On the Twilight Saga

The Gestalt of Twilight

By Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D.

“You are what your deepest desire is. As you desire, so is your intention. As your intention, so is your will. As is your will, so is your deed. As is your deed, so is your destiny.”

–The Upanishads

“I want you to be safe. And yet, I want to be with you. The two desires are impossible to reconcile.”

–Edward Cullen, Twilight

We human beings love categories. We especially love dichotomous choices. They not only help us make sense of our reality and decide how to interact with it, but are the source of seemingly every heated debate in seemingly every demographic group: Yankees or Red Sox? Betty or Veronica? Democrat or Republican?

The prominent salience of dichotomies is part of the Twilight Saga’s appeal. Dichotomies are everywhere: good versus evil, human versus monster, vampires versus werewolves, even love versus hate, as at the very beginning when Bella doesn’t understand Edward’s unusual behavior. Practically every choice is set up as a dichotomy: Bella decides to live with her dad instead of her mom, constantly goes back and forth between Edward and Jacob and eventually has to choose (or at least believes she does) between a father-daughter relationship with Charlie and a marital relationship with Edward.

Yet, the interesting thing is not the presence of the dichotomies but that, when it comes down to it, they are almost always “false” choices. Real-life choices are rarely truly dichotomous. Multiple options are almost always possible, and seemingly mutually exclusive feelings  …

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