Monday, December 27, 2010

Twilight Chapter 16: Carlisle

1. The chapter’s named after a satellite character, so are we going to keep hearing about him? I know Carlisle’s story is the one that begot Edward’s, but I’m mystified by how much more detail a supporting character's gotten than our leads. Yes Edward’s explained a lot of things, but how much has been about him specifically and not his family or Meyerpires in general?

I’m the first to admit some space had to be dedicated to explaining Meyer’s unique idea of what constitutes a vampire, but by page 334, what have we really learned about Edward? He’s a vampire, he’s really pretty, he drinks animal blood instead of human blood for reasons of morality, he’s about a hundred years old, he’s from Chicago, he can read minds and he enjoys his powers too much for the good of his likability.

What about Carlisle? He’s a vampire, he’s really pretty, he thought of drinking animal blood to calm his conscience, he’s a really nice guy, he’s a doctor and a valuable member of the community, he sometimes turns dying people into vampires so he’ll have someone to relate to, but not anyone with anything to lose. He’s 362 years old, grew up in London, had an intolerant Anglican pastor for a father who made him find unholy deviants and it was one of them who turned him into a vampire. In this chapter we find out he spent close to two hundred years conditioning himself not to feed on human blood, he traveled a while and met some refined vampires who I believe turn out to be the Volturi, or basically the vampire police (there’s a ton of unnecessary BS in these books, you might have noticed. Forgive me for not retaining everything), and he’s seriously married to a woman named Esme.

That’s a hell of a discrepancy in how much they're filled out. Edward mentioned that memories fade after a while, which is why he doesn't talk about his beginnings, but I’m smelling inconsistency. Like Meyer thought if she put too much thought into any aspect of Edward besides how he looks like a descended angel, he’d stop being perfect.

2. Edward says yet again he hopes what she’s learning will make Bella walk out of there and never come back, since the deeper he invites her in the more likely she’ll want out, right? If she’d behaved like a rational person more than none times, she might. Let’s just have us a good laugh at Steph’s expense and move on.

3. In the course of relating Carlisle’s secret origin, Edward mentions he stayed with the cultured vampires “only a short time, just a few decades.” Okay, when you’re functionally immortal, you probably would learn patience. Since his family has to move when they’ve been in one place too long for people to notice they’re not getting any older, though, I find it strange for Edward to have that frame of reference.

Then again, when does anyone notice anything weird about the Cullens?

4. Another thing to mention that we find out around here: even though vampires thirst for blood, they won’t actually die if they go too long without it. Just lose their restraint until they’ve fed again. So what ARE the downsides to being a vampire in this book, exactly?

5. Edward had the vampire equivalent of an adolescence, he claims, and struck out on his own because he didn’t like being told who he could and couldn’t eat alive. Yet for some reason Edward used his telepathy to find evil people and only chowed down on them. Eventually the strain of taking so many lives, even those of human filth, got to him and came crawling back to Carlisle. “They welcomed me back like the prodigal. It was more than I deserved.”

Yes it was, since one of the only real drawbacks to being a Meyerpire is you’re stuck forever at the level of maturity you had when you were converted. Wonder if Meyer knows what “the prodigal” actually means. When you hear someone described as “the prodigal son,” it means someone who thinks they’ve got it all figured out and doesn’t need anyone, but who comes crawling back for support after having their worldview crushed like a peanut shell under the boot of reality. With how Carlisle’s basically sparkly vampire Jesus, you really don’t see him telling Edward, “See, dummy? Told you you’d be back.” Which would be welcoming him back like the prodigal, as opposed to the beloved foster son who’s always welcome in their house.

6. Back to Edward trying to scare her away. It’s still not working. Or is it?

“ ‘I hate to burst your bubble, but you’re really not as scary as you think you are. I don’t find you scary at all, actually,’ I lied casually.” Damn it Meyer, which is it?

Edward responds by tackling her onto his couch (his only furniture besides the shelves where he keeps his CD collection since Meyerpires don’t have to sleep) like it’s an attack, which is admittedly a little less obnoxious than continuing to pretend it might actually happen.

7. Some of the others knock and ask to come in, and Edward continues to treat his true love like a doll by rearranging them on the couch so she’s sitting up normally.

It’s Alice, the precognitive sister and her boyfriend/brother Jasper. Alice “almost danced” into the room. She’s probably supposed to be even more graceful than the other vampires, but does Meyer think we haven’t come to think of all of them moving with an inhuman grace?

8. Alice came to tell them a storm’s coming which for some reason is conducive to vampires playing outdoor sports, and asks if Edward and Bella want to join them. Yes, it’s almost time for THAT part.

Bella: “What will be playing?”
Edward: “You will be watching. We will be playing baseball.”

Yeah, Bella would die if she tried to play regular baseball, let alone with a bunch of superhumans, but the way he says it…thanks, Meyer, for setting the women’s movement back to when Romeo and Juliet was brand new.

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