A Defense of Twilight
Now for the other half of my brain: I am almost finished with my coursework for my PhD in English lit, so I feel like I might have a shred of credibility when I speak about novels. Here’s the thing: I don’t think Stephenie Meyers is the most brilliant author ever. (I’m also a little peeved with her editors; my editions, purchased as a boxed set of all four books, contain typos. TYPOS.) What I do think Meyers does extremely well is use cultural myths that resonate with readers, particularly female readers. A few of these are, in no particular order:
eternal youth/beauty (Not to be underestimated. Have you picked up a women’s magazine lately?)
conflating death and sex (A standard in vampire fiction, but Meyers uses it to great effect.)
reproductive anxiety (Linked to the sex=death theme.)
strength as the ability to protect oneself and others (vs. vulnerability to rape, etc.)
Meyers is not always original, but she is effective, and that’s what counts. Tracing these themes through the series would be a valuable exercise for students, and would prepare them for analysis of other novels.