Saturday, December 20, 2008

Twisted Twilight

I have not read the Twilight, series, nor have I seen the movie. My knowledge of the series comes from reading reviews. From them, I learned that Twilight is the story of a high school girl who falls in love with a vampire. In the last book, Breaking Dawn, she actually marries him.

The first review I read a week or two ago was a glowing account that was linked from with the label "What Girls Want". Unfortunately, I can't find it now. Yesterday, Tea at Trianon had a link to another review, which I read. Following links, I finished with In Love With Death in National Review. If you only have time for one review, the latter is the one I would recommend.

My purpose in writing this is to point out, based on the reviews and what I know of vampires, why I would not give this book to Emma to read.

First, I knew before I read any reviews that the book was most likely inappropriate because I know that the whole vampire genre is based on seduction.

Favorable and unfavorable reviews all confirmed that a major theme of the series is lust. The surprise to me is that it is being touted as pro-chastity because the main characters, Bella and Edward, "wait until marriage." My understanding of true chastity is that it requires purity in soul and body. If this is true, then Twilight is not pro-chastity.

Looking for confirmation, I opened up Emma's Catholic Girl's Guide to see what Fr. Lasance had to say on this topic:

Chastity is the lily, the pearl of virtues, the most precious of all, the most pleasing to God. It is called the angelic virtue, because it raises man almost to a level with the angels. This virtue enables man to avoid all impure, carnal, forbidden pleasures, to rise superior to temptation, to remain chaste in thoughts, words, and actions. (emphasis mine) And how utterly indispensable this virtue is for a maiden! St. Francis of Sales writes upon this subject: "Young women ought to banish from their minds all reprehensible thoughts, and repel with contempt all impure desires."

It is not only the chastity issue that is a problem. The portrayal of love in the book is disordered. It presents falling in love with a vampire in a positive light. In Three to Get Married, Bishop Fulton Sheen makes the following point:

Every person is what he loves. Love becomes like unto that which it loves. If it loves heaven, it becomes heavenly; if it loves the carnal as a god, it becomes corruptible. The kind of immortality we have depends on the kind of loves we have. Putting it negatively, he who tells you what he does not love, also tells what he is. "Amor pondus meum: Love is my gravitation," said St. Augustine. This slow conversion of a subject into an object, of a lover into the beloved, of the miser into his gold, of the saint into his God, discloses the importance of loving the right things. The nobler our loves, the nobler our character. To love what is below the human is degradation; to love what is human for the sake of the human is mediocrity; to love the human for the sake of the Divine is enriching; to love the Divine for its own sake is sanctity. (emphasis mine)

Again, I have not read the series, nor have I seen the movie, but based on the reviews and Catholic teaching, the Twilight series will not be on our reading (or movie) list.


elena maria vidal said...

Great review! I totally agree. I never understood why anyone would want to read about vampires.

Anonymous said...

Commenting on a book that you've never read is ridiculus. Yes, one of the themes in Twilight is Lust but the book is written for teenage girls and young adults! Also, hidden behind the lust is the old story of a princess and her prince overcoming the struggles that get in the way of their love. You have the right to your opinion but when the only information on the book and its meaning you have comes from reviews, what you have to say doesn't have much meaning. In addition, reviews are opinions not facts!

Wendy Haught said...

Thanks for commenting. It's nice when the archived posts get read.