Updating Freud: Female Behavior in Twilight
Twilight is a three-part series and the first novel was published in 2005. The central focus of the story is a supernatural romance between the vampire, Edward, and the human, Bella. Meyer creates a novel with supernatural elements, which immediately suspends the reader’s reality to an extent. Rosemary Jackson explains the genre of fantasy as “characteristically attempt[ing] to compensate for a lack resulting from cultural constraints: it is literature of desire, which seeks that which is experienced as absence and loss” all while the novel aims to “tell of, manifest or show desire…or [they] can expel desire, when this desire is a disturbing element which threatens cultural order and continuity” (4). While a young female understands that love is possible, she knows a person could never actually become a vampire to be with her one true love. This makes the culturally unacceptable fantasy of dying to be joined with one’s beloved eternally, celebrated and vicariously possible. The desire to die as an expression of true love is nevertheless internalized as acceptable among young readers.
The aspect of Twilight that lends itself to a modern update of Freud’s concept of the pleasure principle is the fact that the female protagonist, Bella, is incredibly gendered in the novel. While Romeo and Juliet seemingly focused on the lover’s journey as a pair, with perhaps even more attention focused on Romeo, Bella is clearly at the center of