Sunday, April 24, 2011
New Moon Chapter 7: Repetition
1. Oh boy, like we don’t get enough of that already.
2. Things open on Bella being unsure what the hell she was doing…somewhere and thinking she should have gone straight to La Push. “This was not a healthy thing to do.” Neither was going out with someone who constantly warned her he and everyone in his family would be fighting a subconscious urge to kill her. When was doing the healthy thing ever a concern of hers?
What’s she talking about? Driving out to the Cullens’ empty house to prove to herself it really is there and all the time she spent with he-who-cannot-be-named really happened. I don’t get that either; she refuses to use his name but goes to lengths even she admits are unhealthy to strengthen her memories of Edward. She describes this as a “fool’s errand,” and “mentally unsound.” Is this finally an admission that the character whose story we’re supposed to follow, whose problems we’re meant to hope they overcome, is both stupid and crazy? Not that this is the first time implying that, but is Meyer just coming out and saying it now?
3. The way the last chapter ended, with Bella realizing it’s been a whole year since she started at Forks High and not much has changed, led to “The feeling that I was starting over--perhaps the way my first day would have gone if I’d really been the most unusual person in the cafeteria that afternoon.”
By which she means how everyone ignored her in the lunch room until she made an effort to include herself, I think. I think, because in the last book Bella was given the unconditional admiration of numerous people like a proper Sue the minute she stepped onto the grounds. Is Meyer trying to pretend that didn’t happen?
I suppose Bella figures she wasn’t “the most unusual person in the cafeteria that afternoon” by dint of there being five vampires there, but because everyone in fake Forks is a moron they pretty much ignored the Cullens despite Meyer doing everything possible to make them stand out. As someone nobody knew, and the self-insert of a bad writer besides, Bella probably seemed a lot more unusual to the students of Forks High than those creepy pale kids they’d all learned to ignore a long time ago.
4. After driving around thinking she might never find the place, Bella does find the Cullens’ abandoned house. After thinking “The lane was so overgrown that it did not look familiar.” Really? Did she go there a lot? Did she pay any appreciable attention to anything about the visit besides Edward when she did? Besides, she’s talking about the road there, and the way it was described Bella sounded like she had a hard time recognizing where they were going, so why would anything look familiar? Gah, I’m only on the third page and this is my third rant!
She goes up to the house but there was no “lingering sense of their presence…of his presence.” Well, no. It’s a house that’s been abandoned for months, and she doesn’t even go inside because she’s afraid it’ll have an even worse effect on her if everything’s still there but the Cullens. Which would be pretty stupid on their part what with Edward explaining there was a couple centuries of history in there, and that because the people who lived there had a couple centuries of history themselves. Wouldn’t be the first time I accused them of being shit at covering their tracks, though.
5. She gets back in her truck and flees to La Push, whereupon meeting with Jacob again she asks “You seriously aren’t sick of me yet?” I was sick of you after about five pages, Bells. But seriously, I don’t see why we should like Edward. She had this problem with being down on herself before they met and if anything, he made it worse with all the reinforcing he did. Instead of maybe helping her fix her problems like the ultimate loving boyfriend with access to basically unlimited amounts of money for therapy might.
Jacob says if he had any brains he’d make fixing the motorcycles take longer on purpose. Bella seriously asks why, and Jacob practically has to hit her over the head and explain that, for reasons unknown, he enjoys just hanging out with her. You know Meyer, there’s a difference between making a character modest and just plain dumb. Is this the “anti-human” stuff? Would this not happen if Bella was some kind of supernatural freak? I’m sorry humans aren’t as appealing to you as made-up creatures, Meyer. And the ones in your books are ones you pretty much made up all on your own, so I feel even less sympathy for your "anti-human" stance when you're prejudiced in favor of creatures you invented yourself. Whether this is the "anti-human" stuff or not.
6. Bella gets even more lovable when “I made a gesture indicating the two of us as a single entity.” SDT, Meyer! What gesture?!!
They toast with soda to be responsible sometimes, meaning they spend a few days on the bikes but a few days doing homework so their dads don’t give them hell, but with Bella emphasizing her desire for recklessness.
7. Things settle down a little. Bella gets home to find out Charlie ordered a pizza “rather than wait for me. He wouldn’t let me apologize.” Maybe he can’t cook his own meals, but he can survive on his own. Can we please stop bringing up all the “Charlie needs Bella” crap? Especially when he’s grateful just to receive a degree of normalcy from her? “I knew he was just relieved that I was still acting like a normal person, and he was not about to rock the boat.”
