From the two chapters of the book, I got to learn much more about Bella Swan, than watching the movie alone. In these two chapters, she takes us deeper into her personal world, and exposes all her insecurities, confusions and anxieties, as an adolescent girl. There are several internal conflicts that she must settle or at least mitigate. Her coming of age, and resulting the desire to put up an appearance of independence, decisiveness, individualistic and rebelliousness, is apparent in her decision to leave Phoenix and move to Forks. Despite her dislike towards the new place, she propels herself onto, the road to change, a break away from her comfort zone: staying with her mother, who tries to be her best friend, and being in the place that she likes. With anticipated challenges on the road ahead, she brings herself to refusing her mother’s desire to shield her, and instead, to face the consequences of her decision. Her departure from Phoenix, marks her entrance into the world of complications – learning to adjust to the new school, rebuilding her relationship with her father, and most significantly, falling in love with a vampire. She states, “When I landed in Port Angeles, it was raining. I didn’t see it as an omen – just unavoidable. I’d already said my goodbye to the sun.” (Twilight, First Night, p. 5) Indeed, she had said goodbye to the sun. The awaiting torrential is symbolic of her fate thereafter. A rainfall that casts off the glories sun, also awakens the sense of a revival of a dead aspiration. With the sound of raindrops hitting the rooftop, a new song is in order, for Bella Swan. Her life thereafter takes her through wild twists and turns, yet, she is engulfed in excitement, all the way through. Her life revolves around her vampire lover, whose love for her, surpasses the most romantic love stories ever written. His love for her is proven unshakable, when he puts his life at risk to protect her from both mortal beings and the vampires. He states, “I feel very protective of you.” When their hearts meet, there is no boundaries between the two different worlds, that they belong to. In short, both the book and the movie, capture my interests. And, taking the love story at face value, I understand why it is highly popular among its fans. Who would not fancy the idea of being loved so truthfully, by the most handsome guy?
But, I also understand the roots of the criticisms that have been piled up against Twilight. Many critics have questioned the sanity of it ardent fans. Thus, I think the trick to enjoying the story of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, is to never ponder beyond what is written on the pages or what it is shown on the screen. But well, as the students of Media Studies, we feel the urge to dissect our guinea pigs. We question the significances of what is represented, how it is represented on the screen, and what meanings could be drawn out of the representation. In Twilight, besides poking fun at the implausibility of love between a human being and a vampire, one could raise more serious concerns over how gender is scripted in the story. Bella Swan is portrayed as a quintessential female character, who is beautiful yet fragile and delicate. As many beautiful things in this world do, her delicate beauty calls for the need to be constantly protected. Hence the vegetarian vampires conspire in the mission of sending, the most handsome and romantic guy, Edward Cullen at her rescue… Just another fantasy. In short, let’s just take Twilight at face value.