Many people today are absolutely obsessed with the “Twilight” series written by Stephenie Meyer (http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/bio.html). In fact, “Twilight” has sparked an interest in teens for books like “Wuthering Heights” and “Jane Eyre”. My sister is one of the many teens flocking to gothic literature due to its reference in the “Twilight” series. I think that this is fantastic, and it will broaden their literary knowledge besides the usual teen paranormal romance novels. In many ways these books are just modern, modest renditions of the true literary classics of the Gothic genre, one of the classics being “Jane Eyre” written by Charlotte Bronte in 1847(http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/janeeyre/facts.html).
Throughout both of these stories we see striking similarities especially in relation to family and friend relationships. In “Jane Eyre” we are introduced to a young orphan girl, who essentially really has no family connections aside from her cruel aunt Mrs. Reed. She really is basically alone, no one there with whom she could connect with emotionally or physically. The book also reveals how she does not have any strong ties to friends aside from one friend, Helen Burns, she would make at the orphanage that would later pass away from an illness. In “Twilight”, we meet Bella Swan. She is a young, 17 year old teenager. Bella originates from a divorced home which affects Bella in certain ways. In the book she does not really seem close to her father with whom she ends up staying with at the beginning of “Twilight”. Then there is Bella’s mom who although seems loving almost seems distant due to the fact that she is pulled away by her new husband, the aspiring baseball player. Similarly, through these situations, Bella seems withdrawn and introspective. She has not made any lasting friends in part because of her mother’s new husband’s job which requires a lot of travel.
One of the critical elements missing in both of these characters is the lack of strong female characters in their lives. These young women had to basically become strong by themselves not having anyone to light the way for them. Had they had these strong female figures maybe things could have ended up differently?
The next likenesses they share are the new lives that they take on. As we move through the novel “Jane Eyre”, we see Jane Eyre grow up into a young woman. She turns 18 years old and decides to move away from the orphanage and through a series of trials she finally finds a job. She becomes a nanny hired by Mr. Rochester, a wealthy man. As the story continues to unfold, Jane develops a love interest in Mr. Rochester. This love that arises is highly unusual due to the fact that they come from different social classes, and would be frowned upon during their time had they gotten married, but that did not impede them. In “Twilight”, Bella turns 17 years old and opts to move in with Charlie in Forks, Washington, as opposed to constantly moving with her mom. In this new life, she is introduced to a new world where she knows very few people from her childhood memories. And we find that Bella does not really know her father all that well. Long story short, Bella falls for Edward Cullen. This is interesting, yet again another love seemingly unlikely, a relationship between a human and vampire. Oops did I forget to mention that Edward is a vampire. As the story continues Bella gains not only a lover but finally a new family that she so longs to be a part of.
As I have read these two stories, I can’t help but wonder what their lives would have been like had they had strong women in their lives, grooming them and teaching them about the many things of life. I believe that if Bella had had a strong female character in her life the story of twilight would have quite possible been different. I believe that she wouldn’t have been so wrapped up in Edward. I think she would have been an outspoken, young woman, open about her thoughts. I think she would have had more confidence. In essence I think she would have held her own more when it came to their complex relationship. As for Jane, I think her circumstances would have been much better. Had she had a strong motherly figure I believe Jane would have been better nurtured as a child. She wouldn’t have to go through the ordeals of extreme weather conditions and lack of food. She probably would have been educated at a decent school. She would have been matched possibly with a suitable bachelor who would have at least not been previously married to a woman who grew insane. What do you think? Would a strong woman influence in their lives have changed them? Would their lives have been different? Would they have fallen in love with completely different people?