Twilight and Midnight Sun Writer Stephenie Meyer Responds to Criticism the Bella Is a Bad Role Model

The release of Midnight Sun, a retelling of Stephenie Meyer's beloved novel Twilight from the perspective of Edward Cullen rather than that of Bella Swan, earlier this year reinvigorated the Twilight fandom. The novel sold a million copies in its first week alone and prompted an outpouring of excitement from fans on social media as well. However, the release of the novel also reignited criticism of the story, specifically that Bella is a bad role model for readers. Now, Meyer is responding to those criticisms.

During an appearance on the Remember Twilight? Podcast, (via CinemaBlend) Meyer largely defended Bella and her behavior because she's a character who exists in a fantasy world.

"There are people who think Bella is not like a great example for a young girl and I think there are elements - yes, you should not get caught up into a boy," Meyer said. "If it's a fantasy creature that doens't really exist, go right ahead, you have my permission. If it's a normal human boy, yeah, take a step back, absolutely. Because this is a fantasy novel that is set in a world that isn't real but at the same time I do think it's good for girls to be like 'I can be sure of what I want and not be afraid of what I want.'"

Meyer's comments aren't likely to settle the criticisms of the character and the books more broadly. Even from the time that Twilight itself was released, there have been concerns raised over how passive Bella is as she's frequently presented as second-guessing herself and full of hesitation on top of the idea that she ends up entirely devoted to Edward to the point that she is utterly caught up in his life and world rather than her own. The idea that the behavior gets a pass because it's a "fantasy" setting is likely to be problematic for critics as well.

And while Midnight Sun does do a bit of work in sort of revisiting Bella as a character, that novel faces criticism as well. While the retelling paints Bella s being much more self-assured from Edward's perspective, it also offers a view of Edward as being riddled with anxiety and doubt, something that Meyer herself addressed in a previous interview.

"Edward comes across as very confident and sure of himself in Twilight, when the whole time he was actually wracked with doubt and guilt," Meyer explained. "I think readers will be surprised by his level of constant anxiety. While in Twilight, we got to see all of Bella's second-guessing and hesitation, from Edward's point of view Bella comes across as very serene and self-possessed."

The novel also sheds light on Jacob as seen from Edward's perspective as well, something Meyer teased as a "much darker story".

"Edward is absolutely certain that this story will not end well. He truly believes he’s living out a tragedy, and he sees no light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. "He’s slightly hopeful for about three chapters and full of anxiety and dread for the other 27."

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