The Twilight Saga – A Critique

The Twilight Saga is a gateway drug… lowering inhibitions and desensitizing.  It creates a fantasy world where girls experience Edward’s advances vicariously within their own imaginations.  My review follows:

“The apple on the cover of Twilight represents ‘forbidden fruit.’ I used the scripture from Genesis (located just after the table of contents) because I loved the phrase ‘the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.’ Isn’t this exactly what Bella ends up with? A working knowledge of what good is, and what evil is.” 

– Stephenie Meyer, author of The Twilight Saga

 

“The prohibition against eating ‘of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’ spells this out: ‘for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die’.”

– Catechism of the Catholic Church #396

What would you say if your high school aged daughter told you she was dating a vampire who had to fight the urge to kill her and suck her blood every time they were together?  And you thought dating a football player was bad enough!  If you were a sensible parent you would intervene and end the relationship, fearing that it might end in tragedy.  In fact, you would have an obligation to protect your daughter from the danger she was unwilling to recognize.  Your love for her would compel you.  So, what would you say if I told you your high school age daughter really is dating a vampire, vicariously, by reading The Twilight Saga?  Oh come on – you might think – it’s not the same thing at all.  The story is just a fantasy.  What’s the big deal?  Nobody is really getting hurt here.  Or are they?

Anyone who reads The Twilight Saga will notice that the story is full of disturbing things.  The main character Bella is in a romantic relationship with a vampire, Edward, who does have to fight the urge to kill her and suck her blood every time they are together.  She doesn’t tell people when they go out alone together, because she doesn’t want him to get in trouble if she never comes home.  How romantic!  When Edward leaves for a time, Bella begins indulging in reckless behavior which can cause her death.   She does this because it enables her to imagine Edward’s voice reprimanding her, which makes her feel like he cares.  She notices that she is becoming an adept liar due to the complicated nature of their relationship.  Their physical involvement damages her body and covers her in bruises because he has super human strength.  Carrying a half human/half vampire baby breaks her ribs and spine, covers her in yet more bruises and leads her to the frequent practice of drinking human blood out of a styrofoam cup to keep the unborn baby’s thirst satiated.  Meanwhile, Bella’s beloved Edward tries to persuade her to abort the child and consent to be impregnated by their friend Jacob instead, since Jacob’s child would not cause her the same difficulties.  Jacob’s response to this suggestion?  “Impossible.  Wrong.  Sick.  Borrowing Bella for the weekends and then returning her Monday morning like a rental movie?  So messed up.  So tempting.  I didn’t want to consider, didn’t want to imagine but the images came anyway…” (Breaking Dawn, p.181)  Jacob offers his services to Bella, to which she responds “‘There isn’t much you wouldn’t do for me, either, is there…I really don’t know why you bother.  I don’t deserve either of you.’” (Breaking Dawn, p.196)  

 

If there is anything striking in The Twilight Saga it is Bella’s seemingly total lack of a sense of her own dignity and worth.  Ultimately, she is killed during the delivery of Edward’s child because the vampire baby eats its way out of her body.  She is then reanimated by vampire venom which allows her to go on living – not as a human, but as a vampire.  This requires the surrender of her human soul, which she willingly relinquishes because, as she says earlier to the already damned Edward “You can’t make me go somewhere you won’t be…That’s my definition of hell.”  (Eclipse, p.455) And of course, it is Bella’s definition of hell that matters, right?  She defines her own reality.  She has decided that it is Edward who gives her life any sense of meaning or purpose even though their relationship has quite literally turned her into a monster.  In spite of all this, the series ends with Chapter 39 of Breaking Dawn entitled “The Happily Ever After”.  The only way we can be driven to accept the title of the ending is to confess with Bella in Twilight “I’ve always been good at repressing unpleasant things” (p.169).

And repressing unpleasant things is exactly what many are doing in response to The Twilight Saga.  Some are praising the series.   Phrases like “old fashioned morals” are being used to describe the content.  Bella and Edward’s relationship has been called a chaste courtship because they do not consummate it until after they are married.   We parents are meant to be happy about this, placated by the fact that our teen daughters will not be reading the most erotic scenes until the fourth book.  Isn’t that laudable?  But honestly, what effort is being made at living chastely in the first three volumes when the couple repeatedly place themselves in occasions of sin and then act on their impulses?  Edward sneaks into the house without her father’s knowledge and lies in bed with her all night long – every night!  Old fashioned?  Chaste?  The descriptions certainly aren’t. Meyer relates these at times in disturbing detail.  While we’re pretending the couple’s behavior is chaste, we may as well pretend it is prudent, honest and obedient.  There is a reason Bella’s father would not allow this behavior if he knew about it.   Why should our daughters play along?  

Edward is lauded by many for his self control because he seems to have a handle on his sexual desire and his blood lust, cutting things off at just the right moment.  Repeatedly.  This fact is meant to be proof of his love for Bella.  Let’s grant for the sake of argument that it would even be possible to habitually dance on the edge of a cliff, teeter a bit, but regain balance just prior to falling off.  Is this kind of control consistent with Edward’s character?  He gives in to his desire to pursue a relationship with Bella saying “I decided as long as I was going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly.”  (Twilight, p.87) He then goes on to say “I got tired of trying to stay away from you.  So I’m giving up… Yes – giving up trying to be good.  I’m just going to do what I want now, and let the chips fall where they may… But I am warning you now that I am not a good friend for you.”  (Twilight p.88) He constantly tells Bella how bad he is for her but keeps showing up anyway.  If he tells her how bad he is before he gets physical with her, does it somehow make him noble?   No.  If he was truly a hero, there would be no Twilight Saga because he would have left her in peace.  But he doesn’t suck Bella’s blood!  Isn’t that great?  No.  He may not kill her with his fangs, but their relationship does cause her death – both physical and spiritual.  But he tries to discourage her from becoming a vampire because she will lose her soul!  Yes, and then he agrees to it as long as she will marry him first.  He acknowledges “Bella’s life means nothing to her” (Breaking Dawn, p.181) and takes great advantage of that fact.  This is not love and Edward is not a good friend for Bella.  He is not a good friend for our daughters, either.

 

So, what about Bella?  If the relationship between Bella and Edward is not one of love, then what is it?  Her friend Jacob describes her as “a classic martyr.  She’d totally been born in the wrong century.  She should have lived back when she could have gotten herself fed to some lions for a good cause.” (Breaking Dawn, p.187)  But what is a martyr?  A martyr is a witness.  And what witness does Bella give?  Is she heroic?  No.  She is a girl who will do what it takes to get what she wants in spite of the cost.  She uses and is used.  Sometimes she suffers, sometimes she causes others to suffer.  Either is of no consequence to her.  That is not heroism, that is selfishness.  Some people endure incredible personal suffering to get a face lift, but it doesn’t mean getting a face lift is heroic!  Bella exercises her right to choose and does so badly, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.  There is no “good cause” Bella sacrifices for – only her own will.   As it says in the Catechism regarding Original Sin and the eating of the forbidden fruit: “In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him.  He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good…’” (CCC #398)  She eats the forbidden fruit, but unlike Adam and Eve, her eyes are not opened and she does not feel shame.  Her death is simply called “The Happily Ever After”.  This is one fantasy our daughters can do without.

  *For an example of a true gentleman, visit my new post “A YOUNG MAN OF HEROIC VIRTUE”*

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72 Comments

  1. […] found one that calls this movie out for what it is in stronger terms than i am putting here.  Spes Unica calls this movie out in no undertain terms..terms i did not think to use here but i totally agree […]

  2. I disagree with this review. If it is, in fact, a review of the movie alone, it should not mention Bella’s pregnancy, her physical involvement or anything of that matter. The character Edward is a good role model for children and teens to, as you say, mentally “date”. He is persistent in his approach to make sure Bella is virtuous, and refuses to have sex with her before marriage. How is this a bad example? A lot of the facts you use could easily be twisted the opposite way, to support twilight, as it is all in the way you use your words. Edward Cullen may have kept showing up, but when he does, he is constantly worrying about keeping her safe. He is tormented so much to the point of excruciation by her being in pain. He may have wanted to go back to Bella, but he did NOT in New Moon. Bella found him because he was in trouble. She saved him from death. His morals did NOT allow him to suck any human’s blood, a constant torture to him, yet he beared it for humanity. How is this evil? Bella is human, and every human sins. She lies. No human today who isn’t a saint or Jesus himself will find themselves completely free of lying. God forgives them. God will forgive Bella. It is not Edward’s fault that Bella got pregnant, they WERE married, and did what most couples will do on their honeymoon. There is no possible way that they could have known about her getting pregnant. Both Bella and Jacob oppose to Jacob offering his, to quote him “stud services.” Although Bella will drink blood, notice she NEVER murders a human, and shies away from the thought of drinking human blood. She runs when she is tempted by humans. God tells us o resist temptation, not to be untempted at all times. She RESISTED! She did not give in to temptation. Edward and Bella, along with Carlisle, and the rest of the Cullens, know that you do not lose your soul when you become a vampire. Edward thought that, but truly, he is proved wrong. Bella does not lose her soul. You are incorrect in assuming that. Edward lying in her bed WITH HIS CLOTHES ON is the same as lying on a couch with clothes on. How is that bad? Also, there are numerous, countless times Edward is blaming himself for being with Bella. All the time, he beats himself up for being with her. He loves her, sure, but does he want her to love him? For his own benefit, yes, but not for hers. He tried to leave her so she could lead a normal life. For you to focus solely on the one time he blames her, that is lying by the act of omission. They do not say anything about being against God, god isn’t mentioned at all.
    Something I’d like to add- What do you have against vampires? According to this novel, they are people, Just. Like. Us.
    Therefore, you being against them is solely racist.
    And, although racist is not a sin, would you like to be discriminated against for your species?
    I didn’t think so.
    Do unto others as you would do unto yourself.

