Homework Help

Is Stephanie Meyers' "Twilight Series" appropriate to teach in the classroom?Right now...

user profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 19, 2008 at 8:53 PM via web

dislike 2 like
Is Stephanie Meyers' "Twilight Series" appropriate to teach in the classroom?

Right now in the school where I teach the "Twilight" series is being read by so many teens we can't keep it in the our library.  I would like to capitalize on this newest craze, but I have read it and don't know if it would be good for use in the classroom.  I teach in the "Bible Belt" and don't want to ruffle feathers, but I really hate to pass up the chance to use something the students seem to be so excited about.  Any thoughts?

14 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 21, 2008 at 7:32 AM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

I second that.  The students are dying to read it, and as far as I'm concerned, as long as they're reading, it's a good thing.  Not too long ago, folks were up in arms about teaching Stephen King.  Now there are short story collections and horror as a genre classes taught on the high school level.

Personally, I haven't read these books, but plan to during my summer vacation.  If there isn't a prolific amount of profanity, I would say that it's appropriate.  I teach in the Bible Belt, too, and I still teach Huck Finn, Catcher in the Rye, and other banned books for the use of certain words and the dealing with certain issues.  The tough issues must be faced.  The profanity--if there is a purpose for it--I am willing to overlook for the sake of education.  Profanity without purpose is intolerable...say Lord Vishnu's Love Handles and some Stephen King work, for instance.

user profile pic

jlcannad | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted October 21, 2008 at 7:49 AM (Answer #3)

dislike 0 like

The first book is fine for study in school.  It does not have a lot of depth, but you can certainly have discussions of choice and temptations.  There are two issues I would caution you about. 

First, boys typically hate the book. The big "reveal" with Edward being a vampire is both blazoned all over the back and painfully obvious within the first hundred pages.  The conflict of the book literally does not begin until page 375 when the second "tribe" of vampires shows up.  I have never had a boy who finished the book, but the eye rolling and painful complaints were pretty obvious when friends/girlfriends got them to read even the first part.  Meyer wrote the book just down the street from here, so the book is pretty universally read in my school, and still--no boys that I know have finished the book.  They hate it.

Second, if you get students "hooked" and they go on to read the rest of the series, book four pretty much implodes into territory that I certainly don't think you would want to touch with a ten-foot pole.  That is a minor concern, though, since you can rightfully tell parents you didn't teach that book.

user profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 21, 2008 at 11:29 AM (Answer #4)

dislike 0 like

My only caution is that we need to be careful about what we choose to teach, not because of the subject matter but because of what it might do to the students. They love to read those books for pleasure, but will that love pale when they have to write essays and answer review questions and take tests on those books? Will they lose some of their enjoyment of them when they have to read for meaning or look for themes or explain what a quotation means? Don't spoil their fun by turning a cool book into a textbook.

user profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 21, 2008 at 11:54 AM (Answer #5)

dislike 0 like

I agree with Linda, but have a somewhat different take.  Assign the book (I have never read it) and skip the review questions and the tests.  Why is it that we think these are always part of the enjoyment of literature?  I have read many great books and never taken a test on them, and have taught many great books and followed the reading up with interesting, unevaluated discussions.  Of course some students won't read the book(s) ...  but they probably don't read them now ... there are LOTS of ways to get credit without reading the book.  And a good discussion often "reveals" students who have not read the book ... their loss.

Somehow, I can't picture Plato ordering the books to use at "The Academy" and reminding the publisher to send the test bank :)

user profile pic

kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted October 21, 2008 at 2:48 PM (Answer #6)

dislike 0 like

I do not shy away from controversial literature, but I can afford to be less careful because I teach at the college level.  I think it is great that you want to teach something the students are so "into."  I would agree with #5's assessment about skipping the review questions and tests...you can still have great discussions, etc., and teach the book.

user profile pic

pudge315 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 22, 2008 at 2:14 PM (Answer #7)

dislike 0 like

I think it would be ok. Breaking Dawn is on our outside reading list for the 9th Grade.

user profile pic

vaneis | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 23, 2008 at 12:30 PM (Answer #8)

dislike 0 like
Is Stephanie Meyers' "Twilight Series" appropriate to teach in the classroom?

