Twilight (The Twilight Saga, #1) Twilight discussion

Book influences

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Siobhan Because this is one of the more active threads, I think this is the best place to put this (though there's a few books I could have put this).

In a lot of the twilight saga, Meyer references other books (Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights) and then seems to try to parallel her books with those stories. Meyer's not the only one to do it, I've just read Delirium where Romeo and Juliet is also referenced, and in the same way, and there have been more than compare themselves to classics, or even try to feature famous poetry throughout the book as a comparison between the storylines.

How do you guys, as readers, feel about that? I know personally, I dislike it. I feel like the author is constantly saying to me 'this is a better work that I'm trying to emulate, I have no confidence in my own ideas without this kind of mention'. By all means have a mention in passing, to show how well read you/your character is, but don't used the original as a blueprint.

What do you guys think?

message 2: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 27, 2012 07:53AM) (new)

Oh, I hate it too. I think that kind of allusion can be done well, but since Meyer does it with the subtlety of a hammer it completely fails.

Literary allusions, when skillfully done, are great to the story. But Meyer seems to have no idea on earth how to do it with ANY kind of subtlety. I mean, literally she's pretty much lecturing off to the reader "Edward and Bella are like Romeo and Juliet and Cathy and Heathcliff!" Yes, can you please just be a little more blunt about that? *eye roll* When authors like Meyer who don't know how to do it try to shove it into their books anyway, it makes them look clueless, ignorant and amateurish. Also, many of those allusions reveal Meyer's complete lack of understanding for the works she alludes to--for example she compares Romeo and Juliet to Bella and Edward as if that was a GOOD thing. Hell no.

Jordan Siobhan wrote: "Because this is one of the more active threads, I think this is the best place to put this (though there's a few books I could have put this).

In a lot of the twilight saga, Meyer references other..."

Well, I haven't read the books she has mentioned yet, I probably will have to in school. But when I do read them my opinion might change, but as for now... I'm not sure. I never thought that much about it. I think since the first book, we all know Bella as an active reader. So whenever Bella said something about one of those books, I just thought it was bringing out her intelligence. I feel like the Shakespeare book in the last book, well, the book itself wasn't important, it was the message in the book. So, IDK, it;s probably annoying to people who are older than me, I'm a freshman in HS, so I don't find it that annoying right now so....

message 4: by Gerd (last edited Dec 27, 2012 08:05AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gerd Hmm, not sure how true that is, I didn't see overly much parallels zu "Romeo & Juliet" in "twilight" and have for "Wuthering Heights" (I only got a couple pages into that and then decided that it wasn't worth my time to put up with this kind of characters) to rely on the parallels other people drew to "twilight".

However, I think some authors manage to make clever use of it.
Richard Matheson drew a lot of inspiration from Dante's "Inferno" and "Orpheus and Eurydice" for his "What dreams may come" (not to mention the obligatory Shakespeare reference there) ... so, yeah, depending on how conscious a writer is about his influences and how original/authentic he is in his use of them, I tend to like it.

And eventhough I feel Shakespeare is vastly overused by fledgling authors I really loved how Erin Morgenstern used elements of his plays in "The Night Circus".

I think when done properly it simply shows a writer's appreciation for which ever fellow writer they had let themselves be inspired by.

message 5: by Siobhan (last edited Dec 27, 2012 08:07AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Siobhan But even at your age, it got to me. I used to read the Babysitter's club books then, and when the California Dreams spin off came out, Ann Martin would reference On The Road by Jack Kerouac nonstop. I have read it now, and I do like when someone introduces me to something new through something I love (I find most of my music this way) sometimes it just does not work. Like, for this example, On The Road is about a guy who is selfish and takes what he can when he can from who he can, as told by his friend (the one to stand by him the longest) but in California Diaries, the character referencing it was trying to validate bunking off school while her mum was being ravished by cancer. Not exactly the same thing (unless you strain it and say Sunny, the character, was trying to emulate Dean Moriaty in that she was using the good nature of her friends while avoiding her reality).

But I don't think you need necessarily to have read the originals to see when someone else is doing it. In New Moon, they actually compare themselves to Romeo and Juliet, when Edward says he envies Romeo for his solution. Or when they debate the rationality of Heathcliff and Cathy and how they sympathise with the characters. That's the sort of stuff she should have left out for interviews.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Siobhan wroteL "In New Moon, they actually compare themselves to Romeo and Juliet, when Edward says he envies Romeo for his solution. Or when they debate the rationality of Heathcliff and Cathy and how they sympathise with the characters."

Yeah. It's like Meyer was thinking, "Hmmm, how will I reference Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet?...oh, that's a good idea! I'll have my characters TALK about them!" (barf.)

Jeni I don't mind referencing a book within a story-if it is just part of the story. For example, in Perks of Being a Wallflower, there are many classic books mentioned. When you look up the theme of the books, they are similar to what the character is going through.

Admittedly, this correlation is an indirect allusion to the story, but when I took the extra step to look them up, I was pleased to find the parallels there. It wasn't an in-your-face type of thing, which was pleasant.

