It’s 9 am for me, and I’m thinking about Twilight. That’s pretty lame. It started with this post by the passionate and correct Kait Nolan, to whom I beg forgiveness for having to come write a post of my own about this article.
I will first say that I’ve read all the Twilight books. It’s true. I tell people I hate them and they ask me why I read all four. It’s because I couldn’t stop, but not in the good way. In the can’t-look-away-from-a-train-wreck way. I was horrified and jealous that the books could be published at all and disappointed that they have found such success. I enjoyed a handful of moments, and they were probably the ones I was supposed to hate. I’ve tried to forget that Twilight exists, and I have hated them from the moment I read the pseudo-prologue and the first page and thought, What have I done? Oh no, the bus is here! If I go back inside to return the book I’ll be stuck here for another hour! I guess– I guess I’ll take it home.
Anyway, having read all four books, I can take full advantage of the above article’s point 8. But that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m hoping to remove myself from Twilight by at least one step and instead focus on the idea of a character on which the readers can project themselves. From the article:
If the objective is to allow the reader to take the protagonist’s journey, to project their own qualities onto the lead character, Bella’s thin personality may allow her to serve as an optimal “projection screen.”
Bella is concerned with the mundane—with classes, with what to make for dinner, with making friends. She lacks conviction or direction of her own. She is entirely ordinary. In these ways, she is very like your ordinary reader: Also concerned with the mundane, and in this confusing world of ours, often lacking a clear sense of direction or purpose. To start from a blank and powerless position and gradually add layers of power and purpose to Bella’s—and vicariously, the reader’s—life is cathartic.
I won’t talk about how insulting that is to our every day reader. Kait Nolan covered that better than I could hope to. I want to talk about the idea of having a passive, conviction-less character and how they could possibly ever have a place in a story. Even if all the other characters are interesting (which they aren’t, in this case), even if the character experiences events that bring them into “their own”, how could you not cut that character out right away? If she’s meant to be blank and passive, Bella might as well not even be in the book. I find the idea of a “projection screen” character disgusting and worthless. Even people the writer of this article might consider “mundane” have some kind of direction, interest, feeling, activity–anything that makes them better than Bella. I want a character who I’d want to be friends with, who I want to root for, not someone who stumbles around making terrible decisions and attracting the attention of the worst excuse for a vampire ever conceived.
If you’re interested in learning more about how awful Twilight is, please visit your local these links: