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!
vegasn8ive
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Post by vegasn8ive »

It's all about perspective. If you saw a bug running across your kitchen floor, you would step on it. And then put out poison to erraticate any others.
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Post by vampgirl39 »

That was an awesome way to put this all into perspective. We're all trying to be so meaningful and insightful when really it is quite simple:

pesky, disgusting, insignificant bug. squash it. plan to destroy all other pesky, disgusting, insignificant bugs.

humans=bugs
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Post by Bella_Cullen_13 »

I think they are both Good yet bad.

I think most of us would see them as bad because we are human so we can relate to Melanie a bit more, but they dont see themselves as bad, they see us as violent creatures & they think that they could make our world better because we arent very deserving of it.

Personally, Im not a fan, but I see both sides of the story. The fact that Wanderer can see that her own kind is invading this world [unlike many other worlds, these hosts still have awareness [sometimes]] shows that they probably know somewhere deep down that it isnt really for the greater good in this case as many try to believe. It really is more of a selfish thing.

Our world is so much complex than any other world the souls have lived on, making it more appealing. Because we were so easy to conquer & because of our numerous flaws, they found themselves more fitting.

Overall, I think the souls didnt mean to be bad, but they had some selfish qualities that made them appear to be that way.
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Post by CullenWannaB »

I don't really see the souls as being bad. Like Alphie said they have good intentions. They are trying to create peace and harmony in an otherwise violent world but they don't see or understand the cost they are inflicting on their hosts. I would see them as a little misguided in their desire to bring the world it's peace.
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Post by xPinkx »

CullenWannaB wrote:I don't really see the souls as being bad. Like Alphie said they have good intentions. They are trying to create peace and harmony in an otherwise violent world but they don't see or understand the cost they are inflicting on their hosts. I would see them as a little misguided in their desire to bring the world it's peace.
A lot of people are viewing this very objectively (right word?), seeing the bigger picture. Although it is entirely true that the souls believe they are doing good and are simply misguided, I can't help viewing it more subjectively.

Imagine being in the book and your perspective as the world is changed. I think this book is set more or less around the current time and so we would be the humans being taken over. Our current way of life would be lost forever; virtually the whole of humanity would be lost; everyone we know and love would effectivley be being killed around us, their consciousness squashed out of existence by alien invaders who then swan around in their bodies. It would be like living in a horror movie, and of course, they would come for you too. If you were amongst those who escaped you would have to constantly fight for your survival.

Most of the story is told from Wanda's POV, so we emphathise with her; it encourages us to see the bigger picture. So this is just another way of looking at it, the most obvious way I suppose. Hmm. I'm still torn.
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Post by classicsj11 »

It's all about perspective. If you saw a bug running across your kitchen floor, you would step on it. And then put out poison to erraticate any others.
humans=bugs
I actually saw that metaphor as our idea against the souls. We see these worms, as everyone in the books call them, and since they are invading our homes (in a bigger perspective than in the bug in our home metaphor) we just have a hatred for them and want to squash them out. Maybe that's just me, though...


I would compare it to ethnocentrism, I suppose, but I think it is a bit of a stretch. They see humanity as barbarous and therefore inferior. Perhaps I haven't thought this through fully...
No, I totally get where you're coming from. The souls look at the humans and automatically think they need help because we're barbarians. Humanity itself has done it many times in their history...but we don't really consider ourselves evil. There has been tons of ethnocentrism that has cropped up between humans; but there are the good people and the bad people. So perhaps there is a way to distinguish that in the souls. Obviously, since there are more than just Wanda that "go native" there must be.
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Post by tealcandtrip »

I thought about this a lot while reading. Finally I came up with this:

The souls obviously evolved from some sort of parasite. When they evolved enough to become sentient, they formed a set of morales that would support their society. IE: we can take because we improve. Wanda states towards the end that most of the species they take over have very little in the sense of individualism. To them, consuming humans for life (by taking their bodies and destroying their souls) is similar to us consuming cows instead of dogs. We see dogs as individuals, we see cows as meat, but they're both lower beings.

