I don’t like vampires.
I don’t like werewolves.
In fact, it’s probably safe to say that on the list of people who are least likely to enjoy reading the Twilight series, I would be beaten only by the deceased. They aren’t romantic; they are archaic, provincial, Romanian bollocks.
My total aversion to all things Kristen Stewart was, however, somewhat tested after the cinematic release of Breaking Dawn. Cringing to the attention-fuelled griping of a girl that the Guardian ranked #4 in ‘Most Pathetic Female Film Characters of All Time’, I overheard an earth-shattering whisper: “well, you see the books are really very interesting because the author is actually a Mormon”. This suggested that, in spite of my unbridled loathing, a book about vampires might have some sort of literary significance. How disappointing.
Having chewed, swallowed, digested and painfully excreted my pride, I decided that Twilight would be worth a read, if only for culturally enlightening purposes. I gingerly opened the first page, expecting to have to painstakingly sift through hundreds of pages of text to find the subtlest of allusions to Mormonism. Fortunately for me, subtlety is not one of Meyer’s strongest attributes and the preface is a direct quote from Genesis:
“But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (2:17)
Brilliant – If all the references to Mormonism are this explicit I shall have absolutely no problem ascertaining the reasons why Bella is such a drippy waste of femininity. And I don’t. From the first chapter onward, it becomes clear that Mormonism is not necessarily the driving force within the novel, but behind the novel.
Bella spends at least 98% of the first few chapters trying exceptionally hard to have no friends and remain enigmatically miserable, but this isn’t because she an aspiring Lord Byron, it is just a manifestation of the preface: a self-afflicted purgatory that conforms to all of Meyer’s Mormon ideals.
No, Bella shall not be tempted by any fruits from the tree of knowledge – especially those reputed rotten fruits of friendship, laughter, or happiness, because Bella herself isn’t a Mormon, but her actions are, however, governed by its idealised lifestyle.
Mormonism is also the reason Twilight is not called 50 Shades of Vampire. When Bedward’s desire to touch each other becomes unbearable, the overwhelming sexual tension is handily dispersed into a far less exciting bodily necessity: hunger. Edward likes to be near Bella because she smells delicious, and when lurking in shadows and being pasty gets a little bit tiring, he would quite like to eat her, not that it’s, y’know, personal or anything.
So whilst we all sit at home wistfully hoping that one of them would just man-up and take their trousers off, we should channel our frustration away from Bedward and towards Meyer who is only attempting to create a novel that conforms to her cultural beliefs.
So don’t blame Bella. As much as she’s a complete disgrace to the female sex, has the decision-making capacity of Winnie-the-Pooh and the personality of a damp tea-towel, she’s only fulfilling the authorial Mormon obligations of Meyer. It isn’t her fault, she is just a puppet.