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These days, one is hard pressed to find an enthusiastic teenage girl, studious college student or calm and collected middle-aged woman who wouldn’t eagerly bend her neck to welcome a vampire bite.
Girls are spending their nights flying through the pages of “Twilight” (most on their third or fourth run) while their geometry books sit untouched on the nightstand next to them.
Is this really what our society has come to?
The “Twilight” series is effectively inspiring an entire generation of love-stricken females who expect the man of their dreams to creep stealthily into their bedrooms in the middle of the night and confess their undying love. Stephenie Meyer is showing teenage girls (and their mothers) that it is okay to put their lives on hold and await the arrival of a man who may someday desert them if they deem it in the best interest of their young human love.
Not really the picture of a healthy romance.
Indeed, a man in a Michigan theater reportedly leaned over and bit the neck of a young woman seated in front of him during a recent “New Moon” showing.
As if we didn’t have enough self-esteem issues among our youth today.
How does a ridiculous story like “Twilight” become so ingrained in our national psyche? How does it persuade us to stake out in line at theaters 12 hours before the movie is set to roll? How does a simple story have the power to affect us so?
At the end of the day, the magic of “Twilight” is that it really is just a story.
Between job layoffs and rising tuition and an increasing number of divorces, it offers a fleeting glimmer of hope that maybe there are two worlds out there. That, perhaps between the world of late bills, missed appointments and traffic jams, there lies another, more subtle world.
We see glimpses of it from time to time during those late-night drives with a friend, and the surreal feeling you get when you see the sunrise after staying up the whole night talking about everything and nothing with a former love. It’s the grays in your life, rather than the black and the white.
Stories make us believe again. They thump us over the head with a hearty dose of surrealism and a dash of absurdity and remind us that everything might not be as it seems.
We become like children on Christmas Eve, our ears tentatively awaiting the slightest clip of a reindeer hoof or the heavy clomp of a boot. Even if Santa doesn’t come, we still anticipate his arrival, and it is the meaning we attach to his expected visit that gives the holiday season any meaning at all.
We cling to stories like the boy in the cupboard under the stairs and the kids who find a fantasy world through a wardrobe because we need to find meaning in our lives. We need to believe.
We become blinded by the day-to-day, and often forget that the world is not as solid as it may seem. In the end, our lives are really just stories, stories with intense highs and miserable lows like those of Bella Swan. They’re what make us human rather than simple operating systems with programmed responses and calculated actions.
It’s not until we see movies like “Twilight” or read books like Harry Potter that we are able to peel back the veil and see that something more might lie beneath.
What that something is, however, is for the viewer to decide. It isn’t finding the meaning that is the key; it’s creating that meaning.
Contact CU Independent Managing Editor Kate Spencer at Katherine.email@example.com.