Monday, December 5, 2011

Eclipse Chapter 7 - Unhappy Ending

1. Don’t get my hopes up.

2. As you’ll remember the last chapter ended with Rosalie coming in to have a private chat with Bella. “My stomach twisted nervously as the one Cullen who did not like me moved silently to sit down in the open space.” The only vampire in the whole bunch not to like Bella, boy she’s got it so rough. And we’re about to find out why. Fasten your seatbelts and secure your helmets.

Sayeth Rosalie, “I’m sure I’ve hurt your feelings enough in the past, and I don’t want to do that again.” Gee, despite being the only Cullen not to like Bella, Rosalie’s being awfully nice to Bella. Who of course brushes it right off because she doesn’t want to inconvenience anyone.

3. Rosalie then explains how she became a vampire, and this really goes to show how messed up Meyer’s priorities as a writer are. In that this is more interesting than anything and everything centering around Bella.

Not that you can’t still tell it was written by a first-time author too sure of themselves to bother with research. See, one of the first things Rosalie says is she was around during the Great Depression, which she hardly even noticed because “my father had a stable job in a bank.” Yeah, Meyer’s saying Rosalie’s family could pretend the Great Depression wasn’t happening because their breadwinner had a job in a BANK.

Rosalie explains to Bella that it was like that time when Edward saved her from the thugs in the first book, except Rosalie didn’t have a super-powered dude on hand in case of trouble because he was stalking her anyway. Guess we’re still saying that’s a positive.

4. “Would you like to hear my story, Bella? It doesn’t have a happy ending -- but which of ours does?” Bella’s, I notice.

In regards to Rosalie’s…*snort, snicker* middle-class parents, “My beauty was like a gift to them. They saw so much more potential in it than I did.” Oh she’s so modest! That’s likable, right?? But of course she was breathtakingly beautiful too, because being born with a pretty face matters so much in this stupid world I’m so glad I don’t have to live in. Sorry, Bella never really seems to learn that has nothing to do with what the Cullens are like on the inside. As usual, until somebody spells it out for her Bella has no ideas at all for how someone as beautiful as Rosalie could be jealous of someone as plain as her.

“I was silly and shallow, but I was content.” Boy, good thing for Roz she lucked into this family. “As I said, shallow. Young and very shallow.” Doesn’t that mean she’s still shallow? One of the things about becoming a vampire in the Meyerverse is you’re stuck exactly the way you were when you became a vampire. Forever. Although I’m not sure Meyer thought through what that would mean in regards to issues like falling in love and learning new things.

5. Anyway Roz’s parents were hoping to marry her off to somebody influential, but she tells Bella about how her best friend married a blue collar stiff (at 17), and Roz wanted more than anything to have a perfect little baby like her friend.

As for the family Roz’s family was hoping to impress, “In Rochester, there was one royal family -- the Kings, ironically enough.” More like insipid writingly-enough. A royal family, the Kings. That sounds like something you’d read in a 60’s Batman comic. She did end up marrying the oldest son, Royce. In fact, “We were engaged before I’d known him for two months.” That’s probably meant to be Roz looking back on a huge mistake, that of marrying someone because he seemed like Prince Charming on a white charger carrying her away to a life of eternal opulence and not because she really loved him, but yeah, I’m going to bring up Bella and Edward’s artificial love. Where they were obsessed with each other before they had any good reason to be. And the books treating that like a good thing.

Bella “wondered if this was why she had so much more bitterness in her than the rest of them -- because she’d been within reach of everything she’d wanted when her human life was cut short.” How does that explain her jealousy of Bella, though? The list of things Roz wanted out of life wasn’t much longer than Bella’s, but Bella’s only has one thing on it, and it was pretty much hers to take at her whim as soon as she had any interest in it at all. Anything else is ancillary to “Edward”. At least Roz wanted “nice house and happy children” too. If Bella thinks Roz is jealous of her for wanting even less out of life…well, that’s pretty pathetic. Nothing new for Bella, though.

You know, if vampires are frozen in time from the moment they get all sparkly, how do they even get over things bothering them? Lot of little things to ask about that state of affairs that the author apparently didn’t (or didn’t want to) think about.

6. Then Roz talks about how Royce (Royce and Rosalie. Sheesh, she’s probably glad now that didn’t happen) and some of his drunk friends raped her. After she gets to the part where she was attacked, she goes “I won’t make you listen to the rest. They left me in the street, still laughing as they stumbled away.” This is sort of like how Meyer thinks teenagers shouldn’t be reading about sex and she was keeping her books clean by not actually writing in the sex scenes in Breaking Dawn. Just because she didn’t write that scene in doesn’t mean Bella and Edward didn’t do the nasty (especially not when the “threat” of the book is various people wanting their child dead), any less than Rosalie sparing us the details doesn’t mean she wasn’t raped. These books are in no way “clean”.

7. That’s when the Cullens found her and brought her over. Because Carlisle’s such a great guy it apparently never occurs to him that maybe just letting someone die and letting their suffering end might be the merciful thing to do sometimes. I know he's a doctor, but which is crueler? Rosalie’s family hearing that their beautiful daughter died a horribly untimely death, or them thinking that and her being unable to tell them she didn’t? Maybe I’d feel better about Carlisle’s decisions to surround himself with other vampires if it seemed like anybody but him was actually taking advantage of their immortality to do something besides eat mountain lions and drive conspicuous cars.

