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More than meets the eye

To see what the book and film series Twilight tells us about the issue of discovery (SEAL theme 4, ‘Learning about me’).

by Helen Bryant

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To see what the book and film series Twilight tells us about the issue of discovery (SEAL theme 4, ‘Learning about me’).

Preparation and materials

  • This is the first of four assemblies exploring themes within this very popular saga.
  • Play the song ‘Here With Me’ by Dido while the students are coming in.

Assembly

  1. I have no doubt that if I mention the names Edward Cullen and Bella Swan you will immediately understand what I am about to talk about. Over the course of four assemblies we will be exploring the various themes within the Twilight saga, seeing how we can compare fiction to our own lives, and thinking about how every fiction book we read can actually tell us something about our real everyday lives, even if they are only stories.
  2. For those of you who have been oblivious to the publicity and hype surrounding these books, let me give you a very brief run-down of what the first book is about. Twilight is about a young girl, Bella, who moves to a town called Forks to live with her father. There she becomes involved with a beautiful, mysterious and alluring young man named Edward. As the story evolves we discover more about Edward and his family and the very special talents they have.
  3. Bella discovers from her childhood friend Jacob, through a number of myths and legends, that Edward’s family are vampires. It is interesting to note the way that myths and legends are used to begin the story. A myth is thought of as something that is probably not true, but it may often have a grain of truth within it. For Bella the myths and legends make the basis of her life in Forks. She knows that vampires exist and are living in Forks; she falls in love with one of them. Everyone else in the town, however (except, of course, the Cullen family), is oblivious to the idea that there are vampires living in such close proximity to them all.
  4. Edward’s initial behaviour towards her – his violent and rude reaction – offends Bella but makes her curious about him. There are his obvious visual qualities; when someone is very good-looking you sometimes cannot help but look at them, and if you were sitting next to the best-looking person in the class I am sure that you would steal cheeky glances too. Bella pursues her relationship until it entirely consumes her. Edward is all she can think about, dream about, and she does not worry about putting herself in danger; even though he is constantly controlling his own battles so that he does not harm her, and ultimately kill her. Edward has to deal with his instinctive urge to drink her blood; he is, after all, a vampire. But he does not give in; he deals with the temptation that is put in front of him every day. He discovers more about himself, and so unearths his more human side while being with Bella.
  5. The love that exists between Bella and Edward is something she calls unconditional. This is a kind of love that forgives all things and will last, tolerating and accepting everything. Even though the odds are stacked against them, their love will hopefully last for ever – although ‘for ever’ has a different meaning for Edward compared to what it means for Bella at this time.

Time for reflection

Play the Dido song once again.

Think about the people who offer you unconditional love.

Love that continues for you, no matter the cost.

What have you discovered about the people who offer that love as you have grown older?

Do you love anyone unconditionally? Perhaps your parents? Your grandparents?

Is your relationship with your friends unconditional?

What does this sort of relationship teach you about yourself?

Prayer

Help me to know who I can love with an unconditional love.

May I be constant as a friend, reliable and true.

Help me to learn more about myself as I grow and mature.

May the discoveries of my life be life-giving, and life-affirming.

Amen.

Publication date: February 2010   (Vol.12 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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