Is imprinting as good as ordinary human love? For the imprinter? For the imprintee? Does it undermine the worth of love if it you have no say in it? Does it make a relationship stronger -- or less meaningful -- if there is no possibility that the imprinter will ever fall out of love? How would you feel about either imprinting or being imprinted on? What do you think Stephenie wants us to think about this question (to judge from what she has written)?
When I learned that this was the debate topic for the new week, and when I was asked to write an opening argument for it, I wasn't sure which side to pick. Honestly, I could argue both sides of this topic. I have neutral feelings on the subject.
I am pretty sure I would not to want experience imprinting myself, on either side of the relationship.
But since I am in no danger of that, I can comfortably understand both points of view here.
For today's purpose, however, I will argue that imprinting can be, especially the way Stephenie has written it, every bit as lovely and wholesome and healthy as ordinary human love.
When I first read the chapters in which Jacob details the "scandals" of the tribe to Bella, I felt a wide range of emotions. From shock to curiosity to unease. But ultimately I accepted them and found that there might not be anything wrong to be found in it.
I assume, from what I've read and what I understand about imprinting, that a person would only imprint on that one individual
who will make them MOST happy. Someone they would have fallen in love with anyhow, had circumstances allowed them the chance to do it naturally.
But here's a thought: Is there really only one perfect match for each of us?
I believe not. Surely there is more than one person in the world for each of us that could make us happy. Just as Bella could be "happy" with Jacob. But we know she is meant for Edward and would only be wholly complete and happy with the latter. Right?
So then' is there also one perfect match out there for us? Despite other possible worthy companions, is there one person destined to make us the most
happy? Like with Edward and Bella? Someone who can make us happier than we could be with any of the other possible (and acceptable!) matches?
If this is true -- that many options are possible but there is always one that is most desirable -- how do we find that person? How do we know we haven't already passed them by without knowing what we'd found? Bella had no idea there was someone as perfect for her as Edward lying in wait somewhere in the rainy town of Forks' a place she swore off as a young girl. How frightening to imagine that things might have turned out differently. That she could have stayed in Phoenix and never known what she was missing. That Edward could have gone on in his tortured existence barely surviving High School, perhaps giving up and going back to Alaska and ending up with Tanya or some other horrible outcome. Ugh!
The fact is, when things are left to us we don't always get to find that perfect match for ourselves. Indeed, most people never do. With imprinting, despite all of its lack of free agency and other icky side effects, the guess work is taken out of it! There is not question of who is meant to be your other half.
Let's use Quil as an example. That's the one that most people get hung up on.
Imagine yourself as Quil. You don't have that special person in your life. Nobody has caught your eye' nothing. You've gone around never knowing who it will be, when it will hit you, and then one day you see her, and' BAM! You know. No guessing. No wondering.
And had you NOT known in that instant you might never have had the chance to get to know her better! She could have passed right by you and you would miss your opportunity for ultimate happiness. So sad! How many times does that happen to us? In real life? How many times does true happiness go right through our fingertips because we exercise our free will and make terrible mistakes? There is something to be said about matters being taken out of our own hands' when our own hands are often the means to our demise.
Obviously the age difference in Quil and Claire's case is hard to comprehend without getting the shivers. But we have to remember they aren't a couple yet. It's nothing romantic or sexual or physical. It was just an alert in Quils system! At this time, Quil's instincts have only informed him that someday, when the time is right, THIS will be the girl that was always meant for him. This will be the girl that he would have fallen in love with anyway
should he have had the chance later in life, on his own terms. This is the girl that would have fallen for him too, should SHE have had the chance later in life. They are MEANT for each other. In the same ways that Edward and Bella are. In that light, it is a beautiful thing. I think (from the way Jacob describes it in the book) that Stephenie Meyer meant us to see it this way as well.
And speaking of Edward and Bella, do we not see what they have together as a sort of imprinting? Maybe not completely' but we know Edward has compared his feelings to that kind of solid instantaneous and irrevocable attachment. And another thing! How much of their story was fate? Do we know? As I said before, what if things had turned out differently? How did it work just the way it did? Did fate place them in each others paths? Was Bella directed? If so, isn't this a form of things being taken out of one's hands? Like imprinting, in some small way? Just something to think about.
Now let's talk about my favorite example: Jared and Kim. This is a beautiful story! This was the girl that had been watching him from across the room for who knows how long, wishing and hoping that he would notice her. And one day, when his instincts finally kicked in, he was "informed" by them that THIS WAS THE GIRL! I believe that this was something that would have happened anyway. I can totally see it. These two were meant for each other from the beginning. It was a connection that even Kim felt, without any ancient wolfy-senses to tell her so.
Had things been left to their own devices, and had Jared done what fate would have had him do, they would certainly have ended up together anyway. But then again...there is the possibility, if imprinting had not come into play, that Jared could have had his mind on other things for too long, he could have never noticed her, they could have never gotten together, and true happiness could have eluded both him and the poor heartbroken girl who was meant to be his. How unfortunate that would have been. And it happens in ordinary human love all the time.
With this perspective in mind it is rather easy for me to say that imprinting does not
devalue or take anything away from true love and can be all
the great things ordinary human love is' and possibly even more.