Two years ago I was surfing through late night movie channels looking for a movie that wouldn’t evoke terror and came upon Twilight. For the four people on the planet unaware, the movies are adapted from the young adult novels by Stephenie Meyer. After watching the movie, my curiosity was on overload and I was hooked! I had ignored the novels and movies thinking they would be too girly for a middle-aged professional business owner, wife, mother of three grown sons, and grandmother of three beautiful granddaughters. But oh my, I do love a good story! I drove immediately to Wal-Mart — the only bookstore open at 2:00 AM — and bought the entire series as well as all the available movies. At the point that my obsession started, Eclipse had just been released on DVD.
The books are a fast read and I quickly discovered that Meyer left clues all throughout the books as to what would happen in the next book. I will not re-tell the story at this time as most reading this have already read the stories over and over as I have.
Here’s what you should know. It was important to me that the heroine of the story be a strong female influence. Someone who I would want my three granddaughters to admire and look up to as they grow up. Bella Swan’s contemplative goal-oriented path to what she desires most is truly inspiring.
She appears weak, but is actually stronger and more goal-driven than most of the other characters. She proves over and over again that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect the ones she loves. Edward Cullen is going through his existence trying to redeem the “sins” of following his instinct for survival as a young vampire, and in my mind hopes to redeem his soul. He believes that God created humans and vampires at the same time as other creatures. I noticed that Edward could not clearly read Charlie’s thoughts and that Bella’s shield was at least partially inherited from her father.
But as Edward made a mental list of Bella’s strengths, he failed to recognize that she had been gifted with an innate intelligence to read other people and shield those she cares for. Ultimately in Breaking Dawn that comes down to her family, the wolves and other members of the Quileute Tribe as well as the vampires who will stand behind the Cullen coven to stop the Volturi from completing their evil scheme.
When I think of Bella and innate intelligence, I am reminded of the writings of B.J. Palmer, D.C., Ph.C. and others: “The life of a frail plant cannot be seen, but it can crack a rock.” However, as Bella has many good qualities, she sometimes makes poor decisions that result in her needing to be rescued time and time again by Edward and/or Jacob. This is nothing more than a learning curve in young girls and I believe it allows the reader to see one of Bella’s weaknesses.
As much as I love Bella, there are also other strong women in the series who end up being positive female role models as well. There’s Alice who sees Bella’s future with Edward and their family and is therefore instrumental in helping Bella save Edward from destroying himself at the hands of the Volturi in New Moon. Although jealous of Bella’s humanity, Rosalie protects and helps Bella throughout her pregnancy as the unborn child’s strength ravages her human body. Also Esme, Edward’s vampire mother, is extremely loving and accepting, and she too helps protect Bella in her weakened condition during pregnancy.
In Breaking Dawn Edward must learn to let go and have trust in Bella as well as learn to live with the joy of having an equal partner after her transformation. However it is before that in Eclipse that Bella really asserts the liberated woman deep inside her. She will not be told that she cannot see Jacob or go on the reservation. She succeeds in standing her ground and protecting her friendship.
Bella’s also determined to succeed in giving birth, against her husband and father-in-law’s pleas to abort the baby and save her life. Not only will she make the ultimate sacrifice in order to see that their baby might survive, but she has thought of a way that Edward can change her without sacrificing his soul. In her mind, if he changes her in order to save her life — as Carlisle has done with Edward, Esme, Rosalie, and Emmett — his salvation will not be in jeopardy.
Embracing eternity within a strong family, delaying gratification, setting and striving toward a goal, staying loyal, keeping hopeful, finding one’s soulmate, surrounding yourself with the love of good friends, constantly trying to be a better person, believing in the overall good of mankind and knowing that good will conquer evil in the end. This is what the Twilight Saga books and movies have meant to me and these are the kinds of lessons that I will pass down to my 3 granddaughters.
And yes, I will probably see Breaking Dawn — Part 2 at least nine times in the theater, just as I did Part 2.
Olivia White lives in the mid-south, where she is President/ Co-Owner of a contract environmental laboratory. She and her staff provide wastewater/drinking water analysis to 65 public utilities, and groundwater analysis to 44 landfills, along with industries, private wells, and environmental consulting. She’s married, the mother of 3 sons and loving grandmothers of 3 adorable granddaughters – all too young for the Saga. She’s spent the last 30 years reading environmental regulations, laboratory SOP’s, horticulture,and historical books until being bitten by the Twilight Saga.