Sunday, December 08, 2013
Twilight vs. Fifty Shades of Grey
By OFW editor:
Published: September 12, 2012
I’ve read one installment from both of these series and I have to say, they were equally tortuous in terms of writing style, characterization and plot. However, to her credit, Meyer’s stories, characters and settings were all her own, made up in her own mind without the aid of “inspiration” from another author. Oh wait, Shakespeare. Yes, I shouldn’t forget that. Romeo and Juliet is a noticeable influence in the Twilight books. We should all refuse to read Twilight because it’s obviously a Shakespeare knock-off. Not. Jesus, what romance author isn’t inspired by Romeo and Juliet at some point? Meyer is one of thousands in that respect. Give her a break.
Skill is not what I want to discuss anyway. No, in this week’s Fiction Collision we’re comparing characters, and whether or not Fifty Shades of Grey is a unique work able to stand on its own, as James’s American Publisher and her fans have claimed. While it’s true that the plot is not entirely derived from Twilight, many feel that the characters and their thoughts, actions, etc. most certainly are. Let’s look at the plot briefly before we begin:
Twilight is about Bella Swan, a young woman, meeting a dark and dangerous vampire named Edward Cullen. Fifty Shades of Grey is about Anastasia Steele, a young woman, meeting a dark and dangerous man named Christian Grey. Both Edward and Christian are adopted, give the heroine a car, have a dark secret that no one but the heroine knows, and they play piano. Both Ana and Bella are insecure virgins who feel immediate connections with their bad boy lovers. Other than the BDSM element, I think we can agree that the plots are similar, no? Okay, on to our characters.
Bella and Ana
Ana is young, naive, and loves classic British literature, just like Bella. Ana is pale, dark haired and considers herself very average, yet men seem to think she’s fanfuckingtastic. Same with Bella. Both women are clumsy, hate attention, and have never had a serious boyfriend until they meet their psychopathic Romeos. Both find themselves in love with handsome and rich men with dark pasts.
Ana has an airhead mother who is on marriage number…who even knows. Bella’s mom is also a dipshit prone to multiple marriages. But there’s one difference. Bella’s mom marries a younger man to keep her bills paid and her engine oiled. Ana’s mom did something far different. She married an older man.
Both characters live with their “taciturn,” fishermen fathers to ensure their mother’s happiness…wait, that’s not right. Ana lives with her stepfather. Totally different.
Ana works at a hardware store, and has the All-American tension-building secondary love interest owner’s son in love with her. Bella works at some type of warehouse thing, and has the All-American tension-building secondary love interest owner’s son in love with her. When both characters meet their “true loves” they respond to the attention by lamenting over how perfect and handsome and perfect their male leads are because Edward and Christian are totally hot. You can’t even grasp their hotness. They are beyond hot. They are the hottest of the hot. They are so freaking hot. God it? Good. Moving on. Now and then Bella and Ana both have a moment of common sense and remark on the arrogance of their men but only momentarily. They both revert to sniveling blobs of sexual retardedness due to their awe of their men’s hotness soon after.
Both Ana and Bella are nearly raped but rescued by their heroes. However, in 50 Shades, Ana gets stupid drunk and Christian saves her from her friend, who seriously, was far less rapey than Grey is in later scenes. Just saying. Bella on the other hand is threatened by a gang of perverts before Edward rescues her. Definitely different. Bella was in real danger. Ana was just stupid and whiny.
What else? Hmm. Ana and Bella hate presents, arguing and tittering like prissy little shitheads every time their
rich boyfriends give them something. Personally, I’d take the shit. I mean, the guys have money to burn, why not let them burn it your way? Both girls earned it eventually, am I right? But that’s irrelevant. Moving on.
The differences? Ana starts with an A, and Bella with a B. Ana has three letters, Bella has four. Oh, and Ana is in college, while Bella is in high school. And I thought Fifty Shades couldn’t be more nauseating. Imagine if she hadn’t changed the ages. Gross. Anyway, Ana doesn’t meet Christian at school as Bella does Edward. Instead she meets him because of school, via an interview for her college newspaper.
Edward and Christian
Both men always seem to be hanging around, ready to rescue their victims—er, love interests from horrible things. Edward is drawn to Bella for reasons he can’t seem to understand. He wants her, but his tendency to eat people mixed with the overwhelming boner she gives him just by existing makes him believe he’s bad for her. Duh. He stalks her, saves her, runs away. He tells her he’s no good for her, to stay away, then a few minutes later, he’s all “I know I told you to go, but I can’t stop stalking you because there’s something special about you. It's probably your uncommon innocence and meek, obedient personality, but I just can't be sure because what normal guy wants a pathetic wretch for a girlfriend? God, I’m so dark and tortured. Fuck me.” Okay, he didn’t say that verbatim, but it was implied.
Christian is also drawn to Ana for reasons he can’t seem to understand. He wants her, but his tendency to beat people mixed with the overwhelming boner she gives him just by existing makes him believe he’s bad for her. Duh. He stalks her, saves her, runs away. He tells her he’s no good for her, to stay away, then a few minutes later, he’s all “I know I told you to go, but I can’t stop stalking you because there’s something special about you. It's probably your uncommon innocence and meek, obedient personality, but I just can't be sure because what normal guy wants a pathetic wretch for a girlfriend? God, I’m so dark and tortured. Fuck me.” Okay, he didn’t say that verbatim either, but it was implied.
Edward and Christian are both disgustingly rich, hot and for most of the story they put mere mortals to shame in almost every way, but mostly because of their hotness. Oh and they’re controlling, possessive and like to get their way. They have dark needs that they believe might destroy the miserable waifs they’re so in love with. One difference, Edward hunts Bella down with his vampire mind reading, while Christian hunts Ana down the old fashioned way: money and gadgets.
Both men are childishly jealous over any male attention paid to their women, and the authors compare their male leads to characters from British classics. Perhaps to make them at least a little likable?
The differences? Well Edward is a vampire that feeds on blood. Christian is a human that feeds on a girl’s misery. Very different. Edward sparkles in the sunlight. Christian does not. Huge difference.
We all know these similarities exist. Fifty Shades is fan fiction after all. The point of this fiction collision is about pointing out the fact that no, Fifty Shades is not unique, but it's also about the relevance of the similarities to their respective stories. By that I mean that the character traits above were central to the Twilight story. In Fifty Shades, they’re incidentals. The similarities to Twilight were quite unnecessary, is what I’m saying. They were thrown in there so that the books WOULD be similar to Twilight, rather than wasting time working on character development and plot to make each of these elements pivotal or able to “stand alone.”
Can I just add that as a “mommy” I’m insulted at the tagging of Fifty Shades as “mommy porn.” Look, I’m not revolutionary in the sack, and I haven’t slept with any gods or vampires, but I’ve experienced better sex than I read in Fifty Shades. I found the book slightly amusing until the sex happened. Then it became annoying, implausible, and boring.
So, who wins this Fiction Collision? Twilight. Bella and Edward can stand alone as truly unique (if annoying) characters. Meyer put the work into developing them, and she made their traits, actions and dialogue vital to the plot, which she also created herself. James took that work and recycled it instead of developing her own ideas. Whether you like the books or hate them, Twilight is at least original. Fifty Shades—not at all.
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