Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Eclipse Chapter 15 - Wager
1. Don’t know how Steph though last chapter ended on something shocking or unpredictable, because the way Bella responds to Jacob’s declaration sure isn’t. She doesn’t want to stop seeing him, but it’s not for the same reason he wants to keep seeing her. She loves him but she’s not in love with him, blah blah blah.
He agrees to stick around, but he’s not changing the way he is if she only wants to be friends (implicitly if that’s how things are, he’s not changing to be more agreeable to Edward). In one of the few semi-redeeming moments of the series, Bella admits she is indeed being unreasonable for wanting Jacob as a friend when it pains him to be just friends friend. If only I didn’t know Breaking Dawn was going to flush it straight down the toilet.
Not that she’s budging on Edward. “I love him, Jacob. He’s my whole life.” And personality. And interests. And goals. And self-image.
Jacob reminds her that Edward was her life once, but then he left and she tried to get on without him. And now she’s stuck with “the consequence of that choice -- me.”
He tries to tell she’s got options, she doesn’t want options, the author should start writing these books like it’s someone besides her reading it. Someone who might not just see how they’re the most perfect couple in the history of couple perfection.
2. Then, that happens. Jacob decides if he can’t convince Bella of the depth of his devotion with words, he’ll do it with his lips. He forces a kiss on her, despite her pitiful resistance. “I grabbed at his face, trying to push it away, failing again.” Story of her life, then. Eventually he stops, giving her the chance to punch him in the face and break something. Of hers.
She starts screaming he broke her hand, but Jacob points out that she broke her hand by punching something with supernatural toughness (ProTip: Your hands aren’t designed to punch things. And Bella’s the last fictional character in the world who would know how to make a fist correctly. To say nothing of the self-control to remember how in a tense situation). How is this not okay, but Edward breaking into her house and going through her shit for her keys is? Is it different because he broke in but never touched her?
“He wasn’t even rubbing his jaw like they did in the movies. How pathetic.” Hasn’t she learned how inaccurate movies usually are by now? And fighting tends to be where they’re at their most laughable.
3. He tries to get her to admit she enjoyed that. After all, “That had to be better than kissing a rock.” She denies it, but she’s never had a problem lying even in situations where it wasn’t to save somebody’s life, and even when it was somebody she professes to care about. And perhaps because we actually get to see so many of Bella’s interactions with him, with so many ending in a similar vein, Jacob might be the most questionable person on that very short list.
Oh, and when Bella insists she can’t be happy without Edward, he retorts she never tried. “When he left, you spent all your energy holding onto him.” Guess he does know why she went cliff diving.
And he makes a point. She doesn’t try. Either Bella or Smeyer. Edward and Bella are the perfect couple. Why? Because they are. Some of you may have noticed the link to Reasoning With Vampires in the right sidebar.
After some interviews I’ve read about Stephenie Meyer talking about readers finding the book that’s perfect for them, I get this image of her actually going there, reading some of the scathing observations on her prose, and writing in to Dana, “It sounds like my books weren’t the right ones for you. I hope you find one that is.” Just who is Meyer saying her books are for? People who don’t question what they read? Is that really kind of the crowd you want to cater to? If you’re the kind of author who’s afraid of being told they fucked something up, I suppose.
4. Jacob says Edward left her once, he could do it again. She retorts he left her once too, “thinking of the weeks he’d hidden from me, the words he’d said to me in the woods behind his home…” Excuse me, but Edward left because of Edward. Jacob left because of Bella. She left to save Edward from killing himself over a hideously moronic understanding, and if she’s anywhere near as smart as people in the books say she’d have to know he’d probably take that as being considered second best.
Besides, like I just said, it sounds like Jacob might know the real reason for the cycling and cliff diving. Is he supposed to appreciate that?
5. Bella’s inexplicable attraction prevails, because he offers to drive her to the hospital to get her hand looked at. But, “I don’t want to go to the hospital. It’s embarrassing and unnecessary.” Just a reminder, she said that about wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle and when she was almost smashed flat by a van, too.
