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Title: Bella's Passion: Romanticising Suicide and Demonising Sex in 'Twilight'
Contributor(s): McKay, Kathryn  (author); Maple, Myfanwy  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2013
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Abstract: The 'Twilight' saga is a worldwide phenomenon, inspiring Twihards of all ages into breathless endorsements of its apparently ageless romance. While media critiques have focused on questionable literary skills and the obsession it has inspired in its fans, few have examined the idolization of a female heroine so passive in her initial acceptance of death and so active in her desire to die in order to be a good woman to Edward. Bella's fluctuations between active and passive suicidality correspond with the manner in which her sexual desires are conceptualized in terms of insatiability and denial. Only allowed fulfilment of her sexual desires after marriage, Bella's sexual passions then became reframed into physical violence, exemplified by the bruises she rejoices in finding inscribed along her body. This violence extends into a pregnancy that ultimately and inevitably kills her - a fulfilment of her desire throughout the novels. Rather than kill her own body, which would harm the baby, she allows the baby to kill her - and Edward to save her by turning her into a vampire. Beneath this narrative lies a desire for death that is romanticized by the fact that Bella does not die at all - she becomes immortal. It is important to dissect the trajectory of the language Bella uses to conceptualize and articulate death, sex, and love throughout the novels. This will illustrate the frightening ease with which a modern romantic idol is stripped of her agency and self-value in a way that denies her sexual desire but encourages her desire to die.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Searching for the Words: How Can We Tell Our Stories of Suicide?, p. 59-71
Publisher: Inter-Disciplinary Press
Place of Publication: Oxford, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9781848882195
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 111714 Mental Health
111708 Health and Community Services
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 420313 Mental health services
420305 Health and community services
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 920410 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 200409 Mental health
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Series Name: Probing the Boundaries
Editor: Editor(s): Maria Kulp, Nonia Williams Korteling and Kathy McKay
Appears in Collections:Book Chapter

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