Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Analysis: And yet more on Meyers' Twilight and secondary female characters

Good gravy, I'm still stewing on Derdriu oFaolain's campfire at ADifferentForest.com regarding Twilight saga author Stephenie Meyer's treatment of secondary female characters, probably have yet another blog post in me on this.

There's so much in this series that cries out to be unpacked. The characters and story arcs are flawed, but hell, so are humans and their history past and future.


"La Petite Morte"

Upthread in the campfire at ADF there's a discussion of the two different reasons Edward gives for not wanting to have sex with Bella -- social norms and fear of hurting her -- offered individually at different times in the saga. The norms we grok readily given Meyers' mythology of vampire as frozen; once transformed, it's difficult for vampires to change their opinions and attitudes. 

The excuse of avoiding harm though, is a hint at an issue being dealt with at a much deeper level. Remember the old idiom, "la petite mort" or "little death," used as a metaphor or reference to human orgasm? If human sex generates a "little death," what does sex with an undead vampire yield? It must be a wholly different level of death, right? This nebulous threat of something more than injury hovers unarticulated in Eclipse and early BD.


Mother Nature's face and the primary directive

The more I think about Rosalie, the more I see a snapshot of our raw genomic forces at work. The primary directive underlying ALL genomes on this planet is to survive and replicate, rinse, repeat. We humans, like all other animal and plant life forms, are engineered by response to environment and resources and our demands on each other. The more pleasing fruit in terms of appearance and taste is plucked and eaten, its seed dispersed as a reward for its success. The most pleasing animal form -- ostensibly parallel to the form's success given the surrounding ecosystem -- is the one most likely to mate and reproduce.

Rosalie is the culmination of successful genomic expression. Her human family has a wealth of resources. She is beautiful, reflecting both her health and resources, and can attract an equally fit mate. She is the essence of Mother Nature at work -- and in this respect, Edward is right, Rosalie is very shallow. This is all she really is, the unfettered natural force of the primary directive to survive and reproduce, frozen and unrequited once Rosalie is transformed.

It's a stark beauty, how the force of nature works without much conscious intelligence. The beauty and power of this force is such that it bleeds through as an archetypal character in Meyers' saga. It can't be restrained, it needs no additional depth; it simply is.

~ o ~ O ~ o ~ O ~ o ~ O ~ o ~

Gads, how many more layers are there to this onion? This topic is keeping me awake.

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