SMDND-Exploring the Theme of "Choice"

General discussion about the Twilight Series Universe.
indi
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Post by indi »

December wrote:So where were we? Let's see: topics currently on the table include: Edward's ongoing ambivalence and/or self-deception; What he is and isn't telling himself and Bella (and why); Whether the risk to Bella's soul still seriously weighs on Edward; Just how much Bella will and wont be losing if she becomes a vampire. Oh, and of course -- if anyone wants to touch this one -- What difference it makes to the story if Bella's change is forced (but not unless you read those 40 inches first. No one wants me to have to come back and say it all over again...!).
Oh no, I don't think we need to go back to the last topic you mentioned, December. That one's been covered. ^^
December wrote: Yes indeed. To say that Edward is ambivalent is the understatement of the year. He is so spectacularly of two minds about loving Bella, and and what loving him will mean for her, that it's a wonder he is still a single functioning personality at all (don't answer that!). On reflection, I can see that Indi was right to see a connection between what Edward isn't telling Bella and what isn't admitting to himself. Yes, it is a conscious decision on his part to shield her from the disagreeable realities of vampire existence; but I imagine that a part of Edward shies away from thinking too much himself about the very things he is keeping from Bella -- because if he didn't how could he live with himself, knowing that she will have to face them for him? He loves her so desperately and would go to the ends of the earth to keep her from harm, and the reality is that becoming a vampire is going to hurt her vilely: more than anything else he could do to her. To look steadily at what a monstrous fate this is for her -- and at the same time accept that this is what he wants (or at least inseparable from what he wants) -- is a near psychological impossibility. At the same time, it is what he wants, passionately. I can't imagine that the thought of his own death motivates him at all -- a nice conversational gambit, Sasha, but surely this gets it the wrong way round? But yes the thought of losing Bella is simply appalling to him. Almost as appalling as the thought of keeping her, and what that will do to her. You see? Complete psychological impasse.
Edward's mentality is completely, 100% stuck between a rock and a hard place.
If having Bella in his life didn't bring him so much joy, he would have been so much better off if he had never met her. I can't imagine how much his choice must torture him!

I think, though, he was fighting a losing battle all along. I completely agree with December when she intuitively noticed the poignancy of that one word Edward said in Twilight: "Bella." That specific moment is the true deciding factor.

I like to keep going back to the theory of several voices in Edward's head. (Pardon the pun) He has the tiny little voice that tries to persuade him that he isn't doomed, he has the vampiric demons that swarm his consciousness, he has his rational, selfless thoughts, and his 17 year old desires.

His rational side lost the fight with his 17 year old side in that moment in Twilight. Oh, his demons did combine with his rational side to gang up on his 17 year old side, while they quietly snuffed out the little voice in New Moon, but the 17 year old side was his strongest--he surrendered his true, internal will to it in Twilight. (Wow...this paragraph sounds very odd reading it a second time. ^^)

Ok, next topic: Why Edward won't admit some of his monsters to himself.

Actually, I'm just reiterating a lot of what December said here. It is probably physically impossible for him to dwell on his darkest demons for fear that they will consume him entirely. If he dwelled on them for too long, he'd never be able to function. He may hate his demons, but more than anything, he fears that what they tell him is actually right. Again, the rational side combines with the demon side to convince him he's a monster, and therefore the "little voice," while deeply rooted in his soul, gets ignored.
The reason the demons don't obliterate the little voice is because--again, this is a subconscious function-- Edward desperately clings to the little voice. His rational and demon sides often win his battles, but he holds onto the little voice for the fear that the demons will win the war.

My my, Edward's mind is a quad-polar complex! I swear!
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unquenchable_thirst34
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Post by unquenchable_thirst34 »

bac wrote: 3. Bella admitted herself that she is afraid of wanting human blood more than wanting Edward. There must be a part of Edward that worries about that too, even if he won't admit it. Will Bella still love him? Will she want the human blood more than she wants to be with him and keep to the Cullen lifestyle? He doesn't know, he can't control that or know for sure. Just like he took a few years off to try another lifestyle, Bella may decide to also.

4. Edward loves Bella and her humanity/blood/skin/heartbeat... When that changes how will that affect their relationship? He doesn't know. She won't blush anymore, her skin won't be warm, he won't be able to listen to her heartbeat. He loves her no matter what, I believe that. However, I have to wonder if he is concerned with how he will miss those things about her. She has brought about human things in him that he says he had lost or forgotten. Will those things be lost again in both of them?

