I wish that I had more to say this week... (and an eventual rant on Meyer's Eclipse)

I really do wish that I had more to say this week, but I am really just trying to make it through till the weekend! It is final exam week here on campus, so I have been grading and averaging until I am sick of it. I am also reminded, once again, how amazing it can be when people suddenly start to worry about their grades AT THE END OF THE SEMESTER. Tip to all students out there: don't do this. Stay on top of your grades and seek help before the final exam. Always a good thing.

Anyway, other than that, I have had a major breakthrough in my dissertation that involves a lot of Dickens research that I have done. So, it looks like my second chapter on Dickens will focus more on Great Expectations than Little Dorrit...and I am so happy about that!

In other news of my boring life: I recently had the opportunity to watch Eclipse (the 3rd Twilight saga movie, for those of you dead to Stephanie Meyer and her clutch on American youth). Don't get me wrong. I have read the books. As I think I have mentioned on here before, I liked the first three (Twilight and Eclipse, really) and hated the fourth...ugh...what a horrible novel. She really needed some editing. Like I said, though, I enjoyed the first three, though I don't think Meyer knows anything about Wuthering Heights and her attempt to pull that metaphor through, but, oh well.

As for the movies: I thought the acting was pretty bland in the first film and that the script was bad in the second film...but, that could just be because I didn't like the book New Moon. (New Moon is to overdone purple prose teen angst as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is to camping.)

The movie version of Eclipse, however, was a pleasant surprise. I thought that the acting was much stronger (except for the secondary characters like Alice...who I still want to mute every time I see her on screen). I just get sick of her girly and baby voice. It is disgusting. I want to say, "You are a vampire. You have it in you to be a ruthless killer. Buck up." I also thought that the script was better this time around.

Still, even though I love popular literature and had a great time reading the Twilight series (minus Breaking Dawn), I do have issues with it. Namely: Ladies, Edward Cullen is not the man you want to pursue. There is nothing romantic about him. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a properly alpha male as much as the next girl, but there is a difference between being overtly masculine and just plain creepy and domineering. I think that Edward's character should have been so much more, especially considering the literary heritage Meyer draws upon in creating him. But, he and Bella and everyone else (perhaps because of the obvious moral agenda in the novels) become stereotypes. Note to fiction writers: don't push your agenda down someone's throat. It makes readers angry. It pushes many of us away. (Example: LOVED Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series...until book 3...and then I just wanted to throw the book away. YES. WE GET IT, MR. PULLMAN. No need to brand us with your philosophy.)

Now, recently, I read an interview with Anne Rice (a video version is posted below). She made several points that I had already thought about and she clarified a comment that she made about Meyer's books. In an initial interview, someone misquoted her as saying that she thought (and I am paraphrasing here) that Meyer's books were ridiculous. What she actually said was that she thought it was ridiculous that immortals would choose to go to high school over and over again.

EXACTLY. And this is the problem I have with the books. Because lets face it: if this is the premise and you have male vampires 80+ years old (a lot older in some cases) going to high school over and over and over again...presumably dating...well, that is creepy. And Edward, like it or not, is verging on pedophilia. Just because he walks around in his beautiful corpse-like sparkled body doesn't mean that his mind doesn't age. He is an old man...really old.

I also hate how his character shifts from book one to book four. He fades so far from his original self. Ugh. Because here is the thing: you are already breaking the rules by pairing an old man with a teenager (a la "May/December" romance novels). He is, at least in the first book, acting the part. His behavior is scary and stalkeresque. He bosses Bella around, invades her mind (in book 2), grabs and pulls on her, and controls her every move. Okay. Seeing the genre (something else Anne Rice talks about very well in her clarification of statement on Meyer's books), I get it. I have seen the scenario a million times in romance novels, and Rice is correct in saying that Meyer is playing with an old formula...in fact, let's just post that conversation here:

I could just listen to Anne Rice all day. She is amazing. Anyway, like I said: I get it. I don't agree with it, but I get it and I even understand Edward's appeal--in the fantasy world--to a certain extent. But I would NEVER want a man like that in my life. Stalking, pushing, pulling, bossing around, chastising: these things do not equal love, as every smart woman knows.

And, again, I am not knocking Meyer's ability to tell a story...at least in the first book. Hey, wish I could come up with something successful. Still, I think we should always end any reading experience (good or bad or indifferent) by asking ourselves why we have had the reaction we have had. AND, then we should force ourselves to look at it from another point of view. It is the only way to learn. So, if you find yourself really loving a book or a movie, after basking in the euphoria of connection force yourself to hate on it for a while. It is a valuable experience (and, the opposite: if you hate something, force yourself to argue for its merit).

Thus ends the lesson. :)


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