  3. Dear A Christian –
    Thank you for taking the time to express your views. I still stand by my review 100%, and I will address some of your concerns.
    1) This is a review of The Twilight Saga – that is, the entire story – Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. As soon as I see the movie, I will provide a review of that. However, as a parent, I always find it helpful to know the “big picture” when it comes to what my children are getting involved in. Most girls I know who are going to see the Twilight movie over the next few days have already read the books. For those who have not read the books yet, they may want to after seeing the movie. I just want to give their parents a heads up.
    2) I disagree that Edward is virtuous. I think our society has lowered the bar significantly when it comes to defining virtue. Edward is called virtuous because a) he doesn’t kill Bella (obviously that is a good thing, but we must acknowledge that it is a bare minimum!); b) because he does not have intercourse with her before marriage (I think my review deals with this issue pretty thoroughly – for a Christian, chastity does not mean living on the edge and hoping you don’t fall off the cliff. They do get very physical before they are married, which is inappropriate in and of itself and I think it is a very unrealistic aspect of the story to suggest that he can always pull himself away at these tense, passionate moments); c) and finally, because he discourages Bella from becoming a vampire because she will lose her soul (but then he goes ahead and allows it anyway as long as she marries him first. Keep in mind, too, that it is Edward who wants to abort his own unborn child. It is also Edward who comes up with the scenario of Jacob impregnating Bella. And as for Jacob being opposed to the idea – well, he says it is sick, but he offers to do it anyway! See – that is the misleading thing about these books. Because the characters express confusion or torment when they are doing bad things, we are meant to think that they are good – but that is wrong! They have these brief moments of seeing things as they should be (we might call it a twinge of conscience) but then they go ahead and carry on anyway. Edward does it again and again. He keeps telling Bella he is bad for her, but he does not end the relationship. Yes, he goes away for a while, but well after they are in deep – and he messes with Bella’s head as he is leaving. They both lie. And you are right that every human sins – but to be forgiven, we need to see that we have done something wrong, be sorry for it, and resolve not to do it again (Obviously Bella is not a Catholic, so she would not go to Confession). That is called repentance. We need to reform our lives, not just assume that God will give us a pass if we are a nice person.
    A Christian, you bring up an interesting point about no one being completely free of lying except Jesus Himself or a Saint – but did you know that we are called to be free of lying? Did you know that each and every one of us is called by God to be a Saint? You may think I have said something crazy – and it is crazy if we have to rely on our own strength – but we don’t have to rely on our own strength. Jesus provides all the grace we need to be a Saint if we truly want to be… but we need to ask Him and be willing to work hard and turn away from sin.
    I saw no proof in the story that vampires did not lose their souls. Bella didn’t care whether or not she did and was willing to hope for best.
    Lying in a bed or lying on a couch with someone can be equally imprudent, although a bed is of its nature more intimate – and as you will know if you have read the books – just because they have clothes on (although there are some attempts to take clothes off) does not mean that their behavior is appropriate. I am not going to quote the scenes here because I do not want to write things on a blog for people to see that risk putting inappropriate images in their heads, but if you have read the books you will know. If you haven’t read the books, don’t bother.
    I have not committed any sins of omission in my review. I have focused on things that parents should know about. Also, racism is most definitely a sin! As for what I have against vampires – this is difficult to answer since they are fictional characters. In Twilight, all the vampires except the Cullens make a habit of brutally killing innocent people – so it is like asking what I have against murderers. I do have something against murderers – everybody should – because they brutally murder innocent people. That’s wrong. Being wary of murderers is not racism – it is just common sense. It doesn’t mean murderers aren’t human – they are and are worthy of the respect due to human life – but they can be locked up for the sake of the common good. As for the Cullens – although they work hard at being “vegetarian” (sucking animal blood), they admit to having failed at times. That’s not good.

  4. I read all four books. They are a thinly veiled Mormon apologetic on many of their more contraversial doctirnes. I just finished blogging about it, and I would love to hear if more Christian readers caught onto the true message of the books. This is not a thirst for Christ, at least on the authors part. I do think she is witnessing about her religion though. http://writetools.wordpress.com

  5. Although there are certain things I disagree with, such as just plain lying in bed with someone else, doing nothing other than kissing (which doesn’t strike me as erotic or overly-sensual, no matter what kind of kiss it is) with your clothes on as sinful or “non-chaste” (keep in mind that I’m not Catholic, or any other religion for that matter), I do agree with you on some of these points if not most of them. I won’t go over all of them, but there is one thing I think you should have added in there:

    The fact that the vampires skin glitters when they’re in the sunlight. That strikes me as God-like, and therefore rather blasphemous. Vampires are anything but holy or angelic, as the book would lead people to believe. I think that’s another thing that leads girls to think that Edward is one of the “good” guys. The only reason girls want to read it is because it strikes them as “romantic.” It’s the forbidden love concept that draws them in. Forbidden romances aren’t always the ideal ones, not in reality anyways. But with teenage girls and how they are, it’s a small wonder that they are drawn to it.

    Personally, I think Twiligh is a pretty decent in terms of it’s story line (keep in mind I only saw the movie, I haven’t read the books), but your review is also dead on. In terms of morality, the story is….eh, I’d say kinda so-so, but that’s being leniant. Great review, I really enjoyed reading it. I’m gonna show my religion teacher this review. Should make for an interesting discussion during class. 🙂

  6. Gray Shade – you make a very interesting point about the glittering vampire skin. I will say that when Edward took Bella to the woods and stood in the sun and began to glitter, it made me think of the scene in the Gospel where Jesus is Transfigured in front of 3 of his Apostles – but I figured that was just me thinking it because I am a religious ed. instructor! Bella refers to him as an angel pretty often in the books, and you are right that vampires are anything but holy or angelic. Hope your class goes well!

  7. I read all four of these books before allowing my teenage daughters to read them, the same practice that I have employed since they were old enough to go to the bookshelf or their school library. I read a great deal, at great speed and completed all these books within two days. They are not great literature but I did not find them objectionable for my 18 and 16 year olds. Regarding the issue of losing one’s soul, Edward states this as a sop to the traditional view of vampirism but I might point out that his “father” Carlisle does not share that view. Carlisle was a minister’s son, changed through an act of violence, who retained his values and mores despite his vampirism. He attempted to instill in Edward the hope that God would deal with Vampires according to His mercy, that no one could really know what the state of the soul was. The character seemed to possess a high level of compassion, serving as a doctor despite the tempting human blood he encountered in the ER.
    I did not get the impression that the vampires were anything but flawed humans who became incapable of living normally. I prefer my fiction a little more classic but this didn’t strike me as unacceptable, especially as I was able to discuss the books with my kids at great length as I have done and still do with all the books we read.

  8. If Catholics can only read books about people who have no flaws and never sin, I’m throwing in the towel. Literature exists because people have original sin, because they make mistakes, which create conflict, which IS THE STORY. Not saying Twilight is great lit. It’s definitely not. Bella and Edward are not saints. Neither was King David. Neither were any of the characters in novels by Flannery O’Connor, Evelyn Waugh, or any Catholic novelist of any literary achievement.

    If I want to moralize my kids, I don’t hand them a novel.

  9. Dear Rhynnah –
    Yes, I am aware that Dr. Cullen doubts if vampires lose their souls. However, the conversation Bella has with him is a few pages long in well over 2000 pages of text. Edward repeats over and over again his conviction that they DO lose their souls – I don’t know what you mean about a “sop to the traditional view of vampirism”… are we now meant to see vampirism as a good thing?
    I do not think Dr. Cullen was compassionate. He “turned” dying humans into vampires without their consent, because he had decided that life as a vampire was preferable to death. This is in stark contrast to the view of St. Paul, who viewed death as a gain because he would be with Christ. If anything, Dr. Cullen is more culpable because he rejected his own minister father’s faith (he expresses this clearly) – a faith in Christ and salvation – and believed instead that life as a vampire was not only better for him but something that should also be imposed on others at his discretion.
    I think the author’s intent was that we see the vampires as nothing but flawed humans incapable of living normally. That way, we have sympathy for evil.

  10. Dear Betty –
    Your comment “If Catholics can only read books about people who have no flaws and never sin, I’m throwing in the towel” is correct – and to suggest that I believe that Catholics can only read books about people who have no flaws and never sin is simply wrong. It looks like an attempt to dismiss my arguments by posing an extreme and irrational straw man.
    I would be interested if you take on the problems I raise point for point – then you will see that it is not the flaws and sinfulness of the characters that I object to, but rather the fact that they are not open to correction or repentance.
    King David sinned seriously more than once, and he humbly asked God’s forgiveness. The immature characters in The Twilight Saga do not even think they need to be forgiven. Often, they acknowledge they are about to do something wrong – then they go ahead and do it any way – and then the story moves on. Cool…

  11. The comment about a sop to the tradition simply meant that this is the same line issued forever in relation to vampires in fiction. Certainly the constant reiteration by Edward brings an element of drama into his relationship issues with Bella (as well as places Edward at his developmental age of 17, not accepting his surrogate father’s reassurances, lol,). Carlisle does turn from his father’s religion when he becomes a vampire. It was not about Christ or salvation that makes Carlisle turn from his father’s religion but because his father’s religion was depicted as being more about making certain that vampires were destroyed than about offering salvation.Had Dr. Cullen remained in England and returned to his father’s house, he too would have been killed. It would have been more accurate for the time period if the change that Carlisle experienced had been conversion to Catholicism, since Dr. Cullen’s father was protestant and the Elizabethan period was really quite antipapist but that is another discussion. In reality, we are talking about FICTION here. There are no vampires in reality so the state of their immortal souls is really moot. It is a non starter, a red herring Even were vampires to exist, what right do we have to judge to state of another’s soul? We are called to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, not to work out other peoples’. That sort of authority was placed with the Apostles by Christ Himself, accompanied by the Magisterium of the Church. Even the Church is cautious about exerting this authority as evidenced by Her Cannonization process and great pains are taken to preserve the gravity of such authority.

    Quite frankly, I have spoken to my daughters about this series at great length and we all agree that this series is more about abstinence than chastity, more about the unevenness in relationships (where one wants to proceed farther than the other is willing) and repercussions in choices made rashly or impetuously.

    There were a couple of reasons for Edward being a vampire and for Jacob being a werewolf and that is because those genres SELL. They are what is being demanded by the book buying audience at this time and Ms Meyers cashed in on it. As an author, I can tell you that the books you see hitting shelves now were negotiated and sold more than a year in advance. Ms Meyers was simply lucky in hitting the correct numbers in the lottery. I am grateful that she even attempted to include some sort of morality in her writing. I do not see anyone offering competition to her at this time.

    I see reviews like yours, completely denigrating these books, and other reviews, where the writer is applauding the desirable elements and I feel disappointed. Rather than attacking someone’s work, pluck out the useful and worthy so that it is something to be emulated. I do not see contemporary authors producing books with strong morals or attitudes, I have seen no novels promoting an almost perfect Catholic standpoint with the exception of one novel on Catholicity.com. Many books do not present strong role-models who aren’t subject to human frailty. In previous generations, denying such materials may have been acceptable but they aren’t realistic in this time period. The sheer availability of printed material, both in real book or ebook form, would be like stemming the tide with a demitasse spoon: futile at best.

    Our children are exposed to so many things in this world. I can’t help but feel that the people who decry everything produced because it’s flawed are missing the boat. We are told “whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are good, whatsoever things are of good report, think on these things” but instead we look at what isn’t perfect and discard the total without making a balanced judgment. We focus upon the negatives in our daily lives, which is evidenced by the quality of work produced by our news programs, our television watching habits, our publishing houses. Rather than jump into the Twilight series now, after four books have been published and become mainstream, it would have been wiser to have monitored the series during the actual writing of the four book arc, to have applauded the author for her attempts to not degenerate into teen-age porn and to have inundated her with requests for better presentations of the desirable elements of her work. If more people put their money on books with a better message contained in them, this series might never have been published at all. Publishers buy what trends tell them will sell and what sells now is dark fiction, despair and pain. Look at the bookracks at your local store: either dark conspiracies or escapist fluff. Our teens didn’t create this trend, their parents did. Want to change it? Buy positivity, look for writers who have morals in their work and support them with your money AND your feedback, Stop eating up the garbage that spills from writers who know that the public will suck it up and the producers of it will change what they are buying to put out to the public. It really is simple supply and demand.

  12. Hi Rhynnah.
    I don’t think it is fair to say that I am denigrating these books. I am attempting to counter a publicity campaign – encouraged by the author – which claims these are chivalrous and promote chastity. I think the facts show otherwise. Denigrating is smearing something. It is not denigrating to make parents (and others) aware that there is much more to this than the media claims. I don’t know ANYONE who decries EVERYTHING because it is flawed – but there are lines that need to be drawn. Some things are sufficiently flawed that they should be rejected outright. I think people make a lot of excuses – why our age is so much different from every other age, and how denying these materials is somehow unrealistic now… no it isn’t. I think virtue has been hard in every age. Jesus said that it is a narrow way that leads to life. It comes back to the Nike motto – just do it! Take a stand. Don’t let certain things into the house. Are there alternatives? Sure – although they won’t necessarily be considered cool. Michael O’Brien is an excellent contemporary Catholic author.

  13. My daughter borrowed these books from a very Christian friend so I was slow to check them out. She is 13 (12 at the time) and I tend to check out what she’s reading. I believe people have had a problem with your review because they have a misconception about what sin is or what “being chaste” actually means. I skimmed through the books and found the to be quite full of eroticism and certainly not right for a 12-13 yr old. And I’m sure there must be something better to read to learn about man’s sinfulness and redemption(which these books don’t seem to address). We have to stop falling for what society says is cool, this series is plain stupid. There’s much better out there, try Regina Doman and her Fairytale Novels, great stuff for teens!

  14. You christians need to be stopped.

    I am tired of your intolerance and wanting to drag america back to the dark ages.

    Sorry, but I don’t want to relive Witch Burnings or an American version of the Talibhan

  15. So we should accept premarital sexuality and fornication as a reality and instead of giving our daughters real information about their self worth and value we should give them birth control pills. This is not reality. The American Taliban is not coming from the right it is coming from the left. Watch your back.

  16. I am tired of your oppression and taking away people’s rights!

  17. Oppression? Rights? What oppression? What rights? You are only a victim in your mind. Do a little research on true oppression and human rights violations around the world. We are very fortunate to live in this great country.

  18. Hey, I was a football player in high school, and was always a gentleman! But I suppose I understand what you mean by the stereotype. Anyway, thank you for protecting our girls (and boys, many of whom also wish to be chaste).

  19. I disagree about your statement that Edward is not a good role model. I have seen this scenario too many times in my high school: when girls–well raised, Christian girls–who see sex and a boy who pressures her as “cool” and okay. Many girls I know who have read the Twilight saga have changed their minds. They see Edward, who is gorgeous, sweet AND who waits until marriage to have sex, and they want a guy like him. It is changing the idea of what is “cool,” from the jock who pressures a girl, to a gentlemen who waits for one. Is that so bad?

  20. Okay – I had a really long rant, which I then submited, while forgetting to fill in the Name and Mail spaces, which ment it all got deleted. So I’m a little angry right now. So I apologize if this sounds frustrated and impatient.

    A little about me. I read compulsivley, constantly, possible unhealthily.

    I’m fifteen years old right now, and I was thirteen when I read Twilight (this was back when there were only two books, and it wasn’t popular yet at all). So I’m one of those impressionable young teenage girls that read this series while dreaming of Edward.

    Only I’m probably not qualified to speak for that group, as I neither like Edward, nor Jacob, at least not as my favorite characters. They’re still really awsome, there are just so many other characters that are amazing.

    First off, Carlisle, whom someone criticized earlier, is about as perfect as someone could reasonable become if they were turned into a vampre. Assuming that everything in this story is assumed to be true… I know that in real life vampires don’t exist. Just for the sake of arguement now.

    Okay – so he wasn’t voluntarily turned into a vampire. He tried to kill himself when he realized he was a vampire, and thought he would have to drink human blood. I think that definitley has to count as a plus for him. Yes, suicide is wrong, but I’m sure it’s a better alternitive then killing many, many people.

    So, he suffers for years, resisting temptation, trying to help people as much as he can.

    The only things he does wrong, for the first couple hundred years, is that he lies about being a vampire, and all related lies (really, who can blame him). And if you want to take a really christian view of it, that he doesn’t attend church. But honestly, very few of the characters in the books I’ve read attend church (and when I say I read a lot, I mean a hundred plus books a year… people don’t believe me when I say I can read a book in a day without breaking a sweat).