Some people were more welcoming of Bella back into their lives than others. “Angela and Mike seemed ready to welcome me back with open arms--to kindly overlook my few months of aberrant behavior.” I still don’t see how ignoring them was that different from how she acted before. “Jess was more resistant. I wondered if she needed a formal written apology for the Port Angeles incident.” Because it’s not like Bella tried to initiate contact with a total stranger who might have once tried to rape her or anything.
Mike even starts hitting on Bella again, which she gently resists because “I didn’t want to screw things up with Mike, not when he was one of the only people ready to forgive me for being crazy.” Are you saying you stopped being crazy? Or that those four months were the only ones where you were crazy?
“I’d come full circle, and now everything felt like an echo--an empty echo, devoid of the interest it used to have.” Gee, does Bella feel like something’s missing with the Cullens gone? Wow, that revelation comes right out of left field!
When Bella has Jacob over to do study-buddy stuff, Charlie isn’t surprised, “so I guessed that he and Billy were talking behind our backs.” What happened to just glad to see his daughter acting normal? Like having contact with other human beings? The next time she goes to see Jacob she runs past Charlie, going so fast she thinks she hears him say “Where’s the fire?”
8. Jacob finished fixing up the bikes and on the way to try them out somewhere secluded, and on the way they see a bunch of guys on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The one front in front jumps off and Bella panics and assumes he’s just jumped to his doom. That’s why these books are so popular, because the character telling the story automatically assumes the worst about everything. Jacob, a bit mockingly and deservingly so, explains the guys are cliff diving.
Upon hearing that it’s kind of scary, Bella demands that Jacob take her diving sometime. He points out “you just wanted me to call an ambulance for Sam.” She notes “I was surprised that he could tell who it was from this distance.” Which is about the most awkward way Meyer’s tried to give a secondary character attention yet.
Sam’s sort of the head of a gang out in La Push, it seems, but Jacob describes them as “hall monitors gone bad.” You see, “There was this guy from somewhere up by the Makah rez, big guy too, scary-looking. Well, word got around that he was selling meth to kids, and Sam Uley and his disciples ran him off our land. They’re all about our land, and tribe pride…it’s getting ridiculous.” How dare they take pride in their heritage and object to people selling meth to kids?!?
Sam Uley, who if you can remember is the guy who found Bella in the woods after Edward dumped her, runs this “gang” which just sort of hangs around acting like a lot of brooding tough guys. Jacob is kind of put off by them because ordinary-seeming guys from around La Push just suddenly join his group sometimes and start acting like brooding tough guys too. Gee, wonder where this is going…
9. “It was quiet for a brief minute.”
10. They get to where Jacob’s going to teach Bella how to ride. “The bike suddenly looked intimidating, frightening, as I realized I would soon be astride it.” Isn’t that the point? I mean, when has Bella ever backed down from a bad idea?
Jacob’s mind is elsewhere, though because Meyer evidently thought she wasn’t obvious enought with the foreshadowing about Sam Uley’s gang. They recently converted one of Jacob’s friends from before (Embry, if you care) and Jacob thinks they have their eye on him to join too. Leading Bella to say this: “ ‘You don’t have to join anything.’ My voice was angry.” When did her attitude on this change? The “good vampires,” especially the one who she was planning to couple up with, treated her more like a doll and did things irrespective of her wishes all the time. And it only mildly annoyed her before she realized she couldn’t win and gave up.
Is this character development? Is being around a pleasant person improving her confidence? Is she just desperate to keep her monopoly on Jacob’s attention? She says she’s mad because of the way the gang’s treating Jacob, and I’d like to believe there’s hope even for Bella Swan, but I’m not ready to pass judgment after one measly scene where she actually seems concerned for another person.
11. Bella notes how strange this is for her. “I didn’t normally relate to people so easily, on such a basic level. Not human beings.” Isn’t that kind of a tipoff? Once again, the “cold ones” legend was true, why not the “tribe descended from wolves” one? Then again, when exactly did we see her “relate” to the Cullens? I hesitate to call what she did with Edward relating, and with how Meyer’s still taking forever to go anywhere significant in her second book I still don’t see why some space couldn’t have been given over to that.
I have no idea what these sentences are meant to imply: “His fingers touched my hair, soft and tentative. Well, it was friendship for me.”
12. Jacob remarks Bella looks like a porcelain doll, and the only people he’s ever seen who were paler were the Cullens (although he doesn’t actually finish the sentence).
“I looked away, trying to not understand what he had been about to say.” Despite the fact that “His unfinished sentence reminded me of why I was here.”
Do you want to think about Edward or not, girl?!? By setting out to break her promise to him, it seems to me she's thinking about him.