‘The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn’: Domestic violence in disguise? — According to Kristen Stewart in an interview on MTV, the cast for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn has arrived in Baton Rouge and has already done the first read-through of the script. Filming starts in November for Breaking Dawn which will be adapted in two parts from the fourth book in the bestselling vampire romance series by Stephenie Meyer.
Some readers, even those who enjoyed the first three books in the series, are troubled by several elements of the fourth book. Even though it is a fantasy, some readers ask, does Breaking Dawn dramatize domestic violence in the disguise of vampire fantasy? Movie audiences wonder how filmmakers will handle the controversial aspects of the story. What do you think of the potentially serious subject? Is there anything to it?
Perhaps the first instance that troubles critics occurs in the first 100 pages of Breaking Dawn. Vampire Edward Cullen marries human Bella Swan, and they spend their wedding night together on tropical Isle Esme. The island getaway is a wedding gift from vampire Carlisle Cullen, Edward’s father figure. When the couple wakes up the next morning, Edward is disgusted at himself for what he has done to his new wife after he sees her body. Vampire-human contact leaves the human being in a damaged position. Bella accepts their situation as it is and tries to help Edward feel better. When Bella looks in the mirror that morning, though, this is what she sees:
“There was a faint shadow across one of my cheekbones, and my lips were a little swollen, but other than that, my face was fine. The rest of me was decorated with patches of blue and purple. I concentrated on the bruises that would be the hardest to hide — my arms and my shoulders. They weren’t so bad. My skin marked up easily. By the time a bruise showed I’d usually forgotten how I’d come by it. Of course, these were just developing. I’d look even worse tomorrow. That would not make things any easier” (BD pg. 95-96).
The dynamic continues to play out with the couple on their first day of marriage where Bella tries to make Edward feel better about hurting her.
Fans say that the book is a fantasy and that readers know it. They say Edward has been tortured all along with the conflict of loving Bella on the one hand but staying away from physical contact with her on the other precisely because he knew that this would happen. He is not in control of his actions because he is a vampire.
Critics say that the scenario walks a little too closely to dramatizing the dangerous cycle of domestic violence — that the men who hurt women apologize afterwards, and the women they have abused forgive them repeatedly, or even blame themselves for the abuse.
Comment below: What do you think, readers? Are Twilight readers and moviegoers fully aware of the fantasy elements in the story and take events on that level? Is Bella completely in charge of her own choices in the novels and movies? Or — is there a potentially dangerous element entering the novels/films in Breaking Dawn that young female readers/viewers, especially, should be careful to read and discuss thoughtfully?
Let us know your thoughts in the Comment Section!
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