BAC
These are great points, and I especially wanted to remark upon number 4. You mention that part of his reluctance to change Bella stems from his fear of missing those human things about her like blushing, or warmth, that he lost or forgot. I agree, but I also think that maybe some of his reluctance to change her comes from the fact that he's afraid that some of her human memories will fade also. All of the Cullen's remember little from their human lives, or recall them as memories. What if Bella's feelings for Edward become just that, a memory? Changing her into a vampire may end up ruining their relationship, or force them to start all over again, and these options would have devastating consequences for Edward. I think this could go under the topic of Edward's ambivalence. On one hand, he'd love for Bella and himself to be equal and finally begin to do things like kiss without fear of "breaking her", but on the other hand, his fear that her feelings for him might change or become a distant memory, hold him back.

I personally believe that their love will be able to withstand the change, but this could be an insight into Edward's head. Or, a pile of rubbish, either way... :D
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December
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Post by December »

Unquenchable_Thirst34 -- I don't think it's a silly thing to think of. On the other hand....don't you think we have to assume that Edward is confident that Bella's love for him will persist when she becomes a vampire? None of what they are doing would make the slightest sense if there was a possibility that she would stop loving him. It's the only reason she wants to be changed; the only reason he will even begin to contemplate changing her. There are many other things he has grave doubts about: he is terribly afraid that even the strength of their love could not possibly compensate for everything this change will bring down on Bella. But I think that we can be pretty sure that Edward knows that Bella's love isn't something her transformation could alter.... And as I think of it, we know this too, don't we? One of the problems with being a vampire is that you get fixed as you were in the last moments of your human life. Yes, memories eventually fade, but the feelings don't (look at Rosalie). What Bella will carry with her into eternity is what she feels as she looks into Edward's eyes and gives her life to him, for love.

ETA
For anyone interested in the question of vampires' human memories, there was some good discussion earlier on TUGMP.
Last edited by December on Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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TrueLove1
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Post by TrueLove1 »

Well, it is my belief that Edward hasn't told Bella some of the more gruesome details because he knows that it won't make a bit of difference in her decision in the long run. It's not going to change her mind, or the end result. If anything, it will just cause more torment for her during the waiting to act phase of the process. And of course we all know, the last thing that Edward wants to do is to cause her any more pain that what he already has.

I started thinking, over the last day or so, about what Bella really doesn't know about being a vampire and frankly, I can't come up with much. I feel like Bella knows as much as she can know without actually having been there. As a result, I feel that Bella has all of the information that she can have at this point.

Over the course of their relationship Bella has seen (in the Meadow) Edward drop the human fa ade and expose his monstrousness to her. He wanted her to be able to see past the beauty, the grace, the superhuman qualities'"and understand that what she is in proximity with, is in fact scary too. He puts it right in her face and she thinks,' He'd never been less human' or more beautiful.'

She has been the victim of a vampire attack'"on the receiving end of the pain they can inflict. Twice, if you want to count Jasper's attack, and it doesn't change her mind about becoming one. It seems to me that Jasper's attack would affect her stance on becoming a vampire even more than James', because Jasper is a part of Edward's family, and still he could not control himself. And yet, she wants him to know that she doesn't blame him for what happened.

Edward has described to her his years away from Carlisle, when he fed freely on humans. He confesses it to her because he wants her to know what he is, in his own words, he didn't want to have secrets from her. This particular confession to Bella makes me think that there is nothing about being a vampire that he is trying to hide from her (in order to make her do it). And what is Bella's response? She thinks,' I was intrigued, rather than frightened, as I perhaps should have been.' He expects this fact'"that he, himself, has fed on humans to 'repulse' her, but to her it 'sounds reasonable.' She is not deterred by it.

She has seen, firsthand the wild bloodthirst of the the newborns . The uncontrollable need for her blood that Bree had. She's witnessed a bus-load of humans being herded off to their demise in the halls of Volterra (and heard their screams, by the way.) This girl, in my opinion has been exposed to the worst, and the best of what being a vampire means. I don't think she is uninformed at all.


The things that should change her mind'"possible eternal damnation, an unquenchable thirst for human blood, the opportunity to go to college, and fall in love with a human, to sleep, to sleep next to a warm body on a winters night, to eat, to have children and grow old' none of these things, the most relevant things that I can see, dissuade her from wanting to change. Edward has spent the better part of 3 books, not only trying to make her look, but trying to make her really see what she is losing. Becoming a vampire is not her goal, having immortality is not her goal, a life with Edward is her goal. She (and he) now recognizes that the only plausible way for them to be happy is for her to become what he is. I can't personally see that she doesn't have as clear a vision as she can at this point.



