Friday, December 10, 2010

Twilight Chapter 12: Balancing

1. As you’ll remember, last time Jacob and his father Billy (who I don’t think I mentioned is confined to a wheelchair) showed up at Bella’s house. “Jacob was anxious to see Bella,” Billy says to his son’s embarrassment, and Bella wonders if maybe she was a little too convincing when she tried flirting before. Why exactly did she bend this nice guy to her whim again? Oh yeah, to learn more about the pretty jerkhole.

2. Jacob asks who drove her home and she immediately caves and admits it was Edward. At least in this book I find Jacob a likable enough character, and the Blacks’ intentions regarding Bella are noble, but Bella would be perfectly within her rights to ask what business it is of his if he won’t let it go.

3. Bella worries about Billy tattling to her dad that she’s spending time with the Cullen boy, but Jacob reaffirms that Charlie’s not afraid of even chewing out his good friend Billy for badmouthing the Cullens. You have to wonder why Bella’s so reluctant to tell her dad about going out with Edward, since dad’s such a big fan of the Cullens himself he won’t even let his best friends speak ill of the family. And since the Cullens are such recluses she wouldn’t even have to make up stories about why she and Edward are doing something besides going to the dance. Which she does again before going to bed.

4. Once again Edward comes to take her to school, and in case you’re still figuring this out after ELEVEN CHAPTERS, she reminds us Edward’s the most beautiful creature God ever put on this Earth. This story’s narrated in Bella’s voice so it’s like she’s sitting down and telling it to someone. Imagine being that person and listening to her describing Edward’s perfection time after time. I get this image in my head of it being Renesmee…

At lunch he realizes giving Bella a ride was a mistake because he and one of the other vampire kids are leaving school after lunch. Bella says she doesn’t mind walking, but Edward adamantly states her truck will be there for her after school. Even though Bella’s sure she left her keys in some pants that are in a pile of laundry in the basement and Edward can’t read her mind to find  that out. “He seemed to feel the challenge in my consent. He smirked, overconfident.”

And once again he reminds her she can still back out of their little trip the next day where she’ll see what it really means to be vampiric. He might as well be trying to reason with shitake mushrooms.

5. Dragging this farcical plot element out even further Edward asks what Charlie will think if Bella doesn’t come home and she flippantly replies maybe he’ll think she fell in the washing machine. “He scowled at me and I scowled back.” This isn’t attraction! These people have no reason to want to spend another minute with each other!

Oh wait, Edward does have a reason for being interested in Bella: she never does what he expects (like disregarding her safety to be with a boy who constantly annoys her and who she annoys right back by having thoughts of her own). That’s a solid foundation for a relationship.

Around here we find out one of Edward’s siblings–Rosalie–doesn’t like Bella. Because if things don’t work out with her and Edward, it’ll probably ruin the Cullens’ little secret. “His anguish was plain; I yearned to comfort him, but I was at a loss to know how.”

How about taking a big step back and thinking about whether anything good’s coming out this beyond getting to ride to school with the prettiest boy in town?

6. Edward asks Bella to promise to stay safe while he’s away (chewing on animals to make extra sure he doesn’t chew on Bella when they’re alone the next day). You saw what she was thinking last chapter, I don’t have to add anything.

7. After Edward leaves Bella thinks for a second about the danger she’s posing to the Cullens, but “I refused to dwell on the last thought, concentrating instead on making things for safer for him.” By blindly pursuing the course she has this whole time, evidently. Instead of forcing herself to face the awful possibility this relationship won’t work and all she’s doing is making life harder for a family of vampires trying to be a part of polite society.

Look, I know Bella’s never had a boyfriend, but she still realizes Edward ticks her off by being Edward. Yes he’s a strange and wondrous being, but even if he decides to let her into his world, they’d be annoying each other for the rest of their immortal lives. Is that what she thinks love is? And this might be the exact same question, but is that what the author thinks love is?

8. During gym Mike invites Bella to go the dance with their group anyway and she turns him down because…Edward’s pretty. To my mind this is the real mark of a Mary Sue; everyone the character meets gravitates toward them when everything the character thinks, says or does makes you, the reader, think nobody would want to interact with them unless it was to yell at them to grow up already.

9. Bella’s truck is indeed in the parking lot with the keys inside after school. She’s mildly surprised at this development even though it means Edward has nothing wrong with breaking into her house, searching it from top to bottom and even going through her dirty laundry if he feels like it. Even if she did hang up the key, a possibility she entertains for a sentence, Edward still broke in and poked around and she hardly gives it a first thought, let alone a second.

He also left her a note: “Be safe.”

10. Over dinner Charlie seems to have something on his mind but Bella can’t really tell what. “It was hard to tell with Charlie.” Not to be nasty but everything indicates Bella’s got no experience with people, and is so distant from her father she thinks of him as the police chief of Forks and not really her father. I’m inclined to think the problem is she has no experience with people and doesn’t know anything about reading emotions. I mean, she thinks her relationship with Edward is worth pursuing for crying out loud…

“And what was my other choice — to cut him out of my life? Intolerable. Besides, since I’d come to Forks, it really seemed like my life was about him.” No, really? She also pulled out and reread his note “much more often than necessary.” It’s two frakking words long! Yes, she’s obsessed with Edward. I just got done saying so. But it’s not as if there’s a lot of subtle nuances to the words “Be safe.” It wasn’t “necessary” to read it a second time.

11. Bella medicates herself to make sure she sleeps soundly. I just get uncomfortable by how she wakes up and thinks about how she slept well because of her “gratuitous drug use.” But then, I’ve been saying since the start she’s not a well person.

12. Edward picks her up and, looking completely “martyred” about it, lets Bella drive. Because Bella’s such a great person who’s justifiably loved by everyone, she “smugly” reminds him of their deal before taking the wheel.

Edward’s not about to be a good sport, and asks loudly if she’s planning to get there before dark (which after all would render the trip pointless). Yes, love. Undoubtedly.

13. When they get to where he wants to go, it turns out they’re hiking into the woods which Bella hadn’t expected. “ ‘Is that a problem?’ He sounded as if he’d expected as much.” Well maybe if the great and powerful Edward had thought to tell her and let her prepare, it wouldn’t have been!

14. As they walk it turns out no one knows Bella’s out with Edward. Charlie’s fishing and thinks she’s doing housework. “Are you so depressed by Forks that it’s made you suicidal?” the guy who enabled all this to begin with demands. Not to mention the guy who, having learned this, doesn’t even stop to consider calling off this trip Bella might not come home from.

Actually, what’s he getting at? Even if Charlie knew she was out with Edward, if Edward ate her she’d still be eaten, and the Cullens would have to go on the run too. Or maybe not, because would Charlie really think they could be responsible for something like kidnapping his daughter?

15. They walk more and pass the time with Edward asking more personal questions to which we don’t need to hear the answers. That’s not me being snide, that’s Meyer saying they talk about it but not relaying what they say again.

Then they finally make it, and step into the sun. Then the chapter cuts out like this was some kind of lame cliffhanger ending at the end of a TV show.

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