Friday, November 11, 2011

Eclipse Chapter 5 - Imprint

1. Continuing where we left off last chapter, Bella’s trying to console Jacob with the pain of choosing Edward over him. “Isn’t it getting any better?” No, it’s not, because people don’t get completely over other people in these books. With some of them it’s even used to demonstrate their devotion.

2. We find out Quil (whoever that is) joined the werewolf pack too, and rather than being emo about it, “he’s jazzed. Totally thrilled.” After all, “Shouldn’t be surprised, I guess. It’s so Quil.” I’m supposed to know what they’re talking about right? Because I do know the character, but I don’t know the character, if you get what I’m saying.

Then again I do know some of the characters Meyer brings into focus next, but still don’t know what it is about them I’m meant to like. Namely, Bella says Edward might come looking for her, even if he thinks she’s on the Quileutes’ land, if he thinks she’s doing something “he considers…risky.”

Like I’ve said, I’m not entirely against Edward wanting to protect his girlfriend. If he didn’t we’d be calling him something else. It’s just the way he goes about it is as if she’s his pet rather than his soul mate. If she wants to do something he doesn’t want her to do, she won’t, because he’s the big strong vampire with a precognitive sister and money he’ll still be trying to burn through when the sun’s going dark, and she’s the pitiful little human who still shares a bathroom with her dad. My condolences to the Twihards who haven’t grown out of thinking that’s a model for a lasting relationship.

My mind isn’t changed any when Bella asks why their two groups can’t just be “civilized” to each other. Hey, most vampires really are remorseless killers, and the way Edward tries to confine Bella and all the other crimes his family has committed, most of them over this whiny little sadsack, don’t really make them look like the angels Bella and middle-aged real Bella would have us believe. Let alone the the way Alice, Bella’s supposed best friend among the family, treats her  a lot like Edward does but as a life-sized Barbie rather than a dog. I can almost forgive a first-time author for not knowing that readers won’t necessarily like the protagonist just for being the protagonist, but with all the reading she’s claimed to have done that helped inspire this, I don’t think I should. Even if I can.

Also, in reference to Edward, “At least he can be a grown-up about this.” Is that why he disabled your truck so you couldn’t visit your friend he doesn’t trust?

“He knows that hurting you would hurt me -- and so he never would. You don’t seem to care about that at all!” Me me me me me me me me me! I didn’t like Kamen Rider Kabuto much, but at least it was honest enough to come out and say its protagonist was the center of the universe.

3. After Meyer tries to convince me she understands character development and the dynamics of loving relationships more and fails, Bella tries to defend the Cullens to Jacob more. “The Cullens had no idea. They didn’t think that werewolves still existed here. They didn’t know that coming here would change you.”

Didn’t they? They brokered a truce with werewolves in this territory, and she had more contact than the Cullens did with someone who took that agreement very seriously. Remember Billy trying to warn her off going out with Edward? What, exactly, was it that made the Cullens think that there were no more werewolves around if the tribe they belonged to was still around?

And maybe I’m missing something, but it seemed like none of the pack forming and teenagers wolfing out happened until Victoria came back and started gunning for Bella. She, after all, presumably didn’t know about the Cullens’ agreement with the Quileutes and didn’t know vampires were supposed to stay off their land. It seemed to me they were wolfing out in response to the threat she posed. To the extent the concept of “threat” exists in this universe at all.

“You think I should be as forgiving as you are? We can’t all be saints and martyrs.” Yeah, some of us have personalities.

“Grow up, Jacob.” Get some perspective, Bella.

4. We find out perhaps how much growing up Bella herself really has to do when Jacob replies that he can’t grow up, because if he changes into a wolf on a regular basis, he, like the others, won’t age.

“Am I the only one who has to get old? I get older every stinking day! Damn it! What kind of world is this? Where’s the justice?…Shut, Jacob. Just shut up! This is so unfair!” Boy she gets more and more relatable all the time, doesn’t she? This isn’t making a good character flawed, it’s making a flawed character insufferable.

He calms her down by saying that it’s not really that simple. The reason he got so much bigger in between the last time she saw him as a human and when he joined Sam’s pack is he’s in his mid-20’s, physically, thanks to the change. Which, as usual, our super-aware protagonist never really thought about until somebody shoved her face in it.

Jacob: “So, did you want to hear more about Sam, or did you want to scream at me some more for things that are out of my control?”
Bella: “Sorry. Age is a touchy subject for me. That hit a nerve.”
Starofjustice: “She was never a teenager, huh?”

5. They talk about some boring stuff about when Sam first became a werewolf, and then Jacob tells her about the really weird part about being a werewolf. “I’m a pro at weird,” Bella replies, which is why she’s always in the dark.