I really start to question Carlisle’s procedures when Roz goes on to say how she killed Royce and his friends and their bodyguards (in a wedding dress [a stolen one, at that], because being undead makes you melodramatic). He saved her, because it would’ve been such a waste to let her die, and the first thing she does is goes out and kill a bunch of other people. Yeah, they were rapists, but as I keep saying no matter how much the book tries to insist otherwise the Cullens are hardly lily-white themselves. Especially when the stuff they do is for the sake of Bella.

“I’m surprised Edward didn’t tell you more about it,” Roz finishes up. “He doesn’t like to tell other people’s stories -- he feels like he’s betraying confidences, because he hears so much more than just the parts they mean for him to hear,” Bella explains. Let’s ignore the mind-reading because it sounds like he can’t turn that off, but Edward’s okay with casually invading other people’s privacy, like sneaking into someone’s bedroom without their knowledge, but sharing whatever he might learn, that’s what gives him pangs of conscience.

“He’s really quite decent, isn’t he?” indeed.

8. Initially, the reason Roz disliked Bella was jealousy of Edward being interested in Bella but not Roz. Even though that was way after she’d found happiness with Emmett. Wait, what?

Even when Edward was hanging out with the all-female coven in Alaska, he never expressed any interest. Seriously, “Tanya’s clan in Denali -- and all those females!” And none got a rise out of him at all. Ah yes, the legendary Tanya. I’d say it’d help the contrast if we actually got to see her and some of her buddies and see what’s so awesome about them before this, but we are after all talking about Bella Swan. Any woman is automatically more impressive than her.

But again, I have to ask what it is about Bella that makes her worth all the shit they go through to keep her safe. Most people would find all the whining and self-deprecating to be a turnoff after a while. And it’s hard to see her as brave when you consider either the reasons for her taking a risk (it makes her see Edward and lets her remain codependent even when he’s gone from her life), or the fact that when she does try to help it usually just makes things worse, like a certain instance later in this book or when she tried to spare the others facing James. Not only was she dumb to fall for his trick, she should’ve known better than to think he’d do what he said after he had what he wanted. I’ve talked about how it kind of seems like she’s twisting the story to badmouth the people she doesn’t like, I almost wonder if she’s making herself sound bad to make the Cullens sound better, but in the process making them sound like idiots for bending over backwards for her sake.

Kind of puts it in perspective when Bella notes, “But you still don’t like me.”

9. The punch line to Rosalie’s whole story, of course, is that if Bella becomes a vampire her uterus will stop working and she’ll never be able to have those beautiful babies Roz dreamed of. “You have the choice that I didn’t have, and you’re choosing wrong!” While I do think Bella wants to become a vampire for a stupid reason she hasn’t thought through, not everybody wants the same things out of life. And frankly, Roz doesn’t strike me as somebody who would’ve made a suitable mother even if she’d gotten the chance. In fact she’s starting to seem as demented as Bella, because the reason she fell for Emmett is he looked just like her friend’s baby. I mean holy shit, how far can you take one bit?

“In some ways, you are much more mature than I was at eighteen,” Roz goes on. Oh yeah? Care to name a few? I’d probably just laugh at them, but at least I’d have some idea of what I’m supposed to think. The sad thing is that even though Roz tries to get Bella to think about what exactly she’s sacrificing to get to keep her youthful looks, nothing ever comes of it. Right when Bella’s starting to think there really are some things she might want to experience as a human, she gets pregnant with a demon and ends up needing to be converted to stay alive. It presents the carrot and then snatches it away, right when it seems like she might actually grow a little.

10. After Roz assures Bella that Edward loves her more than she (presumably Bella) can possibly imagine, Bella gets to sleep. “When I did sleep, I had a nightmare.” Shocker! It’s not even worth saying what it was about, suffice it to say Meyer’s not as artsy as I think she was trying for.

Later Alice tells her they’ll go out somewhere, “That would be fun, right?” But Bella asks why they don’t just lock her in the basement. Alice starts to angst, “He’s going to take the Porsche back. I’m not doing a very good job. You’re supposed to be having fun.” Because Barbie dolls have fun when you bend them to your whim, right? That’s all either she or Edward seems to think Bella is. All the same, “Without Edward, the day was guaranteed to be unbearable.” That’s a good little victim.

11. But wouldn’t you know it, Jacob roars up, totally unforeseen by Alice’s precognition, and whisks an exuberant Bella away to do something non-victimy.

You know, I just realized that Bella cost the Cullens possibly their biggest advantage over the Quileutes by telling them the early warning system the Cullens put the most faith in doesn’t work on them. Look, I know she wants them to be friends and everything, but the peace between the groups isn’t an easy one. If they wanted to the Quileutes could launch a sneak attack and the Cullens would never see it coming. All thanks to Bella. And despite all that "Switzerland" crap, as I said she clearly does favor one side. The one she's left vulnerable.

It sure is a good thing there’s something I can’t see about Bella that makes the Cullens forgive her every stupid call. It sure is a good thing the author didn’t think of that, too.

1 comment:

  1. I never understood why Jacob was allowed to still hang around Bella after the engagement.