If you haven’t chosen to dive into the world of teen vampires and werewolves, you need to take your first step off of the high board. The Twilight series, by Stephanie Meyers, offers a glimpse into the world of female adolescents, whether they want to admit it or not. The characters and plot have been taken straight out of the hearts and minds of girls across the nation and put into a format that is easily readable and digestible. Teen readers can’t get enough and the screen version fuels the desire for more of the same.
Instead of writing this literary piece off as a teen chick story/flick, you need to see this phenomenon for what it’s worth; a window into the yearnings and desires of young women. Those who work and live with teens need to study the storyline, the dialogue, and the culture and gain an understanding of what has made these novels so enticing. Brokenness, awkwardness, and the desire to be the center of another’s attention is no laughing matter when it comes to adolescent development. These novels shouldn’t be brushed off lightly.
Adolescent girls desire connection, relationship, and depth and Meyers has caught them hook, line, and sinker. Through Bella, the main character, Meyers gives us a tour through the longing to be in a deep and permanent relationship. Bella’s parents, divorced, are at a loss as to how to navigate through the teen years and this lack of connection and the need for connection is what drives the story that has brought thousands of young women to become either a part of Team Jacob or Team Edward. Meyers story is about broken relationships (her parents) and the goal of having a pure relationship (with either Edward or Jacob) that lasts forever.
As adults that are either parenting teens or involved in mentoring or teaching teens, it is highly important to understand the adolescent need for permanent relationships. Twilight can be a launchpad to talk through some of the issues and challenges Bella faces through her journey.
If you want to use this series as a window into your teen as you build on your relationship, consider the following opening questions.
- What are you drawn to in this story? Why?
- What parallels do you see in your life?
- How are you handling these situations?
- What do you think about the way Bella handles her situation?
- How have you experienced relationships like Bella and Edward’s? Bella and Jacob’s?
- In what way do you think these relationships are realistic? Unrealistic?
These simple questions will give you tremendous insight into your teen’s desires and hurts. If you read any of the dialogue you will find that Bella yearns for a relationship no matter how unrealistic it is—it’s better than nothing. Go ahead and take the dive into this open window.