    So after a couple hundred years of living as a vampire, basically supressing his desires, instead trying to help people, he decides he is incredibly lonely and wants companions. I really don’t think I, or anyone I know, could have even lasted those couple hundred years.

    And at that point, its actually pretty easy to justify, though he probably didn’t think about it this way. Either a) he has a soul, which he believes he does, therefore he wouldn’t be condeming anyone to hell, or anything or b) he doesn’t have a soul, at which point it doesn’t matter what he does, because it wouldn’t do anything anyway.

    Okay… I really didn’t mean to make this entire post about Carlisle, the one I had before it got deleted had Jasper and Bella in there too, as well as a defense of the book in general, and of the erotic scenes… but I’m too lazy to type that now… plus someone was actually condemning Carlisle a few posts up, which means the fact that he is a very moral character isn’t a given.

    Maybe I’ll come back later and actually adress some of the points.

  21. I love Twilight. I love the book AND I love the movie. Not many ppl can say they love both. I am going to say that too many people are totally againt it because its not right. A vampire falling in love with a girl. Its a movie. Its a book. Nobody is making anyone buy the book, buy a movie ticket. People think it is wrong moral. I think that its a book. Its not real life. Even if vampires are real(im not saying they are or not) I think that anything is possible. But too many people have close mind and can only accept ceratin ideas…the basic ideas that do not harm anyone and everythning is “perfect” Twilight is an amazing book and movie. It was well written. It is like Harry Potter. It goes against what ppl belive in and then ppl go into mass chaos. I think that Edward]’s chartcter gives girls a veiw of what a real man is like. What a real man should do. I have met 0 real men in life. It shows girls not to settle for anything in a weird twisted way. Edward is almost perfect except for his one fault-being a vampire. Otherwise he is a good loyal man. (but seeing how i am married to edward cullen he is off limits hehehehehe) Too many people take it to hearts—OMG its against my religion!!!! For one. its a BOOK/MOVIE.(if it happens in real life okayy its not your concern.) There are so many different religions that go against one another. GET OVER IT. Im sure that the author didnt write this to give christains a mass chaotic breakdown. Its a well writen book that sold unbelievable well and many love. The movie was a 50-50 way. some like some dont. But those who do are in love with it. Mostly girls because of the romance. Some guys becasue of the violence. The girls are in love with Edward not just becasue of his physical apperance but because of his kind heart. This is a unrealitical point that people do not take into consideration. No vampire is going to walk into your life and fall in love with you…and if he does great! then you can have him bite you for being such a jackass and become immortal. Ill prolly come back to say somethings about other stupid ppl and their “concerns” with the movie/book

  22. Dear Carrie –
    I am really sorry that you have met 0 real men in your life. That is horrible. But please understand that Edwared Cullen is not the answer. It is contradictory to dismiss concerns about Twilight because it is only a book/movie and then say you are married to Edward. Just admit that it means more to you than other books/movies. The same thing is happening to millions of girls. That is because your heart is made for love, and so you are looking for a place to share it – to share who you are and be loved in return. Understand that Christians aren’t having a mass chaotic breakdown about this. Christians have just been blessed enough to have encountered Jesus Christ, and anyone else pales by comparison (especially very pale vampires!) Believe it or not, Christians want other people to be as happy as they are. My life is full because it is centered on Christ – THE real Man. I suggest you explore the page on real love and learn a little more. May God bless you.

  23. In defense of Carrie Cullen to spesunica

    I’m fairly certain that Carrie is well aware that she’s not actually married to Edward.

    I happen to be married to be married to Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy, and Tom Riddle depending on the mood I’m in – and a fair amount of my friends are married to one, two, or all three. Or some other combination of characters. This doesn’t cause any dispute.

    Some of those friends are also married to Twilight characters as well, though cross-booking seems to cause some problems – the intense Twilght fans and Harry Potter fans don’t quite get along…

    I’m more on the Harry Potter side of the camp – as you can see by my marrige choices. But anyway… that’s not the point.

    The point is that people are aware its not real… people just say they love / are married to any character they think is really attractive. Just in case you actually thought she was serious.

    Hmmm. Maybe I should consider Carlisle…

    Oh, and as a side note, you can’t say that about Jesus Christ, because many people would get offended – but book characters are ALWAYS free, despite who they’re actually dating/marrying in the books.

  24. I really think all this Christian stuff is ridiculous when it comes to Twilight. They’re purely fantasy books, written from a dream the Stephanie Meyers had and kept expanding on. They’re a good read, and it’s not like anybody’s daughter is going to end up having sex with a vampire because they don’t exist.

    I love these books because of how much Edward cares for Bella, but you have to understand that they cannot live without each other, no matter how hard they try. The movie was just as good, and I’ve seen it three times. My parents have no problem with it, and they my family goes to church every Sunday, I got to religion and confession, and my pastor made a joke about people who think like fantasy goes against God. If he doesn’t have a problem with it, nobody else should.

  25. And btw, all this talk about sex and stuff is pretty stupid. They waited, didn’t they? It was Bella’s choice. You really can’t tell people what to read, because America doesn’t work like that. Live with the fact that Edward/Robert Pattinson is dreamy and girls want a man who will treat them right, which is exactly what Edward does. He’s constantly telling Bella how beautiful she is, how smart and intelligent she is, and that he doesn’t deserve her. Maybe if some of you people actually read the books, you wouldn’t have to read about this from a 13-year-old girl!

    P.S. Carlisle and Edward are great examples of people take lemons and make lemonaid! They don’t want to be vampires, but they compromise by not hurting humans…Carlisle saves people! I’m a vegetarian, for crying out loud, and I know it’s better to eat animals than humans, or are you going to tell me not eating meat goes against God as well?

    Consider it.

  26. Dear Joseph –
    Pardon my lame attempt at humor… Yes, I know there are good football players out there! Thanks for being one.
    An observer – Your observations are good ones. I think you might find, though, that if girls at your high school really are looking at Twilight as an example of what they can have, they are going to be really disappointed. Have you read the post called “Why is ‘making out’ unjust?!” You see, good Christian girls like the one you describe need to be encouraged to embrace chastity. Chastity is more than simply not having sexual intercourse. It is acknowledging the dignity of the human person as a child of God. The chaste person has a healthy sense of self worth and will not let him/herself be used. He or she will also refuse to use others because it is an affront to the dignity of the person. It has to crack the “how far can I go…” mentality – because that is a selfish mentality of use: “How much pleasure can I get out of this person before I go all the way?” Sexual pleasure is meant for marriage, and trying to get as much of it as we can prior to marriage while barring intercourse itself is a dishonest way to live.

  27. Teenage girl – address the objections when you have a chance.

  28. Sandy – read my new post: “A Young Man of Heroic Virtue”.

  29. I’m never reading anything you spew about again. It’s totally bogus. The only way anybody knows what God really wants is if he’s sending you messages…are you communicating with God? Didn’t think so. Stop bashing our books!

  30. Sorry… I have a very short attention span sometimes… both of my other points were sort of off topic…

    Anyway, the point it… wait, there was a point here somewhere….

    Oh, okay, right, I found it.

    In defense of Bella/Edward – Honestly, a small amount of people wait until marrage to have sex. I know kids my age who haven’t waited (which is kind of sad actually, I’ know I’m waaaay to young to do stuff like that, even if I’m not completley sold on waiting until marrigee) – and a fair amount of those kids were raised with a lot more religion then I was. And now that I think about it, a lot of teenage romance novels have the main characters, if not having sex, then at least being equally intimate to Bella and Edward were before they were married. Usually with more than one person.

    In defense of vampires – the point of the vampires is that they are trying to resist what comes naturally to them, in order not to kill innocent people, at great pain to themselves. Yes, this doesn’t have an overtly Christian theme – most books don’t, especially most fantasy. Read between the lines. I’m sure that all the vampires regret any people that they’ve killed and strive to aviod doing it again… yes, I know that murder is worse than most sins normal people do… but they’re vampires, so not killing people for them is a lot more difficult than not lying is for most people.

    And Carlise is openly religious, using God as the reason for not killing people, even if he isn’t overtly Christian (I”m not going harp on about Carlise again – you can re-read my other post if you want to).

  31. Never mind, I lied. Forgive me. 😉 One last thing about Carlise.

    Earlier, in reply to another post you claim that, “If anything, Dr. Cullen is more culpable because he rejected his own minister father’s faith (he expresses this clearly) – a faith in Christ and salvation – and believed instead that life as a vampire was not only better for him but something that should also be imposed on others at his discretion.”

