I became aware of the Twilight phenomenon last year when my teenage English language students:
(a) began asking me what “twilight” meant;
(b) gave oral reports on the subject (book and film); and
(c) wrote me Twilight film reviews.
Some students had difficulty summarizing the plot.
They wanted to re-tell the entire story – a good linguistic exercise for them but not useful on an exam where they had to write an email to a friend describing a film they had recently enjoyed in approximately 100 words.
The story, as I discovered for myself when I finally watched the film on SKY this week, is essentially this: a high school girl moves to a painfully small, sunless town.
She falls in love with a good-looking, enigmatic class-mate.
He falls for her too but there’s a complication: he’s a vampire.
Fortunately for the heroine, he is a good vampire (as opposed to one of the bad ones).
Unfortunately, physical contact between the teenage lovers is impossible because he might lose control and kill or maim her.
Much frustration ensues…
None of my students mentioned the look or the mood of the film: it’s wonderfully gloomy; the palette is olive-green, grey and brown (on my TV anyway); and everyone is attractively pale and gaunt.
I’m sure many an adolescent girl can identify on some level with Bella, the heroine.
Her parents are divorced; she is trapped in a small town; she can’t dance; she has to force herself to connect with her peers; she’s socially awkward; she doesn’t have cool stuff; she’s nice-looking but not a knock-out; boys like her but…
None of my students mentioned that loving a vampire could be analogous to loving a person of a different race, religion or culture. I shall be bothering them with this view if Twilight proves to be popular again this year. This is a strong possibility as the second film New Moon was recently released here.
I enjoyed Twilight more than I expected. I can see that I missed out on a visual feast by not going to watch it at the cinema.
Even so, I won’t be putting the books on my reading list.