Vulnerable Minds of the Young Adults Anna Silver analyzes the Twilight Saga according to the criticisms against the novels tendency to send strong messages to the young minds of the readers. Silver utilizes the already existing criticisms about the Saga’s conflicting ideas about gender roles, family life, and various controversial topics to support her central claim. Her organizational skills reveal a clear understanding of Stephanie Meyer’s, author of the Twilight Saga, beliefs of the contemporary world.
The author presents a specific idea or topic in the novel and supports or argues the criticism with factual evidence from Meyer’s work. In doing so, the author allows herself to chime in with personal thoughts and ideas on the topic. Anna also uses anecdotes to show the reader personal and real life examples. Her particular structure of the essay allows the reader to comprehend the focal ideas that the Twilight Saga subliminally possesses. The main argument Silver intends on conveying relates back to early ideas of gender ideology. The author finds that commonly argued matters of the Twilight Saga are relevant to today’s society.
For instance; romantic relationships, dominant male role, defenseless females, marriage, motherhood, nuclear families, and abortion. Silver believes young adult literature often aims to shape the adolescent and advise the reader how to make smooth transitions into adulthood. Adolescents seeking YA literature most likely look to the novel for life advice. Confusion is common for the age young adult literature targets; therefor the author really focuses on identity issues the book specifically targets. The topic addressed first, directly depicts a couple so madly in love that self sacrifice and irrational thinking seems acceptable.
A group by the name of, Feminist Mormon Housewives, argue that Edward and Bella’s dramatic attraction and need for one another sets an impractical example for the audience. The feminists’ draw attention to the odd behavior of Edward in particular. They note Cullen’s reign over Bella and interpret that to reveal the dominance of the male in a heterosexual relationship. Anna Silver supports the critics claims and explains in brief the impression of the odd romance, “Edward, these critics claim, is frequently controlling and domineering, saving the hapless Bella time and again from danger; Bella uffers from low self-esteem and seemingly has no close friends except for Edward and his family” (125) She implies that Bella and Edward’s notable passionate endeavors are a mask for underlying alluring themes of the series. Due to the fact that Bella comes from a broken family, observing Bella fill that gap in her life exposes more gender role issues. Bella’s erratic mother, Renee, is absent-minded and unable to provide a life for Bella. Charlie, Bella’s Father, takes his daughter in with open arms. Bella quickly learns how to play the domestic role in Charlie’s home although her idea of a mother figure is distorted.
Carlisle and Esme, Edward’s parents, become Bella’s parental figures and display the ideal nurturing family in no time. Silver uses these examples of the broken family life to demonstrate Bella’s eagerness to become part of a household. A twilight admirer agrees “Bella is an old-fashioned heroine: bookish, smart, brave, considerate of others’ emotions, and naturally competent in the domestic arts” (Flanagan 2008). Bella’s natural domestic ability leads into the concept of marriage and the beliefs the novels portray about matrimony.
Anna applies examples of Edward’s belief in which sex before marriage is wrong to portray the religious and moral aspects Meyer subliminally transmits to the reader. The Christian references and ideas regarding sex and marriage, creates a model for teens to practice control. Silver compares Meyer’s idealistic morals to findings from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. These findings pilot Bella to accept Edward’s marriage proposal. However, the idea that sex bears consequences verifies truth when Bella is faced with a harmful pregnancy.
Silver points out the anti-abortion views that undoubtedly become visible throughout Swan’s horrific pregnancy. She uses a quote from the fourth novel, “I wanted [my baby] like I wanted air to breathe. Not a choice–a necessity” (Breaking Dawn 132) to represent the blatant pro-life schemes. Anna Silver’s arguments towards the Twilight Saga deem truthful and she provides sufficient evidence to persuade the reader. Anna claims the series “gender ideology is unapologetically patriarchal”. She also states that the saga addresses contemporary family roles, identity issues, and the power of motherhood (Silver 122).
The author consistently supports her claims by agreeing with the critic’s reviews of the series. She uses the criticisms to draw attention and effectively provide evidence towards her argument. The essay Anna wrote blatantly exemplifies all the issues she claimed to concentrate on, and all her evidence was hard and factual. The author’s valid points generated my interest to continue reading. The simplicity of the novel unveils hidden messages, which Silver reveals to the reader after providing an instance from the storyline to maintain support of her factual theories.
Anna Silver effectively targets moral issues young adult readers currently face, appealing to troubled identity issues, imperfect families, romance confusion, and abortion. Silver begins the essay with a quote from a feminist group stating, “Edward has been frozen at the age of 17. But, he was born in 1901. He doesn’t behave anything like a real teenager. He talks and acts like a obsessively controlling adult male. ” (Silver 122) The quote envelops her idea about male dominance, and the prevalent role men play in a romantic relationship. The model behavior of Edward leads the young to believe males have the upper hand in a relationship.
