Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Twilight Chapter 22: Hide-And-Seek

1. “IT HAD TAKEN MUCH LESS TIME THAN I’D THOUGHT -- all the terror, the despair, the shattering of my heart.”

Yes, it’s so sad what Bella has to do because she has no trust in the people with an actual grasp of the situation and capabilities she can only imagine. Shed a tear for the gullible, self-destructive twit we’re meant to identify with, won’t you?

2. As Bella comes out, Alice has another vision, but claims to have only seen the room she already saw again. Bella picks up on a feeling that Alice wants to be alone with Jasper, and once again she’s said to have had such an isolated existence and has actually known them for such a short time I’m starting to feel like she’s just making this up to sound better.

Seriously, the thing about Bella that gets amplified when she becomes a vampire is her ability to close herself off from the people around her, no matter what positive spin anyone in the books tries to put on it. It says more about Bella than I ever could that Charlie supposedly has the mental shielding ability she does, but at a far less developed level than his daughter.

3. Yes again, Bella asks Alice about her power and Alice makes it sound like something no intelligent person would bank on. She can only see what’ll happen if the people involved in a vision stay on the course they’re on at the time. Any change, “no matter how small -- the whole future shifts.”

This is stuff we already know, but the worst part is Bella’s sure what Alice really saw was what she’s planning to do. If that’s so, she doesn’t confront Bella about the vision, and once again Bella’s the reason for all of this. The first thing to bring meaning to Edward’s unlife in a century. Which his family considers a good thing. Why would she leave this alone if she's seen how Bella's planning on sacrificing herself in a futile gesture? If Alice thinks Bella’s smart enough to change her mind and come to them on her own about her mom being kidnapped by the evil vampire, well, she doesn’t know Bella very well.

4. Anyway, “Luck was with me, or maybe it was just good odds.” The Cullens’ plane (I refuse to think of it as “Edward’s plane” like she does) will be arriving at the busiest terminal. Which is that way because it’s the biggest one and gets the most flights into it, so no it’s not luck. It’s good for her because it makes it easier for her to give her bodyguards the slip (aided by Bella somehow knowing the layout of the airport really well), and consequently means it’d be a lot harder for them to notice if one of the vampires they’re trying to protect her from were there, trying to separate them from Bella.

No, the Cullens aren’t awesome. James should be a credible threat, yes, but to the extent he is it's because they’re going about protecting Bella like dummies. Not like people who’d have no trouble evading the feds. Maybe Bella’s right about their ability to save her mom after all.

5. As they went to their ill-advised rendezvous, “I could hear them discussing the pros and cons of New York, Atlanta, Chicago. Places I’d never seen. And never would see.” Gee, what a downer. If only I could say she was better when things were normal.

And what, is Bella telling this story to people in the afterlife?

6. Bella finally ducks the vampire kids by going into a ladies’ room with two doors, at some point also leaving her goodbye letter with them. She makes her way to a cab and when the driver protests the destination's a long way away (and that means you get a big fare. Why are you complaining again?) she makes like the Cullens by throwing a lot of money at him (see?). She steels herself not to lose control with her plans seeming to work. I don’t know why, since Meyer seems to think Bella droning about what a spiral of misery her life is without Edward is exactly what her readers want.

Instead she thinks about what would’ve happened if she’d stuck around, and Edward had appeared like magic from the crowd to take her someplace faraway. It would’ve been bliss, but it’ll never happen now, because she’s still around telling this story in the past tense.

7. Bella gets back to her house, finds the number James left and calls it, confirming she’s alone. “I’d never been more alone in my entire life.” Yes she was, it’s just she didn’t mind it until Edward accepted her. And she thinks it could work with him why again?

As Bella runs off to the ballet studio to meet James and her doom (why is this chapter called Hide-And-Seek when she knows where to go before it even starts? Because of her idiotic decision to ditch the vampires?), she can’t help looking back a little and missing the place. “The memories were better than any reality I would be seeing today.” If it makes you feel any better Bella honey, it’s all your fault.

“More fiercely than I would have dreamed I was capable of, I wished for the green, protective forest of Forks…of home.” Home is where the Edward is, after all. If anybody tries to tell me it’s for any other reason, I promise to laugh in their face.

8. As Bella gets near the studio the act of moving at more than a brisk walk starts to take its toll. “I couldn’t run anymore -- I couldn’t breathe; exertion and fear had gotten the best of me.” Hoo-ee doggies, look at that punctuation.