Right now in the school where I teach the "Twilight" series is being read by so many teens we can't keep it in the our library.  I would like to capitalize on this newest craze, but I have read it and don't know if it would be good for use in the classroom.  I teach in the "Bible Belt" and don't want to ruffle feathers, but I really hate to pass up the chance to use something the students seem to be so excited about.  Any thoughts?

I just finished reading all four books in Meyer's "Twilight" series and do not think it would be prudent to teach it in middle schools. I have many students who are reading the books, and do think there are a lot of wonderful themes that would provoke a rigorous discussion; however, there are quite a few sexual issues in the later books that I know most middle school parents would not appreciate their kids having to read in teh classroom. We have the books in our library, and students are allowed to check them out. But making those books a part of the curriculum would be asking for trouble in a day when most principals would not support it. If you want to capitalize on the craze, allow students to self-select an independent novel and have a generic project ready. There is a lot you can do with that in terms of analyzing literature. That way, students can read what they choose to read, and you can still apply solid language arts curriculum. That is a win-win situation for students, teachers, parents, and principals!

user profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 25, 2008 at 8:50 PM (Answer #9)

dislike 0 like

As already mentioned, I might offer it on a list of good books to read, or use it to get lower-level female readers interested in reading.  However, I wouldn't teach it; I just don't feel it has enough literary or thematic value.  The potential risks involved in teaching it aren't balanced out by a great moral lesson, or incredible writing.  I have made sure to have it available to students for individual reading, and I love talking about it with my students that have read it.  The book is a valuable source for people to come together and be excited about it, but not to be taught as a class novel in the classroom.

user profile pic

morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted October 31, 2008 at 8:06 AM (Answer #10)

dislike 0 like

I have had this happen a dozen times already. All of my Junior girls want to read it as a class text. What I do instead (because I don't think it is appropriate) is assign Dracula by Brahm Stoker. They are interested in where vampire lore comes from, and I allow them to write their essay comparing and contrasting the vampires in Dracula and Twilight.

user profile pic

twilighter | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 2, 2008 at 4:24 PM (Answer #11)

dislike 0 like

Well I agree & disagree.#1 I have guy-friends how read or are reading the series & they don't really like New Moonthat much.But they can't stop reading it(i couldn't aether).#2 it is getting really pop. so I say "yes go for it".But then again, it depends what grade you are teaching it to.The 1st,2nd,3rd & 4th book just says words like crap,damn,but they're no beige I guess.Just in Breaking Dawn, at their honeymoon.#3 I agree w/ linda-allen.It's so true I just hate it when my teachers do that.

LOOK the only problem you will have,I have to say,it's the boy thing I guess but some do like the book.ANYWAY another good book is The Lightning Thief it's AWESOME,but the kids might get a little confuse of not knowing about the Greek Gods.Another good choice (one of my favorites) The Outsiders.The only prob. is the language.

user profile pic

kittykat95 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted May 26, 2010 at 4:38 PM (Answer #12)

dislike 0 like

it should be read in school and it is appropiate even though our Jamaican school doesn't read it i wish they would.

user profile pic

marry-me-bury-me | Student, Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted May 31, 2010 at 4:58 PM (Answer #13)

dislike 0 like

No! No No No No!!!

Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Twilight series, but let's be honest here. Stephenie Meyer is NOT a good writer. The writing technique is tasteless and flawed, and the only reason that the series was a hit was because of the decent character development. (Mainly of the sexy, sparkly vamp, Edward Cullen.)

In classrooms, students need to be able to study classic works of literature that are well written and include various thought-provoking and controversial themes. At least, we should be reading works with abundant literary devices to walk about, Twilight, unfortunately, has none of these qualities, and should be reserved for strictly choice reading.

 

 

user profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 15, 2010 at 2:33 PM (Answer #14)

dislike 0 like

I would agree with other editors in tending to swerve away from teaching this as a "main" text in the classroom. I would use it for comparisons or encourage students to use it to compare with other more traditional gothic texts such as Dracula. To me it is enjoyable but it a perfect form of a lightweight novel that does raise a number of issues but isn't meaty enough for study in class.

user profile pic

theescapist64 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 21, 2012 at 10:50 PM (Answer #15)

dislike 0 like

I really wouldn't recommend it because it really doesn't have much depth... as Stephen King said, its message is "How important it is to have a boyfriend"... I mean, Meyer's writing style isn't superb and the storyline is quite shallow. I think it is a book targeted for older youth but lacking in older youth intellect, does that make sense?

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes