Are the Souls really "bad?"

Discussion for Stephenie Meyer's debut sci-fic/romance novel. Now open for all discussion. Don't enter if you haven't yet finished the book!
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Are the Souls really "bad?"

Post by Alphie »

This was touched on in the interview done by Borders, but it was something that played on my mind as I first read the book agea ago. The Souls really do have a good intention, and a lot of what they provide is wonderful. So where do you draw the line between helping and hurting in a case like this?

I'm going to cross the fandom line a bit and say thatI saw the movie Firefly, but as I watched it, I thought of The Host. In Firefly, they remove all aggression from the people only to have them virtually give up, lie down, and die. Obviously, that's not what happens with the Souls, but there is essentially the same theme there - that happiness and contentment can be brought by removing all the ills in our life. It's a good theory, but I think this book proves it isn't worth it. Thoughts?
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Post by April-Rain »

The book kind of makes the line blurry which separates the good from the "bad" souls. Although they are parasites, they really don't have much of a say in doing what they are doing - or at least that's how I read it. It is how they survive, so it must continue, either as a Bear (speaking of bears, holy shoot, those were frightening), a Spider, or a Flower.

It's only the humans which are aware of what can happen to them that can resist, right? Some similar quote was found throughout the book but I just woke up and am unsure of exact details. Removing the evil from the lives of humans who are unaware of anything entering their lives to remove it isn't exactly helping the greater good. If you are going to invade an entire species, they won't be the same species any more, so removing the negative aspects are only going to benefit the hosts. Is this making sense?

Case in point: when Ian watches television in the hotel room and Wanderer watched her own television - the Olympics were different, there was no competition, it wasn't a sport. Removing that little bit of an "ill" completely ruined a set aspect of the life of the humans. Why remove it if it's not entirely bad? Obviously not every human is as strong willed as Melanie or Lacey, or have been hiding like Uncle Jeb's crowd... so it's not really worth it to change the world when it's only your own species living in it, inhabiting a place where you are not exactly violent creatures anyway.

I'm not really sure if this post at all conveys what I am attempting to say, so I will come back to it later.
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Post by Marcy »

I don't see them as evil, because for all of their technology and knowledge, they still weren't able to really really grasp the wrongness of what they were doing.

I think the best summation of what I'm (groping around for) trying to say was when Wanda was thinking something along the lines of how there was no word for loyalty or disloyalty in the language on the Origin. There are concepts that they simply don't get.

For instance, (before Earth, anyway) all souls were harmonious and positive and "good." So even though they are individuals, per say, there was really no individuality. They would have had no reason to comprehend that in a world where terrible people do terrible things daily, that the entire species is not as evil.

Souls had no real grasp of extremes of personality.
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Post by vegasn8ive »

I think the souls are the way they are because that's all they know. Clearly, some of the souls get to see life from the other perspective (going native) and their good nature makes them realize that it is wrong.

I think the initial way of life for a soul was brought about by necessity for survival. I don't think they had any intention of "conquering the universe" and, therefore, aren't "bad".

To illustrate what I mean, a few years ago (quite a while, now :oops: ) I got the chance to meet one of my long-lost relatives who grew up in the former Soviet Union. This was just after the iron curtain fell so he hadn't really been exposed to any western thinking at all. He was raised in the kind of society that knew exactly what they were doing, unlike the souls whom, I belive, truly thought they were doing something good. I got the chance to sit down and talk with him and the most fascinating thing happened. We disagreed but I realized that the only reason we disagreed is because he, simply, couldn't understand another way to think. He had no idea that he could or should think any other way than the way he had always thought, believed. When I was reading this story, I immediately thought of him because it's very much the same.

Souls know they need to survive. They have figured out a way. They have never been on the other end of the situations they create so they have no way of understanding just how wrong it is. And, they view the worlds they inhabit as being better because of their presence, no violence, no crime, happiness and peace. Like when you are a child and you think you are doing a good job throwing your garbage into the bin because that's so much better than throwing it on the ground and mommy and daddy smile and tell you what a good job you've done. Until one day you make the horrible discovery of land-fills and realize that there is so much more than just throwing things "away". I don't think the souls ever stopped to consider the land-fill side of what they were doing. Metaphorically speaking, of course. :wink:
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Post by spoiled_rotten_princess »

I think that the souls do become a bit more individual as they mingle with humans, go native as Wanda did. (By the way... You have to wonder: will more go native? Is it a process that's just going to keep happening?) There are good souls, and bad souls. However, even the good souls didn't understand that what they were doing was wrong; they weren't raised to believe in any other ways. The spiders welcomed them, and most creatures they invaded weren't sentient enough to have real personalities, to have real selves.

The thing is, I do believe that the souls thought they were doing the right thing. But... they went to extreme. If something was in the least bit bad, they wanted it gone. They didn't realize that, if you try to get rid of all the bad in the world, you'll destroy a lot of good. You've got to fall down to stand up, and they ruined all chances of falling down.
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Post by Shieka »

i dont think the souls are "bad" persay
i dont agree with what they where doing like wanda t the end.
i thinkn they didnt know how it was different than taking over plants and stuff, because the humans actually have induviduality as wanda put it
i hope more souls "go native" as burns put it

and like princess ^^ said before me thats how they where raised.
Stephenie had a really good way of making things usually bad good. like vamps and body snatcher lol
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Post by xPinkx »

I'm still not sure whether as a whole they are good or bad. I mean, imagine if we were in this situation and they were taking over our planet; we wouldn't feel much sympathy for them would we? But, from their perspective they're helping us out. And they don't wish to cause us any physical pain...but they don't understand human nature as well as they think they do. They barged in before they had all the facts. They were prejudiced, effectifvly annialating the whole human race. Can that ever be justified? (By the way, I just thought of a question...what happened to all the animals on the planet; the aliens use animal host bodies on other plannets so what about this one?)

In Twilight, Stephenie draws a clear line (from Bella's POV) between good and bad vampires. (although this could be questioned). As someone else said, in this book the line between good and bad is far more blurry.
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Post by bananas_4_edward »

I don't think they are, actually toward the end, I was kind of on their side! All they wanted to do was make the world a better place. And isn't everybody wishing for world peace? Well, they brought it.

But I am against the whole "possess their minds" thing. But I guess thats how they get the world peace.

But mostly I was on the humans side, because their planet was taken over by worms, basically. I would be PO-ed too!
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Post by Twilight Teezer »

They are definitely not evil like the g'ould!
There was a patch of See Weeds that committed suicide rather than be infiltrated and lose their free will.
The general population of the Souls may have felt they were doing good - innocent and child-like more than anything. I don't see how they couldn't feel some sort of guilt for not "reusing" a host due to resistance, like Kevin, for very long. I think the more that "go native" as they experience humanity from their resistors (at least the nicer resisting hosts LOL), the more that eventually their views will morph to a point of understanding what free will is all about. It would be very interesting to see how many hosted couples decide to have human babies and not insert an alien right away...they will love the child for who it has grown up to be and then what? Lots in my brain about the conflict that would eventually arise.
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Post by samantha »

i dont think the souls are bad at all. even if they knew that they were erasing a sentient life by entering their bodies, that's not bad of them. most of the humans dont fight the invasion once it happens... i think that if all the humans had fought like melanie did, then the hosts would have left. if someone isn't willing to fight for their own will, then i'm not entirely sure they deserve to have it.
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