    SInce I happen to have a copy of the book, I’ll give the quote explaining why Carlise rejected his father’s faith. “He was the only son of an Anglican pastor… His father was an intolerant man. As the Protestansts cam into power, he was enthusiastic in his persecution of Roman Catholics and other religions… The burned a lot innocent people… At first Carlisle was a disappointment; he was not quick to accuse, to see demons where they did not exist. But he was persistnt, and more clever than his father. He actually discovered a coven of true vampires…”

    So please explain what was wrong with Carlise as a human, that he deserved to lose his soul and turn into a vampire (since I think you are in the camp that vampires don’t have souls – that’s why it was evil for Carlisle to turn the others, and for Bella to be turned by Edward).

    Sorry for the tangent… I have a short attention span… I said that earlier… right?

  32. Great review. Wait, that’s an understatement — great mission to get the word out. Moms like me need more info to help us guide our children and we don’t always have the time to do the digging and research ourselves.

    Have you read Steven Greydanus’ review on Decent Films Guide? It is well worth reading. This is what a good review from a Catholic perspective can bring to the discussion. Not only does he do a great critique but he also sheds some Catholic light on the male / female relationship issues.

    http://decentfilms.com/sections/articles/twilight.html

  33. RESPONSE TO GREY SHADE

    you said that the vampires glittering skin struck you as God-like, and therefore blasphemous. that makes no sense to me.

    First of all, blasphemy is speaking evil of God, not posessing glittering skin.
    Secondly, why is glittering skin God-like? Noi one really knows what God looks like. You could just as easily say that rainbow plumage is God-like, therefore parrots are blasphemous.
    I f the beauty of God and heaved is really beyond our imagination, what is blasphemous about imagining the beauties we are able to?

    Thirdly, Meyer does not at any time refer to her vampires as “holy” or imply it in any way.
    Fourthly, “angelic” is a rather common metaphore now. Who hasn’t heard a husband lovingly refer to his wife as “an angel”.
    Who hasn’t heard a moher or guardian call thier children ” thier little angels”. People have flaws and are not literally angelic. there is not any implication of that sort when a person is being described as angelic. it’s just a metaphore.

  34. Thanks so much for the review! A few of my friends have young girls (5th graders) who want to read the series. I passed this review on and they were MUCH relieved, eager to deny the request to their daughters with good reasoning. Please keep up the good work. There is so much wonderful literature out there for young women!

  35. I want to commend you for your clarity and consecration. What separates you from the other “Christian” reviewers of this series is that your view point is that of discernment rather than intellect. The two trees in Genesis represent a living in a life union with with God (loving what He loves, hating what He hates) or living by our own unreliable, independent mental determination of “good” verses evil.

    “Good” and “evil” are relative concepts. and subject to rationality and manipulation by our own fallen nature. We are warned – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Prov. 3:5,6

    Eve “saw” that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was good for food, (she leaned on her own understanding) and that it was pleasant to the eyes, (isn’t it always) and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. What an appropriate picture on the cover!

    We must be a people who live by the discernment of our spirit indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus Christ. He knows this is POISON. May God have mercy on the members of His body – to unveil our eyes to this “angel of light”.

    This is not optional. And the consequences are a matter of life and death. These books

  36. I think some people will always use whatever means necessary to advance their agendas. I am a practicing catholic and see nothing wrong with this series. It explores many human themes which we deal with on a daily basis life and death, love, sacrifice, reconciling the desire to be good and with the desire to be happy. The major flaw in the the attack on this book is the assumption that vampires are evil by their very nature. Isn’t a basic tenet of Christian faith free will and one’s conscious choice to be saved? Our faith dictates that all we need to be saved is to recognize Christ as our savior and through him God as our only truth. So are we condemning these fictional characters – these vampires for what has happened to them by chance? With the exception of Bella the rest of the Cullen clan were victims of circumstance in their destiny. They rise above their physical predicament and lead a non-murderous life. Sure some of them fell along the way but they repented as our doctrines say we must in order to receive God’s forgiveness. Bella becomes a vampire by choice but takes no lives – where is the sin in that? As for the boyfriend lying in the same bed or the constant temptations that the characters pull themselves back from succumbing too – what’s wrong with that? That is exactly what the life of a Christian is about – rising above temptation. Jesus said so himself : let he who is free from sin cast the first stone. Who is a better Christian the one who does not sin because he has never been tempted or the one who despite being tempted repeatedly rises above the temptation? Who is to say the first one would have resisted if in fact he was tempted? [ See St. Augustine’s Confessions – tenth Book temptations with extensive reference to the bible] The author of the critique above believes he finds ways in which the books are against our religious teachings. But I see things that are in line with my faith. Off the top of my head (1) Despite being in mortal danger Bella chooses life over choice she is willing to sacrifice her own life for her unborn child. (2) devotion to one’s spouse. Catholic Catechism /Pre Cana teaches that the love between family especially between a married couple is a vocation that serves as an example to the world of God’s love of us. (3) Abstinence – like it or not both protagonists are virgins when they are married. A feat much harder for Edward given his very long existence. Oh and as a side note: the reference to spontaneous combustion in page 186 of Eclipse was misquoted. It is Bella NOT Edward who says this. Edward is the one who insists on not going forward with their physical relationship until marriage. Ironic the allegedly “unholy one ” is the one with stronger religious values that the human. – If you did not notice he overtly tells her that if she is not concerned for her soul but believes he still has one she should respect his wish to abstain till marriage – Eclipse ( I don’t have the book with me right now but I will gladly post the quote at a later date.) But finally if “A Christian” is so worried about Christian morals and salvation he should get off his high horse and stop criticzing and pointing fingers and theorizing and should just go out & live a Christian life and be an example of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness for others to follow. God gave us all free will to live our lives as we see fit. We don’t have to answer to anyone but God. Many Christians make the same mistake “A Christian” makes in thinking his beliefs give him the right to dictate to others that which they should do. To you “A Christian” I say read Luke 6:42 and see how that applies to you. “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you don’t see the beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you’ll see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

  37. My apologies in my earlier post I directed my specific comments to the wrong poster /blogger. I did not mean to address “A Christian ” but rather the person who wrote the original review and Spesunica.

  38. Dear Marcy –
    Where do the Cullens get the power to rise above murderous vampire tendencies? Where does Bella get the power? Where does Edward get the power to refrain from sexual intercourse? From their will power. How do Christians rise above temptations? By the grace of God – and our cooperation with that grace. Thinking we can do it alone and without the help of God was the very first temptation and in succumbing to that, our first parents committed the first sin.
    You are correct that we have to answer to God for our actions, but we also have to answer to society, to authorities, to family and friends – else there would be no laws, no police, no courts, no tests, etc. We are constantly dictated to for the sake of the common good, and obedience matters. That is why we cannot drive through red lights.
    In quoting Luke 6:42, please be careful. I trust we all read that passage and tremble.

  39. Are you trying to say that will power has nothing to do with the grace of God? If I were you I would be very careful in trying to assert that you or anyone else somehow have a right to dictate what is right and wrong … what should be written or read by others. That is the very mistake that our church committed with the Crusades and Inquisition which led to heinous atrocities against mankind. Fact of the matter is that the only being entitled to judge us is God himself and even he has taken a back seat until the day of final reckoning. I believe we grow more as Christians if we turn our critical eyes upon ourselves in introspection instead of on our fellow human beings. And that lesson relates to everything in life including respecting the freedom and choice of others…

  40. Dear Marcy –
    What I am trying to say is said much more effectively by others. The following is from the Office of Readings for December 18th, in the novena leading up to Christmas:
    “When God had made all his plans in consultation with his Son, he waited until a later time, allowing us to follow our own whim, to be swept along by unruly passions, to be led astray by pleasure and desire. Not that he was pleased by our sins: he only tolerated them. Not that he approved of that time of sin: he was planning this era of holiness. When we had been shown to be undeserving of life, his goodness was to make us worthy of it. When we had made it clear that we could not enter God’s kingdom by our own power, we were to be enabled to do so by the power of God.
    When our wickedness had reached its culmination, it became clear that retribution was at hand in the shape of suffering and death. The time came then for God to make known his kindness and power (how immeasurable is God’s generosity and love!). He did not show hatred for us or reject us or take vengeance; instead, he was patient with us, bore with us, and in compassion took our sins upon himself; he gave his own Son as the price of our redemption, the holy one to redeem the wicked, the sinless one to redeem sinners, the just one to redeem the unjust, the incorruptible one to redeem the corruptible, the immortal one to redeem mortals. For what else could have covered our sins but his sinlessness? Where else could we, wicked and sinful as we were, have found the means of holiness except in the Son of God alone?
    How wonderful a transformation, how mysterious a design, how inconceivable a blessing! The wickedness of the many is covered up in the holy One, and the holiness of One sanctifies many sinners.”