Man, Bella sucks at everything. What are the positives about this character, seriously?? She’s out of shape, she’s a klutz, she’s disdainful of everyone she meets who isn’t sparkly, she’s got no ability to stand up for herself, she’s got no survival instincts, she doesn’t trust the vampires she thinks so highly of to do what they say they’ll do, and she’s a whiny drama queen about all of it.

I get a flawed character’s easier to relate to for the target audience who also probably have some issues with self-esteem, but what about the characters in the story? What does Edward see in her? She doesn’t have any of the positive traits he mentioned. Why do his relatives think she’s worth all the money, time and effort they’re putting into trying to keep her safe? Do they even care about her, or is it the fact Edward’s found something that makes him happy?

9. She gets to the studio, and the air conditioner’s on. I just thought it was weird James would turn it on, but no matter. Hearing her mother’s voice, Bella follows it and four paragraphs and one sentence after finding a home movie playing on the VCR realizes how James played her. She also realizes her mom wasn’t in Phoenix when she tried to call, which Bella never really had reason to believe was the case, and didn’t get messages sent to her house.

Maybe they solved this problem by the time my parents stopped dragging a camcorder to every stupid thing my sister and I did up through our teenage years, but whenever we were forced to watch home movies with the family, it never sounded like real life. It sounded like what it was, a poorly-filtered recording. I doubt I ever would’ve listened to one of those tapes without being able to see it and thinking, “that sounds like my mom’s actually talking to me right now.” And it’s repeatedly said that James was using a VCR; he was using old tapes for this.

10. No wonder James had no trouble playing Bella, he’s got her psych profile completely locked up: “I will give your strange coven this much, you humans can be quite interesting. I guess I can see the draw of observing you. It’s amazing -- some of you seem to have no sense of your own self-interest at all.”

11. “Some analytical part of my mind warned me that I was dangerously close to snapping from the stress.” She’s been ignoring it for the whole book though, so why stop now?

I also love how she refers to it as “some analytical part,” as if even Bella realizes that’s the part of her gray matter she's least familiar with.

12. Why won’t this stupid chapter end??!! James is disappointed with how easy it was to trap Bella, all things considered. Yeah, the Cullens do look sort of lame for letting an emo dolt like Bella slip through their fingers, don’t they? By that same token, James doesn’t seem like much of a villain for getting the better of them.

It doesn’t help that, like many a dope who’s thrown down with James Bond, he can’t resist explaining everything to Bella now that she’s in his power. Meyer knows that’s a hoary old cliché that’s going into her romance novel that fixes all the older romance novels, right?

One thing he explains is how even though he got the message she sent to her mom's house and the phone number of where she was staying, “you could have been in Antarctica for all I knew.” Because he’s a brilliant hunter but has absolutely no way of finding out the local area codes. Like getting a takeout menu from a local pizza place.

He searched Bella's house and found just the right home movie he needed to trick her, but he couldn't find the phone book?

Once again, the narration didn’t say Bella used “Alice’s phone” or “Jasper’s phone” or “my cell.” It only said “the phone,” making it sound like Bella was calling from the one provided in the hotel room.

As he wraps up, Bella thinks, “There was no glory in beating me, a weak human.” No, especially not when it’s this weak human. Which makes the Cullens and James look lamer still.

13. James seriously isn’t even done after talking about how he outwitted Bella. “I would like to rub it in, just a little bit.” What does he want to rub in? The fact that if Edward had any balls he would’ve made Bella a vampire, and in the process made her safe from James.

Safe, because apparently he wouldn’t have been interested in hunting her anymore then. Like when he was hunting Alice, and another vampire changed her. He killed the other vampire, but let her go. This is a pretty weak attempt to tie things together, especially since James will be dead in about three pages. Also, I, for one, never cared about how any of the lesser vampire kids became vampires. Not even Alice. The story’s dropped so quickly it’s as if Meyer realized even she didn’t care. Or that someone besides Bella was getting attention.

14. James wants to make a little video of his own though, where he kills Bella to goad Edward into coming after him. Even though his story about Alice intimated he isn’t interested in preying on other vampires. What does he usually hunt, then? I’m assuming people who attract the interest of a vampire are pretty rare, if only because Bella would be less special if that wasn’t the case.

In any case, he smacks Bella around, breaking several bones, before she finally blacks out.

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