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