The witching hour looms for vampire's teen fans
Across the country, booksellers are staging proms, vampire "balls," trivia contests, scavenger hunts and at one store in Vermont, an Edward Cullen look-alike contest. (That ought to get teenage girls into a bookstore on a Friday night.) One store in California is parking the bloodmobile out front, hoping books about a family of throat-biters will inspire fans to roll up their sleeves. At the King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, the final results of an ongoing poll about which suitor Bella should pair off with will be announced at the stroke of midnight. Readers loyal to Jacob might want to start stuffing the ballot box by voting here: http://kingsenglish.booksense.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp. Edward's currently ahead with 81 percent of the vote.
Despite its popular acclaim--a film based on the first book, Twilight, is scheduled to open on Dec. 12--critical reception has been mixed. Bella's enthrallment with Edward, and her near-constant need of being rescued, make some women (including me) cringe. The second book, New Moon, "may leave the reader wishing for . . . a more empowered and self-assured heroine," wrote Angelica Delgado in the journal, VOYA.
This is roughly the same story we've seen in every Disney movie, fairy tale, and historical romance going back to Pocahontas and John Smith. If the beautiful maiden is bland and submissive enough, she'll get her (white) Prince Charming.
The corollary message to Indians? You're not good enough to get the girl. You're a loser who can't compete. The only way to succeed is to abandon your traditions and act like the white man.
Symbolism reinforces message
Even Edward's and Jacob's symbolism is fitting. Like an angel, Edward the Anglo vampire is pale, immortal, and (if he's like other vampires) able to fly. That he's a bloodsucker is beside the point. (Lucifer wasn't a sweetheart either. Like his Euro-Christian counterparts, he founded a "New World" in Hell where he could rule over the unbelievers.)
Meanwhile, Jacob the Indian werewolf is hairy, snarling, and savage just like a demon. He's literally a beast-man. So we see the duality Meyer has unwittingly set up. The white character is superhuman and the Indian character is subhuman.
For more on the subject, see Non-Native Cast as Quileute Werewolf.
Below: Princess wannabe Stephenie Meyer writes her fantasy: finding a perfect man who isn't an Indian.