Writing Assignment #2
February 21st, 2015
What began as a devoted readership to the vampire love story, developed into a common experience amongst a community who created shared meanings and identities, which ultimately developed into another subset of fan culture. “Twi-hard,” fans of the famed Twilight series, are known to be some of the most loyal fans. Ever since the series first launched as books and later released as films, the vampire craze became a popular product of our consumer culture. Why are “Twi-hard” fans a particular type of audience with such eccentric characteristics? I firmly believe that is because they are attracted into both the cinematic world of sci-fi romance and the fantastical world of fiction novels.
In this essay I am going to look at approaches to fan activity and fandom. In order to understand how and why the Twilight craze began, I will investigate fandom and the interest, focusing on the work of Henry Jenkins and Barbara Klinger. Once I have established this initial section, I will then discuss my chosen case study, which is to demonstrate a textual analysis of the representation of Twilight from a fan site I once participated in, titled His Golden Eyes. By using these texts, I aim to provide an in-depth analysis of why this popular media form has become a cultural phenomenon and explore in depth fan fiction and what makes Twilight fans so passionate.
Before discussing and analyzing why Twilight has such as strong fan culture it is important to define what fandom is. Almost everyone is a fan of something. A fan can be described as being someone who obsesses over something. There are many different types of fandoms: those of movies, television shows, comic books, etc. Fans most commonly “quote their favorite lines or lyrics.” (Baker & Romano, 2014) However, the inner workings of the fandom rarely differ. Most fans are especially focused on the characters being played, their roles in the story and how the plot will eventually unfold is what draws their attention and furthers their imagination. Looking at the Twilight series, many fans weren’t happy with the ending of the final book Breaking Dawn that they persuaded one another to return the books primarily to protest. This is just one example of the power a fandom and fan community can have.
One of the common and most popular ways fans engage with Twilight is through fan art. With the technological advances we have today, the Internet is used to communicate with each other. To share their fan art and create new ideas in their devotion for Twilight. To explore fan fiction further, I examined the work of Henry Jenkins. He goes on to say, “Media fans are readers who write, consumers who produce, and spectators who participate.” (Jenkins, 1998) He describes a few of the things fans produce including: communities, art works, and interpretation. ‘Textual poaching’, which he says to be the method of fans taking a media text and re-writing it to deal with social issues that affect them, is also another way fans let their creativity and imagination arise. As previously stated, the introduction of the Internet has revolutionized how and what fans are able to share with each other.
In Klinger’s article, she explains how cult classics form and can be aided through modern technologies that allow for the repeating and viewing of them. There have been a variety of movies that don’t do well but become cult classics. Klinger demonstrates further what replay culture means. “The ability to watch it and re-watch it in different ways. As the film is brought into the home, scenes, characters, and dialogues burn into the viewers memory.” (Klinger, 2010) After it’s initial release, replay culture is defined by expanding outlets for re-issues. To Klinger, it’s really the kind of technological aspects of the world that makes repeated viewing possible. Klinger goes on to demonstrate that movies not only create fandom, but also identities. Films