losing her because he knows how easy that would be.
On the surface, Edward often appears quite controlling, but it doesn’t take much digging to understand that he is not unreasonable. In Twilight, he very nearly whisks Bella away quite against her will after James starts his hunt. But it only takes a few minutes for Bella, Alice and Emmett to talk some sense into him. He panicked, that’s all. And with good reason! James is quite intent on making Bella dinner! Then the whole Jacob issue. It’s not as if Edward is keeping Bella away from Jacob out of jealousy. Knowing what he does about werewolves, his fear is that she’ll end up like Emily, or worse. He’s not without reason, and so he’s able to accept that Jacob is not a threat to Bella’s safety, and despite his continued, nearly overwhelming, jealousy, he backs off on his behavior. If he was truly an abusive boyfriend, he would never have backed down – and further, Bella’s friendship with the completely harmless Mike Newton would be non-existent. After all, Edward admits numerous times to his jealousy of the boy and yet he never attempts to stop their friendship.
Finally, if you’ll notice, Edward’s somewhat crazy need to protect Bella ceases almost entirely once she’s indestructible as well. At the end of Breaking Dawn, when all the Volturi’s offensive members turn their thoughts towards killing Bella, he merely grits his teeth. In the past he would have jumped defensively in front of her and let loose a fantastic volley of snarls.