Saturday, January 8, 2011

Twilight: A Theory

As a follow-up to my last post, I have a couple of hypotheses about the Twilight series. The way that things just kind of work out in the end without any serious loss makes it hard for me to take the stories seriously as an accurate portrayal of events, even in another universe where vampires do exist and sparkle in the sun. It's like Clark Kent. I'm willing to believe, for the sake of fiction, that there could be a universe in which it is possible for people to have superhuman powers and fly and kill people with lazar eyes. I have a hard time believing that there is any universe anywhere where said person could just slap on some glasses and literally no one would notice the resemblance.

Likewise, I'm willing to believe, for the sake of fiction, that there could be a universe in which vampires are real and they sparkle in the sun. It's kind of a lame universe, and the lack of dancing unicorns is somewhat surprising, but the universe in itself I can accept. I have a hard time accepting that a single group of vampires plus one human teenager could repeatedly get into altercations with other groups of vampires and werewolves and not have a single fatality, or even a serious injury, but everything works out exactly the way our heroes want. I don't buy it. I don't know the fatality statistics for vampire on vampire combat, but it seems pretty unlikely to me that other hoards of vampires try repeatedly to take them out, and not one of our heros has so much as a lasting injury. Not even the human one, who is repeatedly experiencing head trauma, but seems to be able to function as well as ever.

Hypothesis number 1: The events of the last three books take place either in a coma dream, in an insane delusion, or in Bella's personal purgatory. At the end of the first book, Bella is hospitalized for several days, everyone apparently buying the story that "she fell down the stairs" (Seriously. That's how they explain her injuries to her family. No one looks at her boyfriend, who is mysteriously in Phoenix with her for no reason).

To me, it makes far more sense that the not-that-bad trials that befall her over the next few years, culminating in the happiest ending possible, are figments of her imagination. Go with me. The events of the first book all take place as described, except that at the end of the book, she doesn't ever wake up. Her head injury puts her in a coma for the rest of her life, and she merely dreams the events of the next books in the series.

It could be argued that none of the supernatural events ever happened at all. Bella is a teenage girl, distraught by her mother's remarriage and her relocation. When she is involved in the car accident early in the first book, she hits her head. Prior to this accident, she does not see anything supernatural actually occur.  She sees an attractive boy at school, and begins to spin fantasies about him. He is a vampire with supernatural strength and a heart of gold who really loves her for who she is. The stress and trauma of her familial situation, coupled with the head injury, eventually causes her to lose touch with reality completely, choosing to buy into a native myth with a romanticized twist: yes, this attractive young boy that she barely knows is a vampire, but a good vampire. A vampire who loves her, and uses his supernatural abilities to protect her. She alienates herself from her friends to focus on her fantasy, but the real break from reality doesn't come until book two, when her delusion is shattered and she cannot deal with reality as it really is (probably, the boy around whom she spun her fantasies really did just move to California with his family). Rather than get psychiatric help, at the end of the book she falls back into delusion and this time, succumbs completely.

The third theory is based on a similar premise to the first one: the events of the first book happen as they are written, except that at the end of the book, Bella doesn't wake up. Not because she is in a coma, though. Because she is dead. The events of the following books follow her as she navigates through purgatory and, successfully lucking her way through her many trials, eventually ends up in Paradise. This theory is somewhat flawed in that Bella solves virtually none of her problems by herself. Indeed, when she is put in a situation where she has to solve a problem by herself (ie, the entirety of book two) she simply chooses not to deal with it.

I don't necessarily think that any of these are what Stephanie Meyer intended when writing the books. In fact, I'm pretty sure she just intended to write a sweet romance about a vampire and the girl who loved him. I do think that her final product was completely unrealistic, and my hypotheses offer an alternative.


  1. I really like the Bella being delusional the entire time theory. I feel like if a few scenes were written in with her in a mental hospital, it would make the story much more believable and disturbing in an interesting to read way. It might even make it a legitimate work of literature.

  2. Yeah, I know. But that would interfere with the saccharine-sweet, mediocre love story that Stephanie Meyer was actually trying to write. Which is highly unfortunate, in my opinion.