About This Blog

Monday, January 21, 2013

"From Twilight to Breaking Dawn" (Sandra L. Gravett)

TITLE: From Twilight to Breaking Dawn: Religious Themes in the Twilight Saga
AUTHOR: Sandra L. Gravett
PUBLISHER: St Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2010, (112 pages).

This book interprets Stephanie Meyer's popular book and movie series from the angle of religious themes. Amid the hype, the smashing of box office records, and the astronomical sales of books and merchandise linked to the hit Twilight saga, the author highlights the themes with respect to Stephanie Meyer's Mormon background, how it has been overtly infused into the stories, and significant themes that make the whole series so captivating, and also thought provoking. This book begins with the basics, briefly describing what the movie is about, the main characters, the key themes, and provides simple storyline for readers unfamiliar with Meyer's saga. It also appeals to fans as it provides glimpses of the delightful plots.

Three key characters are studied. Firstly, the character of Edward has been described as a "Christ figure," with lots of positive association of goodness, life-giving blood, spiritual presence, transfiguration, and many good attributes that the Bible has spoken about overcoming temptation, life and death, sacrifice, love, and many more. Secondly, the character of Bella, which helms the entire saga with her being the sole narrator. She represents the Eve figure, innocent and weak, falling to temptation, being a temptress, lover to Edward, often displaying a parallel to Mary in the Bible. Thirdly, Carlisle as leader of the Cullen family, symbolizes a spiritually authoritative figure, chief guide, procreation figure, fatherly position, and a uniting patriarch. After dealing with the three key figures, Gravett moves toward the theme of "Determinism and Moral Choices," with themes of good vs evil, the choices we make, the shifting from mortal to immortal worlds, and Mormon perspectives on morality. Mormon theology on salvation is different from Christian theology. For example, Satan seeks human salvation for Satan's sake, rather than humanity's sake. In that aspect, as Meyer fuses in this into the story, it adds in complexity in spiritual themes as the different Mormon, Christian, and moral themes are intermixed. At some point, it is difficult to tell the themes apart, which makes any interpretation rather challenging.

There is also a chapter on Renesmee, the daughter of Bella and Edward, and Gravett carefully compares the pregnancy of Bella with the Bible story of Mary and Jesus. This straightaway evokes questions about theological significance, with references to some biblical and some heretical teachings about the nature of Christ. The final chapter compares the conclusion of the saga with the Kingdom of God.

My Thoughts

The author, Gravett tries very hard to view the Twilight saga from a biblical angle. I feel that she has overplayed the biblical significance. In fact, it can very well be a misinterpretation of Meyer's intent. While the book and the religious themes represent Gravett's ideas, I think Meyer's books are more Mormon than Christian. It would have been more beneficial to approach this book by using three lenses. Firstly, from the lens of the ordinary book reader or movier goer to connect viewers to the story. This is the general perspective for people who love stories. Secondly, it can be approached from Stephanie Meyer's Mormon outlook, to connect Meyer's Mormonism with direct instances of the saga. I say this because Meyer's version of Mormonism is quite different from the mainstream. This will give a better angle instead of speculating what the stories mean. Thirdly, we can compare and contrast the Mormon themes with Christian themes, instead of risking the application of biblical themes out of context of both story and Bible. In doing so, this book can do both Meyer and the Bible, and Gravett herself a disfavour by quoting both of them out of context.

This book pales in comparison with Elaine Heath's "The Gospel According to Twilight."  The intentions are good but the mechanism is flawed.

Rating: 3 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Chalice Press and NetGalley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment