Confessions of a Twilight Convert
Twilight. Stephenie Meyer. 498 pp. Little, Brown, and Company, 2006.
New Moon. Stephenie Meyer. 563 pp. Little, Brown, and Company, 2006.
Eclipse. Stephenie Meyer. 629 pp. Little, Brown, and Company, 2007.
Breaking Dawn. Stephenie Meyer. 756 pp. Little, Brown, and Company, 2008.
Amanda Kloth, Secondary English Education, Spring 2018
November 27, 2017
I have found Twilight to be a series that elicits strong feelings in readers. I, for one, have always been on the side of hating the four-book saga. As an avid reader and a future middle school or high school English teacher, I love to read Young Adult Literature. Twilight, however, has always rubbed me the wrong way. I remember picking up my friend’s copy of Twilight in seventh grade as we sat at the lunch table. After reading a paragraph from a random page, I put the book down in disgust. I thought the concept of vampires was inane, I dismissed the heroine Bella as overdramatic and naïve, and I disliked the author’s writing style, cringing when I found a sentence fragment. I vowed to never read the series, regardless of its popularity.
After successfully avoiding Meyer’s novels for eight years, I decided to read all four books this semester, my final semester at Cairn before student teaching. Why? In January, when I begin my fourteen-week teaching placement in a Central Bucks School District middle school, I will spend every day with ninth graders who could very well be reading Twilight. I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Divergent, The Hunger Games, I Am Number Four, and many other popular Young Adult series, but I wanted to be prepared for the possibility of teaching students who love Twilight. I wanted to give them a more intelligent reason for loathing the novels than “I didn’t like the eight sentences I read when I was in middle school, so you shouldn’t like these books, either.”
In Twilight, Bella Swan moves to a small town and meets Edward Cullen, a mysterious and beautiful boy who seems to hate her for no reason. As the novel progresses, the two spend more time together, and Bella discovers that Edward is a vampire. Despite knowing that part of him thirsts for her blood, she is in love. In New Moon, Edward leaves Bella heartbroken, and she falls into an abyss of sorrow until her friendship with Jacob – a werewolf – begins to bring her back to life. When Edward returns, a love triangle arises, growing increasingly complicated in Eclipse as Bella vacillates between Edward and Jacob, between vampire and werewolf. In Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer completes the saga with danger, pain, and ultimate peace as Bella, Edward, and Jacob finally achieve a balance in their relationships with one another.
Now, after finishing the final novel, Breaking Dawn, over Thanksgiving break, I have a much different view than I did in middle school. Bella might be obsessively in love with Edward, but she is also relatable to many teenage girls struggling to find their place in the world. Jacob might be a werewolf, but his sunny personality and fierce loyalty can inspire readers to find the best in hard circumstances and stay true to the people they love. This series offers much to young adult readers and adult readers alike. Not only future English teachers can benefit; all Cairn students who hope to influence adolescents in their future professions can learn from reading this kind of literature. Whether you will be a teacher, youth pastor, counselor, social worker, mentor, or parent, when you interact with young adults, knowing about the literature they enjoy can be a point of connection with them.
Don’t do what I did in middle school and reject a book based on one paragraph. Read, and you might be surprised by what you uncover.