Jacob’s talking about one of Meyer’s most dubious inclusions, imprinting. “ ‘Imprinting?’ I repeated the unfamiliar word. ‘No. What’s that mean?’ ” Because a smart, well-read person who’s nearly out of high school wouldn’t have heard that word before.

Imprinting, at least in regard to Meyer’s werewolves, involves them falling permanently, obsessively in love with someone out of the blue (not stated here but in the next book is it doesn’t matter if that person’s a toddler). Bella asks if it’s like love at first sight, but told “It’s a little bit more powerful than that. More absolute.” You know, according to the guidebook Meyerpires fall in love once and then that’s it for the rest of their eternities. For a romance novel a lot of the couplings seem biologically motivated.

Sam fell for Emily that way, even though he was going out with her cousin Leah. This is why Sam hates vampires, evidently. Because their presence made him change into a werewolf, which made him imprint on Emily, which made him break up with Leah. Because he and Emily are…extremely happy…together. Even though Emily really had no interest in Sam before she got imprinted on. But hey, “it’s hard to resist that level of commitment and adoration,” sayeth Jacob. In this universe where the concept of being creeped out by guys doesn’t seem to exist, that’s probably true. Then again this is also a universe where moving on with your life is treated like cutting off your arm, because Leah’s still pissed about it. Even after she wolfs out herself she still acts like it was something he could’ve controlled.

Anyway Sam slipped that time and mauled his soul mate (what kind of system is this?). He was really devastated by what he’d done, but then, “somehow, she was the one comforting him, and after that….” That’s all we’re going to hear about that, I guess. Way to explain yourself, Meyer.

Bella expresses gratitude (inwardly) that Jacob’s not saying there’s anything like that between him and her. “I didn’t need any more of the supernatural that I already had to deal with.” Which is why she wants to immerse herself deeper in the supernatural world by becoming a vampire.

Wait, what?

6. Jacob goes quiet, and “My intuition told me that I didn’t want to hear what he was thinking.” Bella has intuition? And fine, don’t tell us.

By the way, Bella’s such a pro at weird that when Jacob tells a “funny” story about another werewolf imprinting, Bella says it’s not something the other werewolf should’ve shared and Jacob has to remind her werewolves can hear each other’s thoughts whether any of them want to or not. It’s nice to be reminded of that, but Meyer could’ve found a way to have Bella tell us that as an aside. Or maybe Meyer couldn’t, and that’s a bigger problem.

7. Bella tells Jacob Edward’s mind-reading doesn’t work on her.

Bella: “It probably means there’s something wrong with my brain.”
Starofjustice: “Sweetie, plenty of things you’ve done mean there’s probably something wrong with your brain.”
Jacob: “I already knew there was something wrong with your brain.”
Bella: (sarcastically) “Thanks.”
Starofjustice: “You’re welcome!”

8. Jacob brings up the nature of something Edward picked from his mind when they met two chapters ago that “bothered” Edward, which is the image from Sam’s head of how messed up and totally destroyed Bella was that night Sam found her in the woods after Edward dumped her.

Bella’s mad at Jacob for this, but I’m kind of on Jacob’s side here. Maybe it’d actually teach Edward to think through problems like he doesn’t no matter what his creator says. I can hardly remember any character getting smart about anything we’ve seen happen in these books. And from that I kind of get this sense that the author thinks “it’s fiction” and “love isn’t reasonable” are defenses against most of the criticism leveled against her characters and books as a whole.

“If you can’t be nice, I won’t come back at all!” Bella threatens. Is that what Edward’s doing by using his inhuman resources to try to keep her from seeing her friends? Is that what Edward’s doing by having her hang around his family, when her blood smells just so much more delish than anybody else’s? He says fear of losing her wiped out any urge he might’ve had to feed on her, yeah, but what about the other six vampires he lives with? Was it him or one of them that lost control around her? What's being done about that? Or is it being ignored because Meyer doesn't need it anymore?

I get really disgusted with these books when Bella insists that things like the entire reason the Quileutes regained their lupine heritage was because of the Cullens being in the area don’t matter (I still say it makes more sense that it was because of Victoria). “You are Jacob, and he is Edward, and I am Bella. And nothing else matters.” I’m not trying to sound racist or anything, and I’m not trying to deny that we need to make an effort to focus less on racial boundaries. But I am sick of this being how complex the books’ morality gets; yes everybody can get over issues they've had for generations, and all it took was Bella to get it to happen.

To prove it, eventually Jacob agrees to try to just see Edward as Edward and not Edward the bloodsucker. Because gosh darn it Bella’s special and it would be a shame not to have her around even though they seem to argue every time they meet.

No comments:

Post a Comment