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Twilight: The Texts and The Fandom, Week 4 re-cap part 2

September 24, 2010

Students have now completed book one of the series (for the majority it was not their first read) and we watched the film in class last week. Analytical response papers have been very interesting to read thus far. A few highlights are as follows:

  • A paper focusing on the representation of vegetarianism with great analysis of Edward’s tofu comment
  • Love the phrase “Edward Cullen Epidemic” used in one student’s work
  • A piece analyzing not only why women READ the romance, but why they WRITE it, with a focus on Meyer’s biography
  • An analysis of Christian Serratos’ PETA ad as indicative of the more problematic franchising of the saga
  • A great title: “Edward and Bella: True Love in a Post-Feminist Era?”
  • An analysis of Edward’s controlling physical actions – i.e. his hands forming “manacles” around Bella’s wrists
  • The feminization of Edward’s character
  • Bella as an overly trustful character

We finished watching the movie in class this week. Though I have read the first book and seen the first movie several times each, I always notice new things. For example, this time around the Southwest Airlines plane stood out to me – maybe because I had recently made a comment in class about Bella’s Virgin Air flight in New Moon…

When asked to document some of the key differences between the Twilight film and the book, the most frequent comments related to the following:

  • Changes in the meadow scene and the first kiss
  • The fact the blood typing/biology scene is missing in the movie
  • The fact Bella has a nice Mac in the movie and high speed internet
  • Bella’s depiction as vegetarian in the movie
  • The changes surrounding the Phoenix/James storyline
  • Changes to the vampire baseball scene
  • Laurent is black
  • Cooking of the Italian dinner at the Cullen house

Some unique responses were as follows:

  • Emmett’s curly hair missing in movie (in the saga, this is one of the reasons Rosalie falls in love with him as he reminds her of her friend’s curly haired child)
  • Alice same height as Bella in the film and no major height differential between she and Jasper
  • Movie as indicating franchise and sequel via an ominous Victoria at the dance and the Cullen crest
  • No emphasis on Bella’s reading practices in the film, no mention of Wuthering Heights etc.

I never fail to be surprised by the great attention to detail fans and students commentary reveals. Once again this goes against the framing of “Twilighters” as insipid, Rob Pattinson crazed GIRLS who are too naive to care about analyzing the saga and the film adaptations. As a student pointed out in class, the assumption that females can’ t tell the difference between fiction/fantasy and reality (or between a “fantasy boyfriend” such as Edward and a real life males) is insulting. Hear, hear!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2010 8:41 pm

    I never understood the Bella is a vegetarian as well on the movies. Bella is eating a hamburguer with Charlie. Of course it could had been a vegetarian one but even if Bella doesn’t eat a lot of meat onscreen I don’t think it was meant to show her as vegetarian.

    Something else about the movie I think this is a few of the movies where the characters actually eat a lot. We got like six scenes related to food. In the books food is also important and mentioned often enough.

  2. September 24, 2010 10:08 pm

    I totally noticed the mac and high speed internet in the movie. Also the fact that they cut so many key parts of the book out.
    I mean, the biology experiment was defiantely a key part of the book.
    Or, in the book Bella reveals she thinks Edward is a vampire in the car ride back from port angeles.

    • September 24, 2010 10:09 pm

      Instead of in the meadow/woods like the movies states….

  3. Michelle permalink
    September 24, 2010 10:49 pm

    Whoever said that “the assumption that females can’ t tell the difference between fiction/fantasy and reality (or between a “fantasy boyfriend” such as Edward and a real life males) is insulting” is now my favorite person on Earth. Sooo right! Well done!!!

    • September 25, 2010 8:34 pm

      Ditto. If that were the case women wouldn’t had gotten married since Jane Austen created Mr. Darcy or any other romantic hero equivalent for every culture. The human race would be extinct at this point.

  4. Eliza permalink
    September 28, 2010 3:05 pm

    One of the changes I found most annoying in the movie was that they drastically changed the events surrounding James/Victoria/Laurent, adding in the murders taking place before the baseball scene (which is the first time we meet them in the book). I thought that changed the story quite a bit.

    I had also previously noticed all of the differences mentioned above. Upon my initial viewing of the first movie I was really disappointed and angry because of all the
    changes. I felt like the movie lacked any depth of Edward and Bella’s relationship, and it does not surprise me that so many people view Twilight as stupid, because if the first movie was their only exposure to it, I would tend to agree.

    • natalie wilson permalink*
      October 3, 2010 4:56 pm

      Yes, we talked about the fact that if the movie was the only exposure to the saga, that one’s response would likely be much more negative. We also discussed how many of the MSM coverage and the reporters seemed to ONLY know the movie and this thus generated a great wave of “Twilight Backlash” wherein female fans were framed very negatively.

  5. September 30, 2010 8:26 pm

    For me the difference between the books and all 3 movies is that Bella is more emotional in the book than the way Kristen Stewart plays her in the movies. I love Kristen but the emotion was just not there. A Main scene missing from Eclipse was after she saw Jacob and when she was driving home she had to pull over because she was crying too hard. For me in the book this was a pivatal (sp) moment that was ignored in the movie. Bella realizes that yes she loves Jacob and wants Jacob but she loves Edward more and the loss she feels because of that.

    • October 4, 2010 6:51 pm

      Yeah I agree Kristen was not a crier like Bella. But people despises emotional characters nowadays,so I’m not surprised they changed that.

  6. Eva permalink
    September 30, 2010 9:38 pm

    The other change that is not mentioned in the New Moon is Jacob’s tattoo. And that is the first thing Bella notices (and of course the haircut).

    • October 4, 2010 2:49 am

      I think the tattoo was to have another promotional product to get to the fans, like the Cullen and Volturi crest.

      Its one the changes that I actually like. Having a visual mark is interesting.

  7. cat permalink
    September 10, 2011 4:35 pm

    I’ll say again, that is why there is a distinction made between Twihards and Twilighters. Twihards you can’t reason with, Twilighters you can.

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