'Twilight: Eclipse' taps magical powers of youth tradition
'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse' strips away the otherworldliness of vampires and werewolves, appealing to the imaginations of the young.
Hollywood’s hottest teen movie, “Twilight: Eclipse” has arrived with the latest chapter in the love story between Bella and her vampire beau, Edward. But while the drama of a first crush is clearly driving ticket sales, the story also resonates with young readers who may have little interest in adolescent passion, but respond to its timeless quality of adventure and sense of wonder, say trendwatchers, literary critics and media experts.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
One in every five Yahoo! searches for the book’s Wolf Pack pups is from a pre-teen, says the company’s trend analyst, Vera Chan. “There is an understanding of the mystical world,” she says, adding that they have not been immersed in the real world, “and their imagination where wizards, witches and werewolves are real is very much a part of their daily lives.”
They relate to the pure sense of adventure, says pop culture expert Rob Weiner, librarian for Texas Tech University Libraries in Lubbock. “They have a deep desire to ask ‘what if?' ” he says, and the “Twilight” tales do a good job of taking that question to a new level.
The books, he says, strip away much of the other-worldliness from the space in which vampires, werewolves and other fantastical creatures dwell, and make it all seem everyday. “They normalize the experience of loving a vampire and knowing werewolves,” he points out, adding that this speaks to an important desire in this age group – "a great desire to make the fantastical real.”
Ohio State University junior Jon Caswell – a forum moderator for the online fantasy world Gaia, which monthly hosts 9 million fantasy fans age 13 to 24 – maintains that this sense of realism is what makes the “Twilight” books particularly attractive to this demographic. “I have triplet nine-year-old cousins who are really into the books,” he says, which he dubs a first. “They’ve never really been into fantasy all that much, but these books just make it seem so normal,” he says, adding that it probably helps that their mother – who is also a Twilight fan – “is very practical.”
This emphasis on a youthful ability to navigate the otherworldly is part of a modern push toward seeing children as “a portal to the magical and mysterious,” says University of California Davis writing instructor Amy clark, pointing to such classics as C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia." She adds that “children are a good conduit as they haven’t been taught out of it.”