Friday, December 10, 2010
Twilight Chapter 9: Theory
1. After things showed signs of picking up last chapter, they come creeping back down to the speed of molasses in January.
Edward isn’t sure why Bella’s the one person whose mind he can’t read, and compares it to her brain being on an AM talk radio band while everyone else’s is a music station. I don’t think I have to tell you he’s amused by his little observation.
Again, Bella’s bothered by the implication that she’s a freak even though she’s always been plenty happy to cop to her shortcomings before.
2. She confirms she’s not exactly normal by screaming “Holy Crow!” at realizing Edward’s driving in excess of a hundred miles an hour. Which is how fast he usually drives. And he can get away with it because he can read minds and know where all the cops are. Plus, as they discuss in a minute, almost nothing about the old vampire legends besides sucking blood and vast strength is true.
I know in the foreword of the first chapter’s dissection I said Bella was a Mary Sue, but in truth Edward’s even more of one. He’s a vampire with awesome powers, no weaknesses (we don’t think there’s really any danger he might lose control and feed on Bella, do we?), has the looks and charm of a god, more money than he can get rid of, and the only rule of society he has to obey is don’t eat people. Not to mention he’s in total control of their relationship, even getting away with things like kidnapping his true love in the interests of “protecting” her in later books.
The part about protecting Bella’s a troublesome justification with the way he keeps saying she’s in danger from his desire to feed on her, when he makes only a token effort to discourage their hanging out after the first few chapters. Plus he refuses to make her a vampire, and thus lets that danger persist, for a long, long time.
3. Speaking of, he gets angry with Bella for saying she doesn’t care one way or the other if he’s human or something else. I suppose it’s a little late to start worrying about that now, yeah, but I’m getting the sense Bella doesn’t think too much of living in general.
To give an idea of just how dumb all this is, a while ago I found out about a site called BookByYou. Lately their ads have been all over the internet.
Basically, you pick one of their stories that sounds interesting, give the names and physical details of yourself and your significant other, and they’ll send you a custom novel. One of their more popular offerings is a romance called Vampire Kisses about a woman who has a chance meeting with a debonair vampire (the tagline for the teen version, First Bite, is "Fall in love with your own Edward"). She hunts for him while he watches her efforts from the shadows. Eventually she tracks him down and they find love in each other’s arms, but the fact that she’s prey to him actually registers in her mind and drives them apart for a while despite the strong attraction. For some reason it’s depressing that the heroine of a glorified Mad-Lib has more going on upstairs than the heroine of a New York Times bestseller.
4. More about “real” vampires. The Cullens feed off animals instead of people, which is what they’re really doing on those camping trips. This is to stave off moral concerns. Edward explains he wasn’t in school the last couple days because it was sunny, and he still has to stay out of the sun even if he won’t burn up.
5. The chapter ends with the bit of introspection on the back cover (“About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him — and I didn’t know how potent that part might be — that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.”)
I’m wondering why Bella feels more compelled than ever to stick with this, though. Now she knows, or at least accepts, Edward can slip at any time and take her life like he keeps warning her. Plus he lives with a bunch of other vampires who might also slip and take her life, so by staying with Edward she’s not just increasing the danger to herself but the danger of blowing their cover if one of them does. It probably wasn’t easy finding a place as cloudy with a population as unobservant as Forks’s. Bella doesn’t appear to be processing anything but the chance to make Edward’s pretty her own, like maybe the risks her actions pose to the people already in his life*.
Not only that, Edward’s in charge and he’s more than prepared to enforce his judgment if she happens to have a difference of opinion. Like dragging her to his car over her protests, and to a lesser extent telling her she’s eating, end of story, in the previous chapter. Not that she sees that. This is when Bella really starts coming across more like someone who’ll end up on a cheesy talk show about abused spouses than half of the greatest romantic pairing in history.
* (I know I keep saying Edward won’t really lose control and listening to him say he could gets tiresome. Bella, however, presumably doesn’t know she’s the heroine of an incredibly predictable book and thus ultimately safe from whatever dangers Edward claims there might be to dating a vampire. Besides, what’s the impetus of New Moon? Bella gets a paper cut and Edward’s brother attacks her. The danger does exist. Even if it only exists when Meyer wants to make a ham-fisted point about how much Edward and Bella need each other. Even if Meyer’s too in love with Edward to let it be him showing a flaw she’ll acknowledge)