“Twilight:” the Ever-Reaching Cultural Phenomenon
Mentor:Kurt Meyer, Professor of English, Irvine Valley College
“Twilight:” the Ever-Reaching Cultural Phenomenon Author: Sarah Beydoun, Irvine Valley College Mentor: Professor Kurt Meyer, Department of English, Irvine Valley College It can be assumed that, generally, romance novels are made to appeal to females more than males. The appeal of the “Twilight” franchise, however, transcends the limits of a typical romance: notable in the fact that the books alone have been translated into thirty-seven different languages; prompting the question, why is this particular story loved so thoroughly and completely? Rather than a social phenomenon, is it intrinsic? This abstract explores the reason why this franchise is so attractive to the female gender in particular. Carl Jung’s theories about the collective unconscious and the anima/animus may be used to answer this. With Edward and Jacob, “Twilight” unwittingly hits the psychological jackpot, these alpha male love interests have just enough complexity to relate to and just enough simplicity for the fan to utilize their own artistic license. The collective unconscious represents a reservoir of information that all humans are born knowing, in this case, a working knowledge about male and female identity. This information is then shaped by society as the individual grows, and they gradually suppress the part of their intrinsic identities that they “do not need.” In “Twilight’s” case, the women in the audience can project their animuses onto Edward and Jacob; ultimately, this makes them the perfect “other half” for every woman, as she unknowingly gives them all the characteristics she intrinsically desires in a man. Through an analysis using Jungian psychoanalytic theory, this observation changes the future of the romance genre in a social context. No longer do authors have to create multiple complex and diverse characters in order to appeal to a larger audience—instead, they may create one or two simpler ones to mirror Meyer’s.