Later Anna discusses how Edward’s superior mentality belittles Bella. She notes the language Stephanie Meyer uses in the novels to describe Edward’s role in the relationship. Anna represents her dominant male theory when exploiting the vocabulary used to signify authority, “Bella sipped at her soda obediently” (Twilight 169). Silver suggests the harm a notion like that could cause adolescents in transition years reading the novel. Bella’s haphazard mother and caring, but awkward father, leaves Bella’s home life unusual. Renee, Bella’s mother, eloped an amateur baseball player leaving Bella inadequately cared for.
Charlie, her father, possesses little parenting skills due to his lonely manhood. In contemporary society Silver associates Bella’s childhood to many young adults facing family divorce issues. She exemplifies Bella’s broken home life and offers justification to Bella’s dependence on the Cullen family. “She falls in love with the entire Cullen family, ironically, they are more of a family to Bella than her biological family” (Silver 127). Besides the recent finding of a family figure, Anna touches on the concept of self-conflict. Without parent guidance Bella had to find her own identity (124).
Silver believes young readers may find Bella’s strength inspirational to overcome family problems. Meyer subtly imposes religious morals throughout the storyline to convey a message of right from wrong. Silver believes her messages transfer to the readers effectively and enforce appropriate behavior for the adolescent audience. The romance between Edward and Bella obviously communicates love, along with that comes sexual tension. Relating back to Edward’s odd behavior for a teenager, he supports the idea that sex is saved for marriage. Bella’s human characteristics are more curious and explorative; she pleads for Edwards’s sexual attention.
The sexual banter exercises the idea of control to teens. Silver uses evidence from the text to conclude the assumption Meyer does not believe in pre-marital sex. “Premarital sex in Twilight is risky, life-threatening, and brutal for everyone involved” (129). Silver believes the author of the series continues her philosophy on sex after marriage to convey the idea sex is strictly for pro-creating. Anna exemplifies Bella’s brutal pregnancy, as a reminder sex is not for pleasure. “The pregnancy saps Bella’s strength, breaks her ribs, and leads to the rupture of the placenta, followed by projectile vomiting” (131).
The indiscretion the viol image portrays prompts teens to recall consequences of sex. The most controversial issue Silver discovers during evaluation of the series is abortion. The harmful pregnancy leads to a life changing decision both Edward and Bella must face. Silver believes Meyer gave Bella the opportunity to show her nobility when her decision to keep the baby was made. “In this case, the unborn baby makes Bella’s potential self sacrifice seem all the more noble” (Silver 131). The unmistakable anti-abortion message Silver picks up on correlates to the idea of stable morals and sets a positive example for teenagers enticed in the saga.
Bella’s new motherhood carries many responsibilities and hardships. Silver believes Bella becoming a mother ties together all of the series identity issues. The fascination with motherhood towards the end of the series creates the notion that motherhood completes a woman’s identity and equalizes her. She uses the words of Edward Cullen to support her position “One of them cannot be swooping in a saving the other one. They have to save each other equally” (Twilight 474). Now that they both endure parenthood, they must care for the infant as their first priority.
Bella’s wish of family is also fulfilled after giving birth and becoming a nuclear family. Silver realizes Meyer gives Bella the opportunity to be the mother she never had. Anna believes “ theories of female development examine the female identity and the practice of motherhood” (134). Further proving her point that motherhood allowed Bella to identify herself as a confident woman. Anna Silver hits all the controversial contemporary topics discussed today. She exemplifies the unrealistic romance between the two main characters and justifies it with evidence from outside sources.
Silver does not only focus on the negative aspects of the book though. She credits Meyer for subliminally placing moral issues and embodies the well-set examples throughout the storyline. Her feelings and criticisms towards the book are based upon the concern that young and impressionable onlookers who thoroughly read the series will be impacted. Due to the age most readers begin the Twilight Saga, Silver implores the importance of portraying realistic relationships, abstinence (unless for procreation), and most importantly solving identity problems.
Work Cited Silver, Anna. “Twilight is not good for maidens: gender, sexuality, and the family inStephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. ” Studies in the Novel 42. 1-2 (2010): 121+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 20 Feb. 2013. Meyer, Stephenie. Breaking Dawn. New York: Little, Brown, and Company. 2008. –. Eclipse. New York: Little, Brown, and Company. 2007. –. New Moon. New York: Little, Brown, and Company. 2006. –. Twilight. New York: Little, Brown, and Company. 2005.