I’ve been doing some reading on Twilight–seeing what the blogosphere has to say, furthering my obsession, etc. Anyway, I stumbled upon John Granger’s Mormon Vampires in the Garden of Eden. While I disagree with most of it (somehow, I doubt that Stephenie Meyer is subconsciously using Twilight to defend LDS doctrines), the passages about Twilight’s connection to Genesis jumped out at me. Obviously, Twilight has some very strong Genesis parallels (the quote at the beginning of the book, the COVER), but I hardly ever see anyone talk about it. Granger asserts that Edward is Adam and Bella is Eve, but that symbolism just didn’t agree with me, and I figured out why a few days later.
In one area, I can see the draw. Bella frequently describes Edward as an angel; in LDS theology, Adam apparently doubles as the Archangel Michael. But then comes the problem–Edward is already fallen. Bella isn’t the one tempting him to stray (technically, she’s trying to seduce him, but in light of Edward’s vampirism, I hardly think sex is the biggest issue here). If Edward has already fallen, then how can Bella tempt him? Edward is the serpent–after all, he is the one who places the apple on her lunch tray.
Besides, who does Bella always turn to when a deal needs to be made? Her guardian angel, the one with no wings. Edward makes a very conscientious Lucifer, to be sure, but I don’t recall Adam plotting murder and manipulating innocents every five minutes. That seems to be more Satan’s thing.
It never sat well with me, the way Bella basically admitted that Jacob was the right choice–the choice she should have made, if Edward were absent. What.
Yeah, I’m sure the guy who constantly violates her sexual and personal boundaries and shows no remorse whatsoever will make a perfect boyfriend (Edward only violates personal boundaries, so I guess that makes him…better? I have no idea. All I know is that Edward didn’t annoy me in the same way. I’ll probably slam him in another post to make up for the bias in this one).
The perfect boyfriend observed in action:
Bella: Um, so about you threatening to kill yourself so you could make out with me–
Jacob: Babe, I’d say I’m sorry, except I’m really not. 10/10, would threaten suicide again.
Suicide threats always were the surest way to pick up chicks, I guess? Leaving aside the ship war and getting back to literary criticism, if that’s what this post can be called, Bella’s reference to Jacob as the man she should have had only makes sense (to me. Not sure about Jacob fans), if we look at what he symbolizes. He is a child of the earth, at one with the wilderness. He eats rabbits, he knows in advance when it will storm, and he protects humanity from unnatural predators. He’s a much better candidate for the role of Adam than Edward, one of those unnatural predators, will ever be.
Bella’s agreement with Jacob in this context makes sense; with Jacob, she would have had children, a warm bed, and constant contact with her human friends and family. If one temporarily forgets that Bella doesn’t have much to expect from the latter, Jacob is the natural choice. If Bella chooses Edward, she chooses death (and chooses to put up with Byronic moodswings for all of eternity).
Like, Eve, Bella is curious. She isn’t content to live in ignorant innocence; she seeks monsters out and explores them, whether they want to be explored or not. Eden is not enough; for her, a bite out of the apple is a step up, not a step down. Who needs a heartbeat, anyway? In fact, she sets out to convince her very reluctant Lucifer of just that. In this version of Genesis, Lucifer does not seduce Eve. Eve seduces Lucifer.
Update: After I started writing this, I found an essay that explored this topic far better than I could here.