The question we like to raise for this site is, “Why not teach young adult literature along with the good ol’ classics?” Many reasons are given in our Rational section; however, it is important to have ideas of how and what to pair together if deciding to teach YA Literature with the Canon. Exibit A, use the popular Twilight series while teaching the story of Dracula by Irish author Bram Stoker. What better way to get the students into the mood of vampires than teaching Dracula and comparing it with what many students may already know, or think, about vampires through the teen fiction stories of Twilight? Off the top of my head I would highly recommend teaching this during an October Unit while the students are eagerly awaiting Halloween and in the mood for the tales of monsters in the night.
Looking through the story of Dracula, there are many great literary techniques and ideas which Stephenie Meyer uses in her version of a vampire tale, Twilight. While Meyer uses the Cullen Clan as a group of “good” vampires, there are still elements of the vampires that prey on innocent humans, much like Count Dracula. Meyer also takes the typical elements and addresses the changes she has made in her version of the vampire saga. While in Dracula’s weakness is garlic, that is not the case for Meyer’s vampires. Also, while Count Dracula sleeps in a caufin during the day, the Cullen’s simply shimmer in the sunlight and must stay away from it in order to live among humans without being detected.
These are only a very few contrasting elements; however, getting students to understand the literature of Dracula and intriguing their interest using the modern tale of Twilight could help making the unit meaningful and get students to love reading and knowing they are not limited to only the canon but also other books as well.
Digging into the Dracula alongside Twilight can give students an idea of how much it takes to actually write a popular book and story. Not only does Meyer create a story but she also had to research past vampire stories and gain a sense of her own story and what it would entail.
We would recommend teaching Dracula throughout the week and maybe on a Friday take the students through Twilight excerpts, or simply give them the option to read it along with Dracula. Also, to include a mode of discourse at the end of the unit, students could easily write a literary anaylsis on the contrasting and similar aspects within the legendary text of Dracula and the modern books of Twilight (or any other modern vampire tale for that matter).
Stephenie Meyer also has her own website where students who fall in love with reading her series and want to read more and see what the author is doing, they can visit her site and read blogs directly from the author.