The Bond With Breaking Dawn

Try-It With-Me Tuesday, an interactive weekly time and place to foster connections that challenge and encourage the process to become a well-rounded person.

I kept my promise this week and didn’t challenge myself, except to sit for long hours in the hammock reading. The bright red V8 juice that I just poured into my glass for a snack looks suspiciously like Bella’s drink of choice in Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer and seems an appropriate beverage now that I’m finally finished and ready to comment. I don’t anticipate spoiling the book for any of you who haven’t read it, but if you want to be safe, you can wait to read this.

I anticipated Breaking Dawn‘s release as much as my 14-year-old daughter, who read it first and squirmed through the entire first half. The passion intensifies beyond any that we’ve seen in the other books of the Twlight series, but comparetively, it’s mild, not to mention legitimate. If I were recommending this to other mothers of younger teens, I’d caution you to read it first and discuss, discuss, discuss.

The young adult series isn’t just a love story or an adventure or a vampire fantasy that we can’t wait to see how it’s resolved. Breaking Dawn challenged me to think about two contrasting, but powerful forces—the strength of family bonds and the forces that work against family solidarity.

First, the strength of family bonds. The gifts of communication that Bella, Edward, parents and siblings experience brings family communication to a new level that I wish I could attain. But despite what seems to be an ideal, they still experience limits to their gifts, and must sacrifice, learn to develop trust, and practice controlling their emotions. In time they experience strong familial love (albeit a weird family), which one house guest witnesses as the power behind this family’s bond.

Second, the forces that work against the family. Edward and another character explain how the antagonists, the Volturi, use one of their guards, Chelsea, to manipulate their enemies. She uses her gift to gain “influence over the emotional ties between people. She can loosen and secure those ties. She could make someone feel bonded to the Volturi, to want to belong, to want to please them.” They go on to explain that by separating family alliance, they could defeat more easily by breaking the ties that bound them together.

To some extent, these contrasting forces existed throughout the book, but the intensity of action is less than in earlier books in the series. The struggle identified itself in more subtle ways, which introduces the discussion point about the danger of forces that lurk around us in equally subtle ways. The conclusion of this clash rests upon a woman learning to use her gifts for good and protect her family from those forces that try to tear it apart.

On a personal note, this story resonated with me. Both forces have worked on me. The strength of my family is irresistible, but the contrasting force is not evil on its surface and so difficult to detect without the gifts of the Spirit. There is power in finally identifying those influences and putting my shield in place against the attack.

The real challenge for readers of Breaking Dawn is not to see who can read it first or fastest but how each of our own family’s story will conclude.

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