Love under Threat: The Emotional Valences of the Twilight Saga

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Given that the Twilight saga is a vampire romance, its every page is infused with emotion. In the romance novel genre, fascination provides the grounds for the romantic choice of a partner, a process involving a number of stable elements of the generic plot structure. Choice is slowly consolidated through these stages and turned into commitment. The generic conventions of romance shape, steer, and even dictate the emotions of characters. Lauren Berlant argues that all genres are distinguished by the affective contract they promise. Such a contract addresses both characters in the fictional world as well as implied and real-life readers. As its name indicates, the romance novel’s generic contract centers on delivering an optimistic and reassuring experience of love. Typically, it promotes an idealizing script of the good life that combines intimate relationships with morals and economics. It advances enduring affection and emotionally fulfilling intimacy in couples and families; moreover, it rewards such commitment with economic security. In placing my examination in the context of genre, I rely on Pamela Regis’ formulation of the plot elements that shape the treatment of relationships in the romance novel. (347-348)