To all of the “Twi-geeks” stressing out about their future SAT tests, fret no more!
Brian Leaf, who has been termed as a “guru” for helping students prepare for their SAT’s, has recently published a series of Twilight vocabulary study books: “Defining Twilight,” “Defining New Moon,” “Defining Eclipse,” and “Defining Breaking Dawn,” (set for release this fall).
Leaf is also the author of four SAT and ACT “test-prep books” from the McGraw-Hill’s Top 50 Skills series, and has helped prepare thousands of students in the U.S. for their future SAT, ACT, GED, SSAT, and GRE exams.
His “workbooks” have 40 groups of 600 vocabulary words selected from the Twilight series. Readers are provided with a page number where the word can be found in the book, and are asked to read out loud its context, and then come up with their own definitions. Leaf also provides synonyms and various memorization tools for the word, and outlines the different Latin word parts. (Some of the words included in the vocabulary quizzes are “chagrin,” “ominous blood,” “thwarted enmity,” and “raucous run-in”).
Twilight fans were also asked to compete in his “Defining Twilight Essay Contest” last May. Over 750 entries were submitted, and the essays were judged according to correct syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
Twilight and Philosophy: To bite or not to bite? That is the question
J. Jeremy Wisnewski, an assistant professor of philosophy at Hartwick College, and Rebecca Housel, a former lecturer in English at the Rochester Institute of Technology, have recently published a book which examines the philosophical elements of the Twilight series.
Wisnewski believes that Twilight can help generate discussion in philosophy classes because of the numerous philosophical and moral dilemmas the characters are forced to go through. (For example, death, relationships, and what it means to be a moral human).
“The idea of doing philosophy as popular writing is as old as philosophy itself,” said Wisnewski. “My own view is that you can raise philosophical questions about anything…[But] if you asked me to list my ten favorite novels, I’m afraid Twilight wouldn’t be among them…it wouldn’t even be in the top 50!”
Personal opinions aside, “Twilight and Philosophy: Vampires, Vegetarians, and the Pursuit of Immortality” has already been published in six different languages, and is also available on audiobook. (Rebecca Housel claims she has heard from fans in the U.S., Australia, and even Dubai).
One of the chapters discusses the character Jacob Black from a “Taoist perspective,” and there is even a chapter dedicated to comparing the character Bella with Sarah Palin.
The book explores various philosophical questions that are brought up in the series, such as:
- “Are vampires morally absolved if they kill only animals and not people?”
- “From a feminist perspective, is Edward a romantic hero or is he just a stalker?”
- “Is Jacob ‘better’ for Bella than Edward?” (My answer: NO)
- “Can a Vampire Be a Person?”
- “What Can Twilight Tell Us about God?”
Twilight and history
It may not come as a shock to most “Twi-hards” that there has already been a book published on the historical events brought up in the Twilight series.
“Twilight and History” touches on a variety of different historical facts, such as the Spanish Influenza of 1918, the Civil War, witch-hunts, and Native American history.
Some of the chapters in the book include:
- “What were the social norms of the world that Edward grew up in?”
- “Considering the history of the Quileute people, was ‘Team Jacob’ always doomed?”
- “What would Jasper have experienced as a Civil War soldier?”
- “Are the Volturi typical Italian Renaissance rulers?”
The book’s editor, Nancy Reagin, is a professor of history and gender studies at Pace University:
“I’ve sometimes been frustrated by the ways that popular understandings of history are shaped by popular culture rather than by scholarly research,” she explained. “I think that if people are enjoying themselves, then they’ll retain more of what you’re offering them…Serious fans have a hunger to discuss, parse, and learn more about the fictional worlds that really engage them.”