July 06, 2008
Stereotypes in the Twilight series
Stephenie Meyer's Use of Quileute Characters
I wondered how every single Quileute was russet-colored (and if I never ever read "russet-colored" again it won't be a moment too soon). I live in the Southeast and in my family alone we range from every shade of brown to quite pale (like me) to Black like many of my cousins and other extended family. I would be lying if I did not think we're a good lookin' bunch of folks but we're not all insanely gorgeous like all of Meyer's Indians, aside from Kim. The exotification of was heavy-handed, most likely in Meyer's attempt to show that she thinks Indians are beautiful, strong, and we all but walk on water, *lol*, but, instead, it shoved me out of the story and reminded me that this was a non-Native writing Indian characters. For instance, Meyer loved Alexie's new YA novel so I think she has a grip on what is an authentic young PNW Native boy's voice and experience. Granted, things may be different in the West, but I still know more than a few Indians that don't look like something out of Disney's Pocahontas, even the Plains folks, although I can't help but think she was reading a dime-store novel about Comanches or the Dakota when she was drafting Jacob's description. While Jacob was written to be mostly age-appropriate, I think she did fall into uber-sexy warrior territory after his first phasing as a werewolf, but perhaps it paled in comparison to how dazzling Edward was in every scene? Bella is a dubious narrator when it came to the physical descriptions of Edward and Jacob, but the subtext ran to the Hot!Indian to me.Comment: For more on the subject, see Romantic Indians and The Best Indian Books.