I recently ran into this article via Twitter By Stacey O’Neale which presents an interesting argument, stating that Stephanie Meyer’s series of Vampire novels are so unique within the genre that she’s basically created something new and innovative, especially for young adults.
Along with that, she claims that Meyer has surpassed many of the masters within the gothic genre (like Anne Rice and Bram Stoker) and made characters totally unique that no writer in history (within the genre) has ever created.
As much as I love it when people attempt to smite the haters of literature, I find myself tipping my head in curiosity and bewilderment at many of O’Neale’s claims. I’ve attempted below a friendly “calling out” of O’Neale and challenge her to answer my retorts of her claims. Below you’ll find excerpts of her article titled “The Meyer Effect” in white, and my reactions to her claims in green. Stacey O’Neale, if you happen to stumble upon this, please, by all means, let me know if I’m wrong or not because I certainly don’t see where you come up with these claims..
Fact #1: Meyer brought teenagers back to the bookstore! It’s an amazing accomplishment considering that book competitors are iPods, text messages, Facebook and Twitter. She brought them in by the droves and now they’re not just reading Twilight books! I talk to readers all the time that say they started off reading Twilight and then moved onto other young adult fantasy authors. Meyer, in many ways, has been the gateway drug that led teenagers to other amazing writers like Cassandra Clare, Melissa Marr, Holly Black, and Scott Westerfeld.
This is true, Twilight has helped young readers discover the joys of reading, but this is not so unique is it? In fact, I would dare say J.K. Rowling was an even bigger influence on bringing children into reading. I would even dare make the claim that most intellectuals who’ve read both Harry Potter and Twilight say Twilight was an unrewarding experience where Harry Potter was not. But this is besides the point right? Many Authors have done exactly what Meyer has done, and to a greater extent; already mentioned is Rowling, but let’s not forget about the other successful authors like C.S. Lewis, Robert Muchamore, Rick Riordan, and Neil Gaiman, all of which helped to show young people why reading is a valuable hobby.
Fact #2: Meyer gave us a new version of tired theme. You may not like her vampires, but you have to admit that they’re original. Vampires in high school that don’t drink blood, sparkle in the sunlight, and want to be human. This goes against everything ever written by Bram Stoker and Anne Rice. Not to mention that none of those books ever appealed to teenagers. You’ve got to give this girl props for giving us a new perspective on both vampires and werewolves.
The concepts you list here are not new to the genre. In fact, within Anne Rice’s novel, the main character wished to become a vampire but quickly yearned for his life as a human. Anne Rice also writes her character as someone who does not want to rink blood, but still desires it. Ed Cullen doesn’t want to drink blood…but he does eventually. Vampires within the schools is not a new concept either. The only thing that sets the Meyerized version of Vampires apart from all the others is their “weakness” of glittering in the sunlight, but even that is a tweaked idea from an already existing concept.
Fact #3: Teenagers are writing because of Twilight. I know of many readers that got the writing bug after reading the series. They’re tons of websites dedicated to Twilight fan fiction. Young readers writing their own versions of the popular series. Of all the things my daughter could be into, I’d much prefer her interested in creative writing. I couldn’t care less what the subject is, just the fact that she’s writing and using her imagination is enough for me.
Teenagers have been doing this for a long time…it just hasn’t been Twilight related. Take Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, teenagers are and have been writing and creating blogs based around these characters for years. Meyer only initialized a new cult of fans to start doing this. In fact, I would say that there are more fan fictions out there based on the characters I have listed than there are of the twilight persuasion.
All in all, I’m not sure how O’Neale has come to the conclusions she has without crediting all the other champions of young adult literature. But thus lies the issues surrounding biased rhetoric. (sigh)
Twilight has often been met with praise and glorification because it’s helping our young people to read. But, as I’ve stated before, Twilight is teaching young readers some improper and skewed morals that give people an excuse to “want” to be rapped, murdered and abused by the one who stalks them
Don’t believe me? Well, why don’t you just click here and read this article by Dr. Joonna Trapp (PHD) and measure her arguments with your own.