It's interesting that they call themselves the human word Souls. Why? Because in English, souls are the unseen thing that give us our personalities, our individuality, that raise us above the teeming mass of humanity. Which is why Wanda's realization of Walter's death is such important plot point.
vegasn8ive
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Post by vegasn8ive »

I agree very much with what you've said!

I have yet another suggestion. Sorry... :oops:

Try to explain to a tape worm why it's life is wrong. You can't. That is simply the way it exists. It's gross and it violates another's body but that is, none the less, the way that organism exists. Obviously, the Souls are much more advanced but they are still parasites. They survive by living off another. They may have space crafts and be really intelligent, but that doesn't erase that their life is made possible by being a parasite. They don't view what they are doing as wrong. They are existing the way they know how and they really do view the changes to the worlds they inhabit as good.
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Post by amontilado »

Because the Host is from Wanderer's point of view, the horror that humans have for the souls is slower to make an impact on us. The souls are; at least from their point of view, kind, gentle and altruistic. The world is indeed a much gentler & kinder place now that they have supplanted humans; but really they are mass murderers on an unimaginable scale.
They did evolve as parasites/symbiotes on their home world of origin & that relationship seems to be harmonious & presumably beneficial. Most likely that is as far as the souls would have gone if not for the aggressive & cruel Vultures. Inhabiting them & freeing the other races that they were tormenting seems just, except they continued to expand.
I am not at all sure that enslaving/erasing is better than cruelty, because there is no hope for escape from erasure. Possibly the Souls are actually worse than the Vultures....
The spiders seemed to more or less welcome the souls & their direction, but the other worlds seem to have little need for the souls, if any & much to lose.
Wanderer even states that the souls aim is to "experience". It seemed to me that their goal was to find Hosts for their expanding population & helping the Host planet was a side effect. The See Weeds clearly didn't want the Souls & didn't need any help with social disorder, but that didn't stop them being taken over.
The Souls have become accustomed to living pretty much forever, thousands of years of life at the expence of other sentient beings. They obviously don't question this limitless lifespan, but that doesn't make it right.
Certainly the Souls society is peaceful, & their medical knowledge is incredible, but it is of no comfort or use to the Humans who have been extinguished, really they are barely more human than the android women in the Stepford Wives. Their unthinking disposal of "damaged", imperfect or unwanted Hosts is incredibly callous & yet they still see themselves as kind & gentle.
Of course they do mean well, but good intentions don't make a wrong action right. If you beleve in God [and I do] We have free will; without the ability to make bad & wrong choices we also lack the ability to make glorious unselfish choices too. Some humans are evil & cruel, but many [most?] are vibrant, kind individuals. To me, the souls take over of Humanity was wrong & I hope that they can come to see that & be prepared to die a natural death with their Host body & increasingly allow their children to stay human.
Since they virtually live forever, they need to pretty much stop reproducing & withdraw as Hosts become available on Origin & possibly the spiders with their permission. If the spiders permit this, their "great sacs of eggs" would allow Souls to be extracted from those sentient creatures who still retain an awareness without the Soul needing to die.
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Post by Ohlalablondie15 »

I'm not sure what other people have said, and I hope that I'm not just repeating someone else's thoughts. But anyhoo...
What really got to me while reading the Host was the fact that the Souls really weren't as malicious as I thought they would be. I mean, watching alien invasion movies they are all bad and evil because they want to destroy the human race and blah blah blah. But when SM created the narrator (essentially) as a Soul, it shows an interesting perspective I would never have guessed. A Soul actually feeling sorry for the body it had inhabited? Wow...While I don't necessarily want to call them evil, I just believe they are kind of naive. I don't think they understand the notion that they are, in a way, ruining people's lives. But then again, a lot of good intentions end up being not so good...
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