The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Online reception by young readers on modern romance Gothic

Sumei Karen Anne Tan, United Kingdom, ID LLCE2016-303;      Much has been written about the negative effects of gothic texts such as Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series by researchers.  Messages in mass media have been no different, bordering on the negative to spelling out the implied ‘harm’ to young impressionable female readers. Whether this is true about teens’ reading material and their response is highly debatable. What matters more is the need to analyse what teenagers or the young are really responding to when they consume such works and even more importantly (and ethically), that this is done, as far as possible on their own terms. This paper investigates three websites dedicated to young users on ‘Twilight’ in which two are owned by the young users themselves. By analysing the argument structures and persuasive strategies adopted by these users, this paper contends that such Gothic texts, in fact, offer an invaluable space for young readers to debate, discuss and interrogate issues on their own terms, offering a possible explanation for the centrality of Gothic especially its prevalence in contemporary culture.