On the Twilight Saga

Vegetarian Vamps

On Changing Hard-to-Change Habits

By Robin S. Rosenberg, Ph.D.

In the Twilight Saga, as in most other vampire stories, vampires’ desire for human blood can–and has been–seen as an allegory for all kinds of desire: sexual desire, the feverish desire that is part of passion, the tenacious desire for life, and the desire for intimacy and connection. (After all, what is more intimate than absorbing someone’s blood?) Here, though, I’m going to explore a different allegory–one closer to the literal function of human blood for vampires: the human desire for food.

In Twilight’s world, almost all vampires (vamps, for short) drink the kind of blood that is the tastiest for them–human blood. Unfortunately for humans, being a walking blood dispenser for vamps is typically a fatal experience. Two small bands of vampires, the Cullen and Denali covens, have declared themselves to be vegetarian vamps and do their part to lower the death-by-forced-blood-donation toll for humans. These two covens have vowed to abstain from drinking human blood and imbibe animal blood instead. (In the rest of this essay, for brevity’s sake, when referring to both vegetarian vamp covens, I’ll simply refer to the Cullens.)

Some people might say that being in recovery from alcoholism is a better–or at least another–analogy for the Cullens’ struggle with their restricted diet than the human desire for food. I don’t think this analogy works, and here’s why: an alcoholic trying to stay sober can, with effort, create a life that minimizes temptations–not drink, not go to bars, not socialize with people who drink–but people trying to  …

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