Stephanie Meyer: Twilight Saga series Part Three

by Rachel Baker on October 21, 2008

I’m still thinking about the Twilight Saga series.  My thoughts are not quite as obsessive as they were, but I’m still thinking.  And, I’m still not sure if I liked the series or not.  I know, that sounds bizarre considering how much I’m putting into this review.

I think my obsession is definitely more in line with trying to figure out what the attraction is, rather than whether I liked the Twilight Saga books or not.  But…I think I’ve found the big draw.  The attraction has to do with conflict. The Twilight Saga has more conflict than the law should allow. 

Conflict defines a problem in literature.  Its often a major theme, and when the conflict has been resolved, a reader is most likely near the end of a story.  There are six types of conflict we see in literature.  Sometimes we see only one of the following and sometimes we see a combination.

Character vs Self – think internal issues regarding confusion and fears.  This type of conflict is where a character is trying to figure out who s/he is. Often times, this type of conflict results in some inherent change in the character.  Isolation by Travis Thrasher has a good deal of this type of conflict.  Kite Runner, I think, is another good example.

Man vs Man – think villain vs hero. This is an external conflict between two beings.  I always think about the stereotypical detective and the criminal in mystery novels

Man vs Society – think man vs a group’s ideology (law or belief system).  This is external conflict.  I always think about Jo March (Little Women) and her character’s difficulty with being the woman society says she should be.

Man vs Nature – think man vs a storm or something else in nature. This is external conflict. The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway) is a great example of this conflict.

Man vs Supernatural – think man vs a monster of some sort for this one.  This is external conflict.  I always tend to think about Stephen King’s books with this one.

Then there’s man vs machine or technology.  I don’t particular read a lot of books where this is a predominant theme, so the only example I can give is a movie.  I, Robot is the first one I think of.  Matrix may also be another one.

In the Twilight Saga series of books, there are five of the six types of conflict. Let’s draft out the conflicts, for the three major characters, as I see them:

Bella:

Bella v Edward – Man vs Man, Man vs Supernatural
Bella v Bella – Man vs Self
Bella v Jacob – Man vs Man, Man vs Supernatural
Bella v Parents (jointly and individually) – Man vs Man
Bella v Vampires (jointly and separately – Rose in particular) – Man vs Man, but also, man vs self
Humanity v Undead (Rose v Bella to be more accurate) – Man vs Supernatural
Bella v Lineage (Humanity) – Man vs Society

Edward:

Edward v Bella – Man vs Man, Man vs Supernatural
Edward v Edward – Man vs Self
Edward v Jacob – Man vs Man
Edward v Charlie- Man vs Man
Edward v Victoria (and James)- Man vs Man, Man vs Supernatural
Edward v Lineage (Vampires) – Man vs Society

Jacob:

Jacob v Bella – Man vs Man, Man vs Supernatural
Jacob v Jacob – Man vs Self
Jacob v Edward – Man vs Man
Jacob v Sam (in the alpha dog way) – Man vs Man
Jacob v Lineage (Werewolves) – Man vs Society

Then there’s some pretty significant miscellaneous conflict, but I’m not really sure how to classify them.  I’m just going to list them so they’re out there.

Vampires v Werewolves –
Humans v Vampires – Man vs Supernatural
Vampires v Instincts –
Werewolves v Instincts –
Mortality v Immortality –
Cullens v Volturi (symbolic for the vampiric rules)

That’s a lot of conflict, right? This doesn’t even include conflicts amongst minor characters (other than Rose). Consider the amount of conflict young adults deal with on a daily basis.  With all the conflict in the Twilight Saga, its no wonder why these books have become such a pop culture success.  Conflict is the mechanism authors use to draw in readers.  How many times have you not been able to put a book down because you just had to know how the character would resolve some problem?  I think above and beyond anything else, conflict is the draw to this series.

I read all four books in four days.  I couldn’t put them down; when one finished, I picked up the next.  When I finished book four, I couldn’t figure out why the “i couldn’t put them down” phenomenon occurred. Was the writing fantastic?  Nope.  Was the story all-inclusive?  Nope.  Were the characters believable? Nope, not really.  It wasn’t until I started really drafting this review; I realized how in credible the amount of conflict really was.  The Twilight Saga was like a train wreck.  I wanted to stop looking, but I had to see how many heads rolled down the track.

One of the things I actually said while reading the books was “there’s so much conflict, its almost annoying.  Its just too much.”  Its this conflict that makes the books attractive to young adults.  Its this conflict that keeps adults reading to the end.  The conflicts are definitely not on the level of Lord of the Rings conflict, but they are the catalyst for sucking in a reader and not letting go until the very last page.

The author did a remarkable job resolving most of the conflicts throughout the saga.  The biggest conflicts left unresolved I think are from the Edward perspective of the story.   I find myself wanting to read another book. I know there’s a partial book written from Edward’s prospective on the events.  I really want to read the final product. There’s just too much conflict left unresolved.

Additional Note:  If you’ve read the four books in the saga, I recommend going here and reading the drafted manuscript from Edward’s point of view. It will help you understand his side of things.  I have to say on behalf of the author this is unedited and not complete.  I don’t know if she’s decided to finish Midnight Sun, and she says she doesn’t really want her readers to view the draft, but…if you’re like me, you won’t be able to help yourself.

If you missed the previous Parts of this review, here are the links: Part One and Part Two

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