In Janice Radway's article, Women Read the Romance: The Interaction of Text and Context, Radway analyzes a group of suburban housewives who tend to read romance novels as an escape from their everyday lives as wives and mothers. Similarly, the popularity of the teenage vampire book series, Twilight, can also be analyzed as a way for their readers to escape from their everyday lives. According to the author's website, the Twilight series has been sold in 39 countries and over 42 million copies have been sold worldwide. The last book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, sold 1.3 million copies in its first day on-sale, breaking publisher records. The movie version of Twilight has grossed over $340 million worldwide since its release on November 21, 2008. Because the series appeals mostly to teenage girls, we are able to see that the feeling of the need to escape begins sooner than when they become wives and mothers.
[...] One example is that the author directly addresses the sex before marriage issue by simply stating that because Edward is really hundreds of years old, but trapped inside his 17 year old vampire body, he is traditional and set in his ways. These ways include barely letting Bella touch him until after they are married. Of course some of this has to do with the fact that he also wants to suck her blood and physical contact could be dangerous. [...]
[...] Similar to the housewives who said that, “Romances also just make me feel good reading them as I identify with the heroines.” teenagers that read Twilight are able to sympathize with Bella's character and perhaps see a part of themselves in her. One of the unique factors about the book series and another similarity to Radway's discussion is the concept of morality in the novel. Like the women of Smithton who have certain moral expectations of their characters, the teenagers who read the Twilight series have certain expectations of Bella and Edward. [...]
[...] The women in Radway's article also relate these feelings when they said, “they feel refreshed and strengthened by their vicarious participation in a fantasy relationship where the heroine is frequently treated as they themselves would most like to be loved.” Another interesting point made by Radway is that “Romance reading is both an assertion of deeply felt psychological needs and a means for satisfying those needs.” Here I think that Twilight mostly applies because these young women are reading the novel and recognizing the strong bond between the characters, but because they are teenage girls attempting relationships with teenage boys, they realize that most teenage boys are not going to treat them the way that Edward treats Bella and so they satisfy their need through reading the novel. [...]
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