  41. I think reading TWILIGHT and its series doesn’t need us to be bothered as Christians. As long as our faith is not shaken by any form of entertainment that we see and hear (just like twilight movie and book), we need not worry about anything. There are lots of books in the world that doesn’t neccessarily agree with our Christian beliefs but we still accept them as a form of literature and art. Twilight is an art. It is one of those fantastical books that has a unique story and I found it entertaining.
    However, since it is a book that has some contents that cannot be fully and philosophically understood by some children and adolescents, reading it must require a parent to guide his or her child during the reading process; or at least explain to the child that ‘this is wrong’ or ‘this is okay’ and why it is wrong and okay. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that there should be a parental guidance involved as the child reads the book, in order to avoid misunderstanding of the book.
    And let me say that although Twilight is rather a great book and has an amazing story, there could nothing be as great and amazing as the Holy Bible that we Christians have. We can still read the Twilight and other FICTIONAL books and treat them as artistically and philosophically as possible, but never let the Faith in Jesus Christ be neglected.

    or at least twilight does not need to affect your own beliefs and opinions, because it is a book in itself. you may want it or not but it has been a book and it is there.

  42. I am not a Catholic– I’ll say that upfront. I have not read the books, nor have I seen the movie.

    But I do become deeply concerned when Christian women I know (late 20’s into early 30’s) claim the book “helped them through a hard time” and “made them believe in love again” and caused them to be “obsessed with Twilight.” These are women with education.

    I think the book series appeals to the broken nature of women these days in wanting true Godly romance. The ideas of virtues and morality in the book are thin layers that serve to convince women (the target audience honestly) that the book itself is good, fostering the self-described obsessions noted by many fans. Whether these obsessions are truly obsessions or mere hyperbole, that I cannot determine with certainty. The bait is the morality and the archetypical old-fashioned romance. The consequences of the hook are a distorted view that a man (err… vampire-man) will save you, your soul, and keep you from facing death– all with love. There’s one Man who can do that, and it sure isn’t Edward Cullen. “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me?” includes men, books, children, and even Edward Cullen.

    In my opinion, women obsessing over these books and love and relationships is just as much LUST as a man obsessing with pornography.

  43. Dear A Concerned Friend –
    I am in complete agreement with you on the comparison to pornography.
    I have written another post “IMPORTANT – Do Girls Need “Fantasy?” where I try to address that. There is, without question, a double standard here. For example – girls are taking these books into school with them. There are erotic passages they are sharing among themselves. Could you imagine a school tolerating young men bringing even “soft” pornographic materials to share at the lunch benches? They would be rightfully disciplined. It is sad what people can get away with when they call it “literature”.
    God bless.

  44. I have finally realized the problem – the gap between what you think of Twilight and what I think of Twilight. Based on your points and observations, I recently realized what I should have realized the first time I saw this page.

    You do not read vampire fiction.

    Admittedly, part of the reason for that was that it’s been well over a year since I’ve read any real hard vamp stuff, and back then it was mostly preteen style… so it wasn’t until this week, when my friend gave me the Vampire Diaries and Marked, when I fully reimmersed myself in the hardcore vampire genre.

    True vampire fiction is dark, bloody, and seductive – in comparison, Twilight shines as a becon of light. The main characters respect, if not openly practice, Christianity. This is in stark contrast with Marked, where the main human religion, “the People of Faith” are constantly degraded as backwords, unaccepting, and unreasonable, full of bigots and hypocrites.

    I have more modest goals then you, in terms of what I want for my fellow teens. You wish to have children read Christian books and maintain their values. I’ll be satisfied to know that a larger percentage of teens are reading books (even the hardcore vampire ones) then drinking alcohol underage, having sex, and doing drugs.

    Because it happens, not so much in my school, but as I now realize, it does happen others. My friend has spent the past week rejecting cigarette after cigarette. Because I think that if you look, the more books a teenager reads, the less likely they are to try to smuggle in vodka to school dances, and need to be hauled of to the ER to have their stomachs pumped. Like what happened to a half dozen kids in my other friends school.

  45. Dear Teenage Girl –

    I think you make a very interesting observation there. I think you are right – we are talking about different standards.
    What it makes me think of is the difference between the 10 Commandments and the Beatitudes. The Beatitudes crank the 10 Commandments up a notch. If you look at the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew Ch. 5,6 and 7) you’ll see spots where Jesus increases the demands on the children of Moses: Ch. 5, verse 21 – “You have heard it said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill: and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment…”; Ch. 5, verse 27 – “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” and so on.
    I can understand your satisfaction with more modest goals – but I really believe that with the help of the grace of God, we can aspire to the heights – and that God is challenging us to do just that. Because let’s face it – if we set our threshold low and give ourselves a pass for not reaching it, we’re not aspiring to very much!
    You may find that it is statistically accurate that those who read are less likely to “party” – after all, reading involves spending a lot of time alone! Getting hauled off to the ER due to drunkenness is not only morally wrong, it also makes a person miserable. But I think reading “dark” things can make us miserable, too. I speak from experience here. When I was in high school, I was in AP English. I “had” to read certain books for the test. I found a couple of them really dark and disturbing – and I unwillingly carried some of those haunting images around with me for years. One of the books was very nihilistic, and when I was down, those thoughts would come back to me and trouble me. I do believe in demons, and I do believe they know what bothers us and will use things against us at a later time if we have allowed it to enter our imagination. Because of that fact – and because of my own experience, and ultimately, my victory over such thoughts as a consequence asking God’s help through prayer – I do try to warn others that playing with fire can burn you, but that there is also soothing ointment if you have been burned… like I was.
    I think precisely because “Twilight” is a “beacon of light”, like you say – or “soft core” occult, as the exorcist in my new post says – it will put more people in touch with disturbing things than the hard core stuff could if it remained out there on its own. And people will go deeper.

  46. I doubt I will ever convince you that Twilight is a good book, and I doubt you’ll ever convince me that it isn’t… still a good debate is healthy for everyone involved (or at least I feel these debates are making me think more deeply about certain thing, I can’t speak authorotively about your opinion)

    But now we have a point of agreement. Not quite in AP Lit yet, though I expect to be in it next year, but the books are already disturbing enough. Finally, an adult, who shares my opinions.

    None of the books are worse than some of the “hard core” dark stuff that I’ve read volantarily (though most of them are in a class much, much darker then Twilight), but some of it is pretty close. And with the books I read, no one forces me to write in depth analsis’s of them, so the truly disturbing points are easy to skim over. While in school, the teacher seem to enjoy dwelling on the darkest parts.

    There was a short story that was maybe twenty five pages last year… I can’t remember the title, (it was about a woman surrounded by yellow walls who eventually went mad, and possibly killed herself) but the story had a darker impact on me then any of the quasi occultic books I read, because I was forced to examine sentence of it for dark undertones and write an essay about it.

    And while I feel that I’m rather resiliant to nihilism and haunting images, a very close friend of mine has always been on the fragile side, and reading those books darkened her already fairly pessimistic outlook on life.

    So, anyway, my point in all this, is as an adult, can you see any value in reading some of these books that the teachers keep telling us we’re missing because we’re teenagers?

  47. Hey guys check out this article on Twilight on bustedhalo.com.Some might say the book is equivalent to soft porn. The article deals with how Christians grapple with the messages in this teen generation’s defining book. Here is the link: http://www.bustedhalo.com/features/twilight-zone/

  48. read all the comments. very interesting debate

  49. ok, so why do you guys keep referring to these books as porn?
    i can’t say that i completely agree with any of you. i am thirteen and have read eclipse and new moon, and seen twilight. the comments on breaking dawn disturbed me deeply until i realized how much you were exagerating the first three books. there is nothing wrong with reading a book that you do not totally agree with.(well, there is, but only if it is actually bad)if you really want to know about the books, then why must you depend on someone else’s opinion. if you are checking it out for your kids and you see something that you do not want to read, put the book down and don’t let your kids read it. there is definetely something wrong with edward in Bella’s room and her lying to Charlie(her dad). but do you really expect to flip open to some random page and see”hey dad, this is going to sound really weird, but i happen to be in love with a vampire and was wondering if he could come over to do homework with me tomorrow afternoon. and could you please not send me to an insane asylum, because it might be a bit difficult to keep up with my homework…” it isn’t really an option. and when you say that Carlisle was wrong in converting his family, Edward’s mom asked him to do it, and Rosalie was dying in the street, emmet was also dying and it was rosalie that asked Carlisle to do it. Bella became a vampire of her own free will, and Jasper was changed by someone else and became a Cullen about 60 years later. and that is only the beggining,i will definetly be back later.

  50. Dear Sara –

    Please tell us how you think the description of the contents of the first three books were exaggerated.
    Thanks and God bless.

  51. I am entering this discussion late- I hope it is not too late, because several people have written in a thoughtful manner that is well worth reading, and I would like to hear more from them. This question is specifically to spesunica: Can you name ten books or series of fiction, or partial fiction (I would include Little House on the Prairie books for instance) that you think would be good for Catholics in search of wholesome entertainment or education (not Catholic education necessarily)?

