Edward Cullen: Doting or controlling? (a guest post)
(The following is a guest post penned by Kelsey McCarthy, one of the students in my Twilight: The Texts and The Fandom course)
Edward Cullen, the protagonist’s love interest, is always portrayed in a positive light. Bella describes him as “perfect”, “too good to just be human”, and often refers to him as a “Greek God”. Without a discerning eye, most readers simply align their view of Edwards with Bella’s narration. However, once you begin to read the novels through a feminist perspective, Edward is not necessarily the prince charming a modern day teenager would be pining for.
While Edward does possess many desirable qualities, such as good manners, intellect, striking looks, and wealth, he is still not without flaws. Before this class, I had read the Twilight series twice through and had been completely infatuated with the idea of Edward. However, this time around, I’ve noticed many fundamental flaws with Edward’s character.
Before, I saw Edward’s mannerisms in regards to Bella as endearingly protective. Now, I’ve begun to realize that if any man treated me in the same way I’d be running for the hills.
In chapter 10, Bella tells a classmate of her experience spending time with Edward in Port Angeles, so naturally Edward hears every word of it. When he is displeased with what she says, Bella tells him he got what he deserved for eavesdropping, and he replies with, “I warned you I would be listening.” (pg. 208)
The last two times I read the novel, that line didn’t seem especially alarming to me; but it literally jumped off the page when I read it this time around. The thought of a potential love interest insisting on listening to a conversation between a friend and myself is borderline disturbing. Also, he almost has an authoritative tone in his language when he defends himself. I feel as though only a parent should “warn” a teenage girl about anything. That whole scene shows just how overbearing Edward is in regards to Bella from the start of their relationship.
Another line that stuck out to me was in chapter 14. Bella is sitting in Edward’s lap, and she tells him not to leave her. He replies with “Bring on the shackles—I’m your prisoner.” However, the following line states, “But his long hands formed manacles around my wrists as he spoke.” (Twilight pg. 302) Although he allows Bella to believe he’s subjected to her every beck and call and that she has the upper hand with him, his body language tells something different.
Although many argue that Twilight is a post feminist fairy tale, I beg to differ. In the chapter “Cinderbella” from Twilight and History the author give many examples to highlight the fact that Bella is just another princess in despair waiting for her prince charming to come and save her from her desolate life, completing her existence.
Before Bella meets Edward, she is extremely discontent with her life in Forks. However, as soon as they begin their relationship, she is suddenly smiling, prancing around the house, and looking forward to different times where she will see Edward. This doesn’t differ from characters such as Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and others who are awaiting the arrival of their one and only.
Although Edward’s character holds a great deal of appeal to many girls of this generation, I believe if any modern day teenager were in a relationship with the same logistics they would feel caged and utterly confined.