Since I dislike anything Bronte--especially Wuthering Heights--I was quite annoyed throughout Twilight with the author's choice of adulation. Not to mention the inapplicable aspect of anything Victorian in today's world.

It is a balance that is difficult to maintain, but when done well, I enjoy it quite a lot. If it's done poorly, well, I'm more annoyed than anything.

Hope that is on target with your question.

Mochaspresso I can't actually prove it but I suspect that Stephanie Meyer was probably more heavily influenced by the movie versions. The movie versions are more romanticized, imo. Especially in the case of Wuthering Heights.

I thought the literary allusions in Twilight were "done well", but regardless of whether it was or wasn't....I think it is great if it encourages some people to go on and read those works mentioned or reread and reflect on their impressions of them."

message 9: by Emily (last edited Dec 27, 2012 10:01AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily I can’t really speak for Twilight, because I read that book a long time ago, but as for Delirium, I think the references served a purpose in the plot. Mentioning how students studied Romeo & Juliet as a cautionary tale gave readers a sense of not only how the government uses culture to promote its agenda, but it connects the new, dystopian world order with the one that came before, which I definitely like. One thing that bothered me with the Hunger Games, for instance, was that there was very little connection between the dystopian society and the one that came before, and I like to have a better sense of how one warps into the other. I also thought it was really interesting how Oliver had Romeo & Juliet play into the plot by having it used as a book that high schoolers read about the dangers of delirium, because there IS some legitimacy to that argument. Romeo & Juliet is romantic, sure, but there is something honestly unnerving about two teenagers killing themselves over one another after only knowing each other for a brief time. In fact, two of my high school English teachers took issue with the play for this very reason. I think it’s interesting when dystopian societies in books aren’t always so obviously wrong- it’s still propaganda the way Romeo and Juliet is used in Delirium, but it’s propaganda with an argument behind it. Romeo and Juliet can be interpreted in a negative light in real life too. I think Oliver’s inclusion of it is less to parallel her book to the story and more to make the readers question whether or not there IS something to the theory that love is a dangerous, malevolent force. Of course, we do ultimately know the government's in the wrong in Delirium, but at times their arguments do have a validity, and I think one way that Oliver draws this out is through the reference to Romeo & Juliet and the context in which the story's used in the book.

As for the other mentions to poets and so on in the wilds, I think those were also necessary to set up the sort of control the government has on culture. For me, it sort of echoed Nazi Germany with its frequent book burnings and banned books. So again, I think the references in Delirium were necessary to flesh out the government in the book and their stance on and relationship to old and new culture. I don’ t think they were just throwaway, self-deprecating references.

In general, in the case of dystopian books (even YA ones), I think it's important to give readers a sense of why people have come to think the way they do. Propaganda (particularly propaganda in school curricula) and control of culture are important elements with any real historical or present-day single party state, and dystopian novels set within this sort of government need to touch upon that somehow, so readers can understand how a particular idea or way of living became so predominant.

Siobhan Ally Condie's matched also references poetry as a way of rebelling against the distopian society she created.

I know what you mean in the sense of Romeo and Juliet being the way the government tried to repell teenagers minds from the amora nervosa, but at the same time, the way Lena and Alex were left at the end makes me think of the final sacrifices in R&J, and it makes me wonder if Requiem will tie up the story by having Lena try to sacrifice herself, believing that Alex is gone. I think I will be so put off if that happens.

But even then, it's subtle in comparison to the references in twilight.

Nuran For me, I see it as a way for the writer to make the characters more relatable to readers. "OMG she loves to read, just like me, she loves those stories, I love them too, it means I'm special too!!!!" kind of way. It's like writers can't find another way for their MC to be relatable. I see this happening in fantasy novels too, where it is set it a completely different world, so the books these characters love to read aren't something that exists so there's no parallel comparison to be made.

Sometimes the reason isn't as complex as it seems, at least for most of these books. It just seems like an easy way to connect to readers.

Jordan Siobhan wrote: "But even at your age, it got to me. I used to read the Babysitter's club books then, and when the California Dreams spin off came out, Ann Martin would reference On The Road by Jack Kerouac nonstop..."

I guess, it just never really bothered me... :)

Mickey I think most writers start out as readers. It's perfectly acceptable to me to have literary allusions in stories. In fact, I like them. I think that it can add another layer to the story and give it a striking parallel. For instance, there's a scene in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest where McMurphy is being prepared to undergo electro-shock therapy and the biblical allusions and parallels give the scene an extra power.

message 14: by Leah (new)

Leah Twilight does not compare in the least to Romeo and Juliet.

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Leah wrote: "Twilight does not compare in the least to Romeo and Juliet."
Noooo...but New Moon does!

message 16: by Lia (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lia hahahha i tried to get my mom to read this book in but the spanish version she read the summery and she said " hi esta no se controla" i don't know what reaction i was waiting for but that was definetly not it. i was laughing my head off when i heard this. hahhahahah

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