Thursday, March 4, 2010

On Vampires and Desires (Part 1)

I spent two Sunday School lessons on vampires. The girls were thrilled. They were actually excited to be there. Go figure.

I promised my Sunday School girls I would read Twilight and give them a treatment of my response. Everyone, every single one, of my girls read the book, except for Hui--who just moved here from China.

I started by giving them a character analysis. Keeping my face straight while describing Edwards Cullen, the vampire, was quite a task. I lost it when I got to the part about his "set of perfect, ultrawhite teeth." We then talked about the highly volatile nature of the relationship between the Bella and Edward.

The girls accused me of over-reading. They said, and I am going to quote them word for word: "We don't read this the way we read the Bible, okay?" I replied by asking them whether they really wanted me to quiz them on the characters in the Bible. Needless to say, they regretted saying anything.

I was intentionally scrupulous. I wanted them to see how much goes by unobserved--the underlying assumptions that create the story that they liked so much. The unobserved is often the most dangerous. These have a way of leading our hearts astray without our knowing.

I actually found the series quite fascinating as a case study for human desires, particularly of the female kind. We know that it sells. We know that girls and women of a spectrum of ages love it. It sells because the story resonates with what we want to daydream about.

We desire to be desired. And this story provides a god-like, dazzling vampire who lusts after an ordinary and clumsy human girl--for her thoughts, her touch, her scent, her blood. We want to be loved, to be protected. We want to be in the story.

Link to Part II

6 comments:

Peter said...

hahaha hi irene. this makes me laugh so hard.

i read on a comedy site a while ago a description of how twilight works:

there is incredibly meticulous detail written into the way edward is described etc "OMG HIS SKIN SPARKLES" but there is contrarily minimal detail in the way bella is described. in fact she's hardly described at all.

so, readers (presumably girls) will very suitably ease into the "bella" role and assume that somewhere out there in the role is this dude with a perfect body who has no other pasttime than to hopelessly swoon over some girl who is not even given a real personality.

it makes me lol :)

Peter said...

oh also kind of relevant....but i've noticed that i've begun to read philosophy papers the same way i read the bible. i.e. very scrupulously, as you say. it's quite useful :D

E! said...

i can't believe you got through the whole series. i read it too and totally toxic relationships and subtleties aside it was just BAD writing.

and on another level, in someone else's words, Twilight can be summarized as "mousy mentally deranged girl has to choose between necrophilia and bestiality." GROSS.

E! said...

eeeek you have updated "about me"
the Suns are 4! :D

YeeLing said...

wow yea "two sons" xD scary!!!
hahaha this is quite entertaining! and good points x]
but you actually went through ALL 4 books of the series?!?!?!

whua jieji.. hahaha

Seda said...

I read the first and the last for the discussion, but eventually finished the other two just out of curiosity. =)