For the third week into our Weblogs and Wikis project, I read the extremely popular novel Twilight by Stephenie Meyers. Compared to the other two novels, the writing style is somewhere between simple and flowery. My impression was a happy medium. I’m not sure if this should be factored into why it sold so many copies, as I believe there was a more prominent, obvious reason. Still, it was something I considered during my exploration of the novel.
I wrote the review first. Straightaway I noted that “this is a love story, no doubt about it. Though it may seem that everything starts with Bella leaving her mother and moving in with her father, the plot truly picks up when she meets Edward.” The main source of conflict in the novel is whether or not these two will remain together and how their relationship will survive.
Next came the research. Once again this involved browsing through social media sites such as Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Goodreads. While there was an endless amount of material to sift through, the theme of what I found was so consistent that this week there was no debate or question why the book is so well-known among young adults. There were “pictures of Edward and Bella at the prom, their first kiss, their wedding. Popular quotes during the time they were falling for each other.”
Essentially, there were two factors that caused such an surge of enthusiasm for the story. The romance and Edward Cullen. This may seem presumptuous to assume, but the fan sites really spoke for themselves. Especially considering that “this book was released during a time when social media was beginning to explode in a way it never has before. Word of mouth became more powerful than ever. Everyone was talking about Twilight, and passion for it spread like wildfire.” This was supported by the amount of sources I discovered.
“I loved falling in love with Edward,” reader Colleen Houck said.
“I wanted Edward to be real so that I could marry him and he could turn me into a vampire,” another wrote.
The movies made this even more frenzied. Robert Pattinson was cast as the male lead, and I saw so many posters and images and fan-art of him that his face is now committed to memory. “Young girls make up most of Twilight’s demographic,” I stated in my post. “Edward Cullen was the ultimate bad boy. Forbidden, mysterious, beautiful, and dangerous. The vampire angle only adds to this.”
Next I combed through countless interviews with the author. Blogs, Entertainment Weekly, YouTube, etc. One quote that I found particularly interesting was on CNN, and it referenced to her inspiration for the book.
It was two people in kind of a little circular meadow with really bright sunlight, and one of them was a beautiful, sparkly boy and one was just a girl who was human and normal, and they were having this conversation. The boy was a vampire, which is so bizarre that I’d be dreaming about vampires, and he was trying to explain to her how much he cared about her and yet at the same time how much he wanted to kill her. It really captured my imagination.
In the end I concluded with the fact that “in other posts, I’ve wondered why the book was so popular. Was it the struggle, the setting, the characters? In Twilight, there really is no debate. It’s the same reason Fifty Shades of Grey – which started off as Twilight fan fiction – did so well. The man. The forbidden. The romance. It’s certainly one of the biggest factors in answering the question for this project.”