Flunking Sainthood

Flunking Sainthood

Jacob Black, Pedophile?

With the Breaking Dawn movie coming out in a couple of weeks, hundreds of thousands of Twi-hards will be revisiting Part 1 of the conclusion to Stephenie Meyer’s saga of romance and the undead boy next door. Most of them will be focusing on The Wedding and The Honeymoon — how will the film version depict Bella’s violent “something-black-and-blue” wedding night?

I’ve blogged before about some of the disturbing aspects of Meyer’s novels — books that I should say up front I read and enjoyed. But just because I had a great time reading the books doesn’t mean they’re not troubling. Reading can be complicated like that.


I hope that readers and viewers will check out Elaine Heath’s The Gospel According to Twilight: Women, Sex, and God for some hard-hitting critique of the novels’ more disturbing messages about women and the violence that’s perpetrated against them throughout the series. One thing she put her finger on that I hadn’t noticed is the fourth novel’s tacit acceptance of what amounts to pedophilia in Jacob Black’s character:

Due to a genetic predisposition to produce new generations of sturdy werewolves, an irresistible attraction called “imprinting” causes male Quileutes with the werewolf chromosome to bond for life with mysteriously selected females. One day a Quileute boy feels nothing for a particular girl; the next day imprinting kicks in and voilà, he adores her for the rest of his life. She might be lovely, homely, boring, shrill, kind, or indifferent. It matters not. She has become the love of his life. He will die before he lets anything harm her. In the books, she always agrees to the imprinted pairing. Always. Even though the imprint happens to him, not her, his adoration eventually becomes irresistible.


Jacob describes the sensation of imprinting as a growing heat. It is as if dawn is breaking forth within his soul. Everything within the boy is undone in wonder and adoration as he discovers that his mate is now the center of his existence. The word “love” is too weak to describe what he feels. All the other loves he has experienced in life, all other goodness and joy, are now filtered through the one central love, his mate. She has become his anchor, his sun, his reason for being. She is now the defining point, the interpretive key to all existence. In short, he worships her (Breaking Dawn, 359–60).

This is the kind of adoration and unconditional love that young women long to receive.  Who wouldn’t want to be cherished in this way? But there is a dark side to the brilliance of being worshiped. As anyone who has survived stalking will tell you, it is frightening to be the object of another’s obsession. The one who is loved loses her freedom as she is watched, followed, and controlled. The underbelly of this kind of love is violence.


As we’ve seen, the female recipient of the male imprint has virtually no freedom of choice in her relationships. That freedom is taken away by the male. He waits on her hand and foot and makes her the center of his universe. If he imprints on her when she is a baby, she grows up indoctrinated to the expectation that she will marry him. She is socialized to accept his adoration whether she initially wants it or not or whether she is old enough to understand what is happening, as in the case of Quil (a teenager) and Claire (age two) (Eclipse, 176). The female does not experience the sudden imprint emotionally or spiritually in the way the male does. She is the passive recipient of the male’s imprint on her. The power of the male over the female is inherent in the process of imprinting.


What’s more, the Quileute male actually grooms his intended–whether in the case of Quil and Claire or Jacob and Renesmee–and believes that she reciprocates his love. As Heath points out, this is exactly what pedophiles do. And to have it romanticized and glamorized ought to disgust us.

This month on WJK Radio, Heath talks about this issue as well as many of the positive aspects of the Twilight novels, which offer strong Christian themes of resurrection, reconciliation, and redemption alongside the more unpalatable aspects of gender stereotyping. Check out the 25-minute interview here.

(And yes, I’ll still be seeing the movie despite all these problems. It’s my very own brand of heroin.)


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment OmaMel

    When I was in 3rd grade my parents were called to have a conference with my teacher. She was very concerned because in a creative writing assignment I had written extensively about busty women in gold lame bikinis and a gold Mustang convertible. She worried about what was going on in my 8 year old psyche. As it turns out, my adored grandmother had taken me a to see the film Goldfinger a few weeks before. There was no hidden social agenda or commentary on my part. I just liked what little I absorbed from the movie and used it in my completely made up writing assignment. I think that is the same with trying to find some sort of actual, valid social commentary in Ms. Meyers books. I have read them all and saw them as a purely fantasy universe set in some real places. I think we are giving her too much credit to think that she was trying to show some sort of warped view of pedophilia or stalking. She just wrote a story that was pretend, fantasy, make-believe. We are talking werewolves and vampires here and it should be taken only as such.

  • Pingback: This Week in Mormon Literature, November 5, 2011 | Dawning of a Brighter Day

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Christina Lyon Maughan

    Thank you Jana. There are so many things about the relationships in Twilight that are disturbing. It is a sad reflection on our society and Mormon culture (I’ve seen girls reading it in Sacrament Meeting) when girls want a relationship like Bella and Edward’s. Worse yet are the adult women who fantasize about Jacob or Edward. I question what is lacking in their own relationships to fantasize about a dead, stone cold vampire or a “hot” werewolf? Yes, I know everyone likes eyecandy and fantasies, but it seems to have gone to an extreme.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment CryWereWolf

    I don’t think Jacob Black would qualify as being a pedophile because he would no doubt wait to have any sort of romantic interactions with the child of Bella and Edward until the baby had grown up and was 18.

    Unless Stephenie Meyer writes another book about this, then we will never know for sure though.

    No doubt the song that Jacob Black will sing a lot to the baby of Edward and Bella after she is eighteen is…

    You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby (because baby look at you now).

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist the song suggestion.)

Previous Posts

Another blog to enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Flunking Sainthood. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Fellowship of Saints and Sinners Happy Reading!!! ...

posted 3:12:01pm Jul. 05, 2012 | read full post »

Thank You, Flunking Sainthood Readers!
OK, I admit it. I have a Google Alert on the title Flunking Sainthood, so that the search engine lets me know when there are new reviews or discussions about the book. In the last few weeks it has been exciting -- and humbling -- to see the many ...

posted 12:41:10pm Jan. 25, 2012 | read full post »

NYC Conference on Mormonism & American Politics, February 3-4
"First Mitt won Iowa, then he lost Iowa? That's a classic Romney flip-flop." --Stephen Colbert     Working with the theory that there hasn't been nearly enough attention to Mormonism and politics this year, what with it being ...

posted 11:09:19am Jan. 23, 2012 | read full post »

Writing Retreat
Friends, I will be offline until January 23 for a writing retreat. I'm bringing my computer, ...

posted 8:47:20pm Jan. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Fun with the Book of Lamentations
Actually, no. That title was just a ...

posted 11:33:13am Jan. 13, 2012 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.