I am going to first address the male lead in the Twilight series, Edward Cullen. First, I will explain how the book portrays him and how most girls my age see him, and then I will explain why I’m less than thrilled with his character. I will also discuss reasons why his character is admirable, in a few ways.
Edward Cullen’s life stalled at the age of 17, when he was turned into a vampire by a Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Edward’s parents had died of a serious illness, and he was on the verge of death as well. Carlisle, a vampire himself, made the decision to save Edward’s life by making him immortal.
So fast forward. Edward’s in the 21st century in a little town called Forks, where the sun rarely shines. (Vampires sparkle in the sun, you know. Very manly.) Edward and some other young people Carlisle saved are posing as a family with adopted children, with Carlisle as the father and his wife Esme as the mother. The other vampire “children” are Emmett, Rosalie, Alice, and Jasper. However, they aren’t actual siblings. Emmett and Rosalie are a couple, and Alice and Jasper are another.
This leaves Edward on his own, in a sense. So he meets Bella Swan on her first day at school, and is met with a surprise. He can’t read her mind, but he can read everyone else’s. Not to mention she smells, really, really great. (It's a vampire thing.) It becomes difficult for him to be around her because he has the urge to go all Dracula on her, but he tries to stay away. At the same time, he feels the need to protect her... and so he follows her everywhere.
In the book, he is portrayed as a loving, albeit troubled, young man with a burning love for a girl. He’s other-worldly, with unmatched good looks and impeccable manners. He plays the piano with great skill, and is always considerate of others.
Young ladies today absolutely can’t get enough of this character. He’s almost like a god among men in this book, and Bella, too, falls under the spell. Interestingly enough, he watches her while she sleeps, even after she finds out. He is always, always around, even when she can't see him.
At one point, he even tells her that she needs to be afraid of him. That he’s dangerous and that she should never have contact with him again. But she doesn’t listen. A simple “I’m not afraid of you,” and they throw caution to the wind and fall in love.
Basically, I believe that Edward Cullen is an unhealthy character for young ladies to read books about. He is portrayed as this perfect being, and he seemingly treats Bella so well! However, this does two things to young girls. One, it makes them assume that unless a boy lives up to these perfect, all-consuming characteristics, he’s not good enough. Two, the story makes girls believe in a dangerous relationship. Though Edward is good, he’s still technically the archetypical bad boy because he’s so dangerous and volatile. I think that this is one of the reasons girls get into so many abusive relationships. They act like Bella and follow the emotion that they feel they need, and end up getting hurt, even physically.
I was shocked when I realized that this book is basically promoting this unsound type of relationship. Certainly, Edward hates that he has urges to hurt her, but at the same time, I’m sure real boys who injure girls have a level of self-loathing.
Edward is portrayed as the Renaissance man, but it really makes girls crave this dangerous, seemingly unattainable specimen. He keeps her safe by watching her while she sleeps and following her around (which in itself is creepy, and gave me chills), but at the same time, he’s not healthy for Bella. He’s all she can ever think about, and later on in the story, she becomes nearly suicidal when he goes away for a while.
So, tell me what you think. Explaining these traits in Edward Cullen, does he not seem to you like a dangerous stalker? Bella is driven crazy by her level of feeling for him, and she throws her entire life away for this on boy, and I will go into that in further detail later.
Many who dislike the book still praise Edward Cullen for being a model young man. However, I disagree. He’s selfish in taking Bella so thoroughly from her life, and he remains near her no matter how dangerous it is for her.