  52. Dear Rebecca –

    I’ll try to – and I’ll aim it at the age range we see most Twilight fans – middle through high school. I would put the Little House books on the list. Also the Chronicles of Narnia. Anne of Green Gables series, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, The Letzenstein Chronicles by Meriol Trevor, some books by Jane Austin – like Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility (for teens), Lay Seige to Heaven by Louis De Wohl, Christy by Catherine Marshall, stories by P.G. Wodehouse, Milton Lomask’s book on St. John Vianney… so much has to do with age range and interests of particular children – but many classics seem to appeal on different levels to just about anyone. All my children love Little House and Lord of the Rings. I would suggest the website for Bethlehem Books – they exist to provide good wholesome entertainment and often reprint things that have been out of print. Friends of mine have been thrilled with the treasures they have found at Bethlehem Books – and for easy purchasing, they divide up sections into age levels and also books that they have found appeal more to boys than girls or vice versa. You can check them out at http://www.bethlehembooks.com.

  53. I have not read all of the books you mention, but I have read some of them. I am middle aged now, so I don’t think they are doing me much harm, but I have grandchildren growing into the reading years that I am concerned about. Are you sure that Pride and Prejudice is all right for teenage girls? What about the utterly loveless marriage depicted between Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, with his obvious disdain for her? What about when Lydia runs away with a serial rapist, and the best thing her family can think of is for her to marry him? And then Lydia gets the honors that go with being the first girl in the family married, at age 15! Is this a good example for our children? What about Mr. Collins? The only clergyman depicted in the story is a groveling toad and an ignorant buffoon- is that how we want our children to view our clergy? And when Charlotte marries him, that is another loveless marriage, but she expresses to Elizabeth how satisfied she is. She is married, and she arranges her husband’s life so that she sees very little of him, and that is all she wants. Is this a good example of a good marriage?

    And what about Lord of the Rings, with all the half human mythical creatures? Isn’t there something creepy and occult about the elves, and the orcs, and the wizards? Gandalf’s magic is so necessary for things to go right for the heroes- is that promoting a love of magic? And the heroes of the books aren’t even human. Is that the same sort of anti-human bias displayed by the Meyer’s books? And at the end, all the good guys get to go to someplace “west” that is not dying, and is not Heaven, and does not sound like Purgatory. Isn’t this view of the afterlife anti-Catholic?

    What is good for teenagers in these books, that is enough to compensate for all these problems?

    And the Little House books- Pa is one of the most misanthropic characters in literature. He wants to move when he lives close enough to a neighbor that he can see their chimney smoke. Is that a good Christian attitude to teach our children? Whenever he does move, he does not look for the fellowship of a church- of course not. That would involve other people! Is he a good example for teenagers, who usually want to be free of societal constraints anyway? And he and Ma are so very racially prejudiced. When Laura asks why the Indians have to leave, he says simple that it is because the while people are coming! Native people have no rights that he is bound to respect! Certainly not what I want to teach my children, or grandchildren!

    I will try the other books you mention which I have not read yet. Maybe they will be better.

  54. Dear Rebecca –
    Sounds to me like you have your own sense of what is acceptable in literature and what is not. I’m not sure you need any suggestions.
    I don’t agree with your interpretations of the texts cited – I believe it impoverishes them – but I can see why your interpretations would cause you difficulty.
    Perhaps you would enjoy reading “A Landscape with Dragons” by Michael O’Brien – in it, he presents valuable tools for judging good literature. He could help you distinguish between the writings of an author like Tolkien and the works of someone like Meyer or JK Rowling if that is truly problematic for you.
    Good literature doesn’t mean that all the characters or circumstances will be good. I wish you well.

  55. Thank you for your good wishes, and the suggestions for further reading. Right now I am asking your opinion, since you did already recommend those books I mentioned. You said that good literature doesn’t mean that all the characters or circumstances will be good. Then what about those particular books is good, and is it good enough to overcome the harmfulness of those characters and circumstances I mentioned? Do you think that those books are all right for impressionable teenagers?

  56. Dear Rebecca –

    The authors I suggested are far more talented than I and spent many hours pouring over the works they wrote – I would not recommend them unless I believed they are alright, or even more than alright… good, for impressionable teenagers. If, after reading their original works, you cannot see the good in them, there is nothing I will be able to say to assist you that can speak any more eloquently than the works themselves. I am not saying this to put you off, I am saying it as a matter of fact. You have read them, yet you do not seem to be able to see what they contain. Guiding you through each work is beyond the scope of this blog – and I make no apologies for that. (That level of time commitment to education on my part is reserved for my own children.) Others who have made this their life work can help you, however, if you desire – so I will merely suggest that you seek the assistance that you need elsewhere – and I have provided one ready source. The bottom line, Rebecca, is that if the books I recommended in some way violate your conscience, do not read them. You should never indulge in entertainment that violates your conscience. God bless you.

  57. But how can I know if they violate my conscience if I don’t read them? No one, as far as I know, has set up a website telling about the moral failing of the Jane Austen books. Or the Little House on the Prairie books. People keep recommending them! Just like people keep recommending the Twilight books. I know you say you see good in those books you recommend, but other people say they see good in the Twilight books. How do you know whom to believe? I mean how do I know whom to believe? I know that you have already decided about the books that you have read, but with all these issues, how do I know where to start? And these books you like- they are all old enough to have been read by a lot of people. How can I evaluate something as new as the Twilight books, or the like? Should I stick to books written many years ago? I am sorry to keep bugging you, but I know this is a big issue. My children when they were growing up all read LOTS of books, and my grandchildren are tending that way too. How can I tell them not to read some books unless I give them LOTS of alternatives? And there seem to be problems with so many books that people recommend. I just mentioned a very few. As you say, time is a limitation, and also this means of communication. Sorry again. I will try those books you suggested which I haven’t read yet- can you assure me that they don’t have any of these problems with depicting loveless marriages or racial prejudice or making fun of respectable people?

  58. *rolling on floor laughing*

    The reason I haven’t posted in a while is because I feel my debate skills aren’t sufficient to really make a convincing argument… but I can’t help but comment on what Rebecca wrote.

    I was trying to say that at some point, that you make Twilight seem a lot worse then it really is the same way Rebecca makes Little House on the Prairie and Pride and Prejudice seem truly terrible.

    Every book depends on the perspective of its readers, and any book can be molded to fit the image that the reader has of it.

  59. But I didn’t make Little House on the Prairie and Pride and Prejudice SEEM terrible. Everything I said is right there in the books. And don’t even get me started on Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, with the hiding from parents, and the murders, Macbeth with the witches (!), Hamlet and the ghost. Or Mark Twain (Huck Finn deciding to give up his soul and go to Hell, rather than give up Jim to the slave catchers). Now, I used to like Twilight, the whole series, before I learned how dangerous it is to my soul. I thought it was a particularly good portrayal of people resisting temptation, and part of the power of the book was how clear the temptation is. I did not think, at first, that it really mattered for the sake of a Christian learning something from the book, what the temptation was. In fact, I thought that it was more powerful for being an unreal temptation, so that anyone reading it could project their own besetting temptation into the narrative. I thought that the more familiar and normal temptations of Jacob highlighted how hard he had to work to stay friend with Bella. I thought the constant repetition of the difference between the Cullen family and other vampires was a great reminder that resisting temptations make it more possible to be a truly loving person.

    But now I know better than to like those books. I know now that the failings of the books obliterate any possible good in them. I know that since Bella is shown to be an imperfect person, coming from an imperfect family, even though she still really loves both her parents, it would be wrong of us to try to learn anything from Bella about responsibility, for instance.

    What I don’t know is what good there is in Pride and Prejudice, and the Little House on the Prairie books, and the others you mentioned. I can see the terrible failings, the danger to souls, but you never told me what is good in them. Even one or two lines. So help me out here. Tell me some books that are good, with none of these harmful faults. Please.

  60. Dear Teenage Girl –

    It is nice to see you back.
    Do not become cynical. You are bright and sensitive, and I believe you seek truth.

    Get up off the floor. You don’t belong there.

    Relativism is a lie. In those who embrace it, the manipulation involved only leads to despair. They drag as many there along with them as they can because they cannot face their own loneliness – a loneliness that is rooted most profoundly in the absence of God, Who is Truth.

    I have great joy and hope and love and peace in spite of my sufferings, which at times are many, because of the goodness of God. This joy, hope, love and peace is a gift of God, Whose very life dwells within me. My whole life is caught up in loving the indwelling Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is true. Truth exists, no matter what anyone else might tell you.

    Satan is the father of lies. Do not dialogue with liars, because they will twist anything for their nefarious purposes. Sin darkens the intellect and weakens the will. There are none so blind as those who will not see. People of good will cannot help them. Only God can help them. His grace can help them – but only if they submit themselves to Him in humble repentance. Leave them in peace or they will try to take you down with them. In the temptation in the desert, Satan himself attempted to use Scripture – the very Word of God – against the Son of God. Does that mean they were both right? Nope. Jesus just happened to show Satan how ridiculous proof texting is when your purposes are evil and you have no respect for the context of the whole…

    God bless you.

