Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book 1 (Twilight): Preface

It is important to mention that before Stephenie Meyer’s preface to Twilight, she quotes a verse from the Bible’s Book of Genesis, immediately making reference to Original Sin and setting a theme of temptation for the entire saga:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” –Genesis 2:17

Everyone knows what happened from there: A woman destroyed paradise by eating an apple from that forbidden tree and tricking a man into doing the same.  Thus, we begin the several-thousand page journey of the Twilight saga, in which Bella spends a majority of the plot tempting Edward, who (ironically, as he is the “damned” of the two) repeatedly resists Bella’s temptations, insisting that to give into them would hurt or kill her. Edward presents a paradox: A vampire, self-professed soulless and damned, but self-loathing and vastly concerned with the safety and virtue of a human girl.  He is what the serpent in the Garden would have been had it fallen in love with Eve. Bella is simply Eve, minus the ability to convince Edward to eat the apple. In fact, she pretty much lacks the ability to do much of anything without the assistance of a man, but we’ll get to that soon enough.

The book's preface itself describes a scene from the end of the book, where Bella silently affirms that dying in the place of someone she loves seems to be "a good way to die," and "ought to count for something." It's as though she senses that she is innately "bad" and somehow martyrdom will undo her sinful [unwritten: female] nature. It is strange that Bella mentions a "noble" death "counting for something," because later in the series she states outright that she doesn't believe in souls, implying that she doesn't believe in God. Regardless, the preface to Twilight sets Bella as the saga's martyr, a part she plays well, as well as the fallible Eve figure, which she plays awkwardly and inefficiently. 

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