Twilight Phenomenon: Book Review

by Adam Clarke

Kurt Bruner, in his work Twilight Phenomenon, does three things absolutely well:

[1] Expresses the true power of story on the readersʼ lives,
[2] illuminates the myths of both stories and vampires, and finally,
[3] allows the readers to see the greater good that comes from knowing the content of the Twilight series.

The power of art over argument – it worked for Dickens and child labour, it worked forBambi and the decline of hunting, so what is the power of this mega-hit?

Edward had always thought he belonged to the world of horror stories. Of course, Iʼd known he was dead wrong. It was obvious that he belonged here. In a fairy tale. – Bella

Stories are made to transform, encourage and challenge us. It is obvious that Bruner does not want that to leave the readerʼs mind as they work through Twilight. He points out three key spiritual concepts that Twilight raises:
[1] What it means to be human,
[2] the nature of the soul, and
[3] how romantic love inspires us towards our ultimate destiny.

The power of story for Bruner is found in connection with spiritual formation, which takes imagination, “Boys, girls, men, and women alike love stories because we are all hungry to connect with reality.” The power found in fictional realities is what brings us face-to-face with our own realities we experience everyday, the realities that we want to run away from, and the ones we would like to forget, but the power of story is what can provide answers.

The history of the vampire within the book is quite helpful and complete. It allows the reader to see the formation of the myth as well as the literary history of the character. The turn made by the author to point the reader toward the connections between the myths that make up vampires, and the truth that is spoken from the Bible about Satan, is incredible. There is a breakdown used, to show the nature of Satan and the myths that make up vampire methodology, that will prove how sinister a true villain really is.

The connections drawn to the Twilight series are done in completion, often citing the exact location of his findings which allows the reader to draw on his conclusions and also allows for the reader to form their own thoughts on the subject. In providing the reader with both positive and negatives about the qualities found within the characters, it allows for those both for and against Twilight to see both sides. The immaturity of the love portrayed, contrasted with the virtues illuminated through Edward, is only an example of the complete functionality of this literary critic.

Bruner is quick to point out that stories only have influence if we look at the authorʼs underlying assumption, as their spiritual agenda is often leaked out through their pen – whether they mean to or not. Thus, we need to be aware of the lenses that we, as readers, look at the story. The story is shaped by our experiences and influences, which is how we discern what is good or evil. When we become aware of these two filters, we can answer the three questions that Bruner wants his reader to focus on:
[1] What are we made for?
[2] What is wrong with our world?
[3] How will it be made right?

These are the questions he seeks out and provides the answers for. It is these three questions and the power of the complete story that makes Twilight relevant to anyone working with youth. How are the words shaping the worldview of those in our midst? What are the experiences that draw them to these stories? Ultimately, this book will allow youth to come face-to-face with many questions they may have about their faith and worldview. The complete breakdown of this process, done by the author, makes this book worth the read and purchase, as with two movies left to go this phenomenon, it is going nowhere fast.


One thought on “Twilight Phenomenon: Book Review

  1. Thanks for your insights. When movies like this or the Da Vinci Code come out and sweep the nation, I often wonder where I should go with this with my students. I often choose not to talk about it during a message series but in smaller group settings. But, after reading this post, I more willing to buy this book and address movies and issues like this as it shows we can use all things for the glory of the Lord. Thanks.


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