She announces her plan to have Edward drive her to his place to have Carlisle fix her hand. Because it’s not like he has anyone else’s injuries or illnesses to worry about, I guess. Because it’s not like he’s the only Cullen to have a day job. I’m sorry, yeah, he’s a doctor and that’s what doctors do. But it sounds like he can drop everything to wait on Bella.
6. Jacob drops her off at her house and that scene everybody thinks ruins Charlie’s character happens. He greets them with a “Nice to see you Jake,” and he laughs when Jacob explains how Bella got hurt, and congratulates Jacob for kissing his daughter.
I certainly don’t condone sexual assault, and Bella had every right to resist what Jacob did to her, but this also doesn’t make me hate her any less. I'm not wild about the way Charlie's acting in this chapter, what with how he's about the only character I find to have any redeeming qualities at all, but mostly I'm just confused. First he's congratulating Jake for assaulting his daughter, then according to the narration we're meant to think things are uncomfortable between Charlie and Jake, then Charlie's congratulating Bella for punching Jacob. Hooo-wah???
7. Bella calls Edward, and in the meantime “It had gone quiet in the front room, and I wondered when Jacob would bolt. I smiled a grim smile, imagining his discomfort.” At what? He just earned her father’s approval, and Charlie prefers him to Edward to begin with.
When Edward gets there, Bella evidently didn’t explain she broke her hand punching Jacob. “ ‘Good,’ Edward said bleakly. ‘Though I’m sorry you’re hurt.’ I laughed once, because he sounded as pleased as Charlie had.” He sounded bleakly pleased?
She claims she didn’t do any damage at all (was she honestly expecting to? Her?), and Edward adds “I can fix that.” That might have flown if the competition started earlier in the series, but at this point I don’t prefer Edward just because of what Jacob did.
Charlie comes out and praises Bella for really giving that punch her all (just where does he stand on this, huh??). Edward says he isn’t going to kill Jacob now because it would upset Bella, but if she ever comes back “damaged” again, all bets are off. An instance like this here and there doesn’t make up for the characters being lame and unlikable the rest of the time. Particularly not when all this shit’s over Bella.
8. Remember the title of the chapter? It turns out Jasper and Emmett like making bets, and they’ve made one about how many times Bella will “slip up” in her first year as a vampire. They’re betting on how many innocent people the girl they’re welcoming into their family will kill out of predatory instinct. You see what I’m talking about? And am I wrong or is this the same habit Meyer gave the werewolves to make them seem more like a group?
9. Carlisle does check Bella out an and it’s “just a tiny fissure in one knuckle. I didn’t want a cast, and Carlisle said I’d be fine in a brace if I promised to keep it on.” She also didn’t want a helmet, and the story calls so much attention to her being a “danger magnet.” On top of that, ooooh, one little fracture. And she’ll have to wear a brace for a while. And it won’t matter anyway because she isn’t asked to do anything physical again for the rest of the book.
Reminds me of this other book I’m reading, Small Favor, and how early in Harry gets a broken nose and two black eyes. And gets made fun of for it. By his friends and family. And still has to save the world anyway. Oh, it’s so tough to be Bella.
10. The real reason for the bet is as Carlisle get her fixed up, Bella starts to think, seemingly for the first time, about what becoming a vampire will really mean. “[C]ould I possibly be me? And if all I wanted was to kill people, what would happen to the things I wanted now?” Well, before I answer that, who exactly is she supposed to be now? And what exactly are the things she wants now, besides Edward and being eternally young and pretty? Meyer left Bella vague to make it easier for readers to step into her shoes, but it made questions like this hard to answer in ways that don’t make her sound shallow, too. It doesn’t help that she follows up with “As long as I got to be with Edward, what else could I ask for?”
“Was there a human experience that I was not willing to give up?” Would you please illustrate some kind of difference? Besides the immortality and the sparkles? Don’t make a fuss about something that’s not there, Meyer.