On the Twilight Saga

Transcendence and Twilight

The Faith in Love

By Tamara McClintock Greenberg

The Twilight Saga appeals to different readers and viewers for a variety of reasons; adolescents love the way they can identify with the main character’s burgeoning sexuality and its subsequent awkwardness, young people raised by less-than-attentive parents can connect with feelings of being left on one’s own, and adults are often captivated by the creative storylines and seemingly endless plot turns and surprises. In my opinion, though, what makes Twilight an international phenomenon is the way we can all psychologically relate to Bella and her desire for immortality. Her love for Edward, though genuine, also serves as an escape from all of the trappings of normal human existence. Through him, she hopes to be saved from the limits of mortality, to find refuge from feeling tortured regarding her bodily and psychological shortcomings, and to be able to live forever, in the comfort of the one she loves. Bella’s love for Edward and her desire for transformation shield her from death anxiety.

The way Twilight represents love–as a vehicle for transcending death–is nearly religious, which might explain the way Twilight gets under our skin and stays with us. Both religion and Twilight offer a way of transcending mortal death and achieving immortality, and when we compare the two in this way, we end up with a completely different way of understanding the supernatural beings in both. The salient aspects of both religion and the vampire story are not dogma or fangs, but the power of love. Through this lens, vampires don’t damn  …

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