  61. I truly don’t think reading Twilight is like dating it. Stupid and pathetic. We also forget that we chose what really afect us. I read it and recommend it to everyone. Because it proves that real loves exists. People may love each other forever more and still be virgin, like them. They say how people change once they started to love.

  62. This review was amazing. Not because it was so great, but becaus eit was so horrrible. Do you have no faith that teenage girls have minds? Do you think a couple houndred pages of fantasy will make them forgot about thier faith? No. It shocks me that you think that people will forgot thier faith over a book. A very entertaining book that keeps your mind busy for a while. Just because Edward is described as a beautiful creature does not mean that I, as a teenage girl, will go over and forget all of God’s lessons because I want to have sex with a “beautiful creature”. Oh yeah, a hint for next time, Vampires aren’t real. When I study the bible at church and at home I don’t think I have ever come across the words “vampires are soulless murderers” So grow up already.

  63. Sorry I made some typing mistakes in there. I wrote that so fast because of all the anger that came form me after reading your review and your response to the comments after them.

  64. Dear Really, Let go of the anger. It does not help in spreading the good message of the Twilight books. If people do not want to see the good in them, getting angry will not help them to understand. Frankly, I have not found out what does help. I have spent a lot of time and effort sharing with people how well the Twilight books have helped me grow closer to God, and to hear His word better. Anyone who has already made up their minds does not change their mind when I tell them this, so I can’t tell you what does work, but I am sure that getting angry is not a good idea.

  65. Dear Really –

    It is because I have so much respect for teenage girls and their minds (or anyone else’s mind for that matter) that I have chosen to write a critical review of the series.
    When we fill our minds with images – in the case of Twilight, some fans’ favorite images are impure ones… images which bring them pleasure derived from lust – we move further away from building a civilization of love because we are cultivating an attitude of use. We are created to love and be loved – not to use and be used. When men – even fictional ones or actors portraying fictional characters – become objects of our pleasure alone (or “entertainment” as someone might say), we ARE forgetting our faith – a faith in Jesus Christ Who said “love one another as I have loved you.” Using someone as an object of pleasure is not the act of a Christian. A Christian might do it – but that does not make it a Christian act. It is a departure from Christianity – otherwise known as sin.
    “God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4:16) When you study the Bible at home and at Church, read that passage a few times and then read “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” Mt 5:28. Many of the images men look at today are not real, they are virtual – fake. That doesn’t make the admonition of Christ about lust any less real. Even if a man is lusting after a virtual image, he is still lusting. The same is true of women. A woman may be lusting after a fictitious vampire, but she is still lusting. As she is lusting, she may not deny the divinity of Christ explicitly or refuse to believe in the Blessed Trinity… therefore, she may retain her faith on some level – but through her willing consent to lust, she is committing a grave sin and acting as if the saving death of Christ means nothing to her. So – if I advised a man against lusting after a virtual woman, who would you think needed to grow up already – me or HIM?

  66. Dear Rebecca –
    How, specifically, have the Twilight books helped you to grow closer to God and hear His Word better?

  67. I started to answer this, then stopped I thought just for a moment, then when I came back to finish I could not find what I wrote before. If some of this gets posted twice, I apologize.

    I found the character of Edward very attractive. This was no more lust then my attraction at various times in my life to Mr. Darcy, Aragon, Prince Caspian, Sherlock Holmes, and the Virginian. It is just part of getting drawn into the story. It is when one is drawn into the story that what happens to the characters becomes meaningful. For instance, when I got drawn into the Horse and His Boy, I began to care what happened to Shasta. So I really felt the unfairness when, after his flight across the desert, he had to go on another long difficult ride, instead of getting to rest. So times when I had a difficult task to do, then another (instead of getting a rest and reward for the first one) I could feel that Shasta was sympathizing with me.

    I think that a great deal of the Christian life can be summed up by Edward’s “I don’t WANT to be a monster.” Because we are born into original sin, we face temptations as frequent and serious as Edward’s temptations to suck the life out of people. We can become accustomed to our own temptations. We can think that it’s just the way we are, and we must give in. We can get tired of trying to be something other than what we feel like being. Or we can live like the Cullens- aware every moment of every day that we can easily cause hurt, even deadly hurt, to those around us. We can watch our behavior all the time, being careful not to give in, always trying to be something better than our temptations. I think that because the temptations that the Cullens live with are so unrelated to real human temptations, it makes it easier for us to project our own temptation of the moment onto them.

    I noticed that Edward really never got angry at Bella, for anything except being too much in love with him. He never got angry with Bella for being late, or leaving clothes on the floor, or saying something dumb, or spilling the milk, or any of the dozens of reasons that I find for getting angry with my family. When I am tempted to get angry with my husband or children, I can ask myself “Would Edward get angry with Bella over this?” It helps me to try to love my family as much as Edward loves Bella. I theoretically could ask myself “Is this something St. Francis would get angry at his brothers about?” but I feel that St. Francis is so far above me that I can’t relate to his greater virtue. I can feel closer to Edward, and so his resistance to his temptation is more help to me.

    There are many more ways that Edward and Bella have been of help to me, but this is a difficult medium for me to write in (little box, black background). If you find this at all helpful I will try to write more.

  68. Dear Rebecca –
    You have written one of the most interesting responses I have ever read by a Twilight supporter.
    I will say this though – I think one of the dangers in the series is the way temptation is handled. Let me ask you this – when we are told to avoid the occasion of sin, do you think Edward does it? I think he doesn’t – and I think his ability to walk into situations of great temptation (like sleeping every night with a woman he is tempted to be sexually intimate with and/or kill) and yet to repeatedly come out unscathed due to his will power is an unrealistic deception. Fr. Hardon said that it is impossible to remain chaste without prayer. I believe that. Given the struggles people have with chastity, putting oneself repeatedly in a situation of great temptation and then relying on willpower to get you through would be very reckless – well, also impossible. Perhaps when you think of St. Francis in the area of patience (which is a good example) you should also think of him in the area of chastity. Look at Edward’s actions prior to his marriage to Bella, when he – as yet – has no right to intimacy with her. Then ask yourself – is this something St. Francis would have done with St. Clare? When we look at things in that light, we begin to see how lax we can become in our understanding of chastity. While I am not claiming that a dating couple should behave exactly the same as religious brothers and sisters, I do think that a dating couple’s behavior should be something that would not be scandalous or shameful if they one day entered religious life or married someone else. It is possible to embrace someone or kiss someone chastely – in a way that expresses genuine affection without leading to arousal. Edward does not behave in this way, though. He takes himself to the outer reaches of endurance… at which point any “mortal man” (or woman, for that matter) would be beaten by his (or her) desire… yet, Edward is not beaten by his desire because HE can STOP. That is a wrong lesson about temptation. It is presumptuous and proud – it is not humble or consistent with truth.
    What do you think?

  69. First of all, I have to say that if we are to get any good at all from fiction, I really think that it must be judged as fiction. I admit I was being a little facetious in some of my earlier criticism of your suggestions, yet all my criticisms were true and valid, if you were looking at those books to provide pure good examples only. I would suggest that when Jesus told the story of the unjust judge, or of the dishonest steward, he did not mean for us to take the main characters as good examples. We were supposed to learn something else from those stories. In fact in both cases what we had to learn had to do with the fact that the main characters had a mixture of good and evil in them. The unjust judge for instance when he got exasperated, he did bring a judgement for the widow- he was not so evil as to put out a contract on her life. The dishonest steward was not a good steward, but he showed prudence. I do not think that I would ever recommend Edward Cullen as the perfect model of virtue. He is a helpful model at least for me because he is not perfect. I do not know really what temptations St. Francis faced. If I read a book professing to reflect his deepest temptations the way that the Twilight books reflect Edward and Bella, I would not believe it. We can understand the fictional characters better because they are fictional.

    Do you think that Edward Ferrars in Sense and Sensibility was a good example? He continued his visit to the Dashworths even after he realized that he was developing a love for Eleanor which was not honorable (or chaste, although that word is never mentioned in the book) when he was engaged to another woman. He even realized that she was falling in love with him, which could only injure her under the circumstances. But it all worked out all right! Is that moral teaching? NO! Not for real life. Yet somehow, it is a good book.

  70. Thank you for your review. I too feel the same way you do about many parts of the series. What really truly bothered me about the whole series was the way Bella kept begging Edward to turn her. She didn’t care if she lost her soul, as long as she was with him. She clearly wasn’t saved. Only Jesus Christ has the power to give someone eternal life. Bella would rather be damned to this world then have eternal life in heaven without Edward (puke).

    Thanks again for the review.
    Melissa

  71. AMEN! Thank you so much for doing this series. Lord knows, we need people who aren’t afraid to speak His truth to the world.
    Hold fast!!!

    -Alasdair


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