December Wrote:
But I think that we can be pretty sure that Edward knows that Bella's love isn't something her transformation could alter.... And as I think of it, we know this too, don't we?
I think you're right December. I feel like SM never meant this to be a question at all and it gets put to rest in my mind with Edward's statements to Bella in Eclipse: ...

"You were worried I wouldn't like you?" he demanded. Then, before I could answer, he was laughing. "Bella, for a fairly intuitive person, you can be so obtuse!".............."But neither of these things matter (her blush, her heartbeat...)"This," he said, taking my face in his hands. "You. That's what I;m keeping. You'll always be my Bella, you'll just be a little more durable."

My fervent opinion is that SM put this scene in Eclipse to put to rest any question about Bella being less appealing to Edward as a vampire. In addition, SM has commented (I will look for the context, but I don't have it right now.) on how Esme was not as upset about her transformation when she realized that Carlisle had changed her because she had fallen in love with him when she was (16?) and he was treating her broken leg.

The implication being that even though she hadn't seen him in years, she was able to adapt to the shocking news that she was a vampire because she carried a love for him already. Through various statements Stephenie has made, as well as the stories told by her characters, we know that vampires fall in love forever and it's a very intense, completely devoted mating. I've always read the Bella and Edward love as something already more closely related to that vampire bonding than a human love. I can only imagine the point we're supposed to take is that (as if it were even possible) Bella and Edward's bond would be even stronger once she changes.
Last edited by TrueLove1 on Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by LisaCullenAZ »

TrueLove1 wrote:
The things that should change her mind'"possible eternal damnation, an unquenchable thirst for human blood, the opportunity to go to college, and fall in love with a human, to sleep, to sleep next to a warm body on a winters night, to eat, to have children and grow old' none of these things, the most relevant things that I can see, dissuade her from wanting to change. Edward has spent the better part of 3 books, not only trying to make her look, but trying to make her really see what she is losing. Becoming a vampire is not her goal, having immortality is not her goal, a life with Edward is her goal. She (and he) now recognizes that the only plausible way for them to be happy is for her to become what he is. I can't personally see that she doesn't have as clear a vision as she can at this point.
Agreed. Those are the reasons I would choose against the bite if I was choosing for her. BUT: I am resigned at this point... in the same way, I think, as Edward... that the best choice for her now is to move forward with the bite. As you say, her only goal is a life with Edward - and he has chosen not to live without her. So it's the only way to go now.

I also agree that for her to actually gain any more insight on the meaning of her choice now can only be possible once she's experienced it. There is nothing left for her to learn about it simply as an outsider. She'll have to DO it and GO THROUGH it to know anything more about it than she already does, I feel.

I can only imagine the point we're supposed to take is that (as if it were even possible) Bella and Edward's bond would be even stronger once she changes.
I don't think it's possible for them to have a much stronger bond with the way things are at the moment. But I feel hopeful that through her change their relationship will shoot up to an even higher love... one that neither can imagine now, I'm sure. But this hope gives me something bright to look forward to post-change. ;)
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llovetwilight
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Post by llovetwilight »

December wrote: On the other hand....don't you think we have to assume that Edward is confident that Bella's love for him will persist when she becomes a vampire? None of what they are doing would make the slightest sense if there was a possibility that she would stop loving him.
Or if he would stop loving her... You're right December- the story would make no sense if either of them suddenly had a change of heart once she became a vampire. I really liked the conversation (part of which TL1 has quoted in her post) B/E have in EC regarding their concerns once she is changed. Bella thinking that she might not be as appealing when she is no longer warm and full of blood and Edward being worried if she is partially motivated by immortality are seemingly natural insecurities that would come up when making a decision of this magnitude.
TrueLove1 wrote:I started thinking, over the last day or so, about what Bella really doesn't know about being a vampire and frankly, I can't come up with much. I feel like Bella knows as much as she can know without actually having been there.

Brainshadow! I have been thinking the same thing... She knows about the transformation (and has even felt the pain of the process thanks to James), she has seen the worst-case scenario of what being a newborn can hold, Met the vampire "Royalty" and seen them in action, seen the hunger for human blood even the most dedicated veggie vamps feel (Jasper at the bday party), witnessed how to make sure a vampire is truly destroyed... By the end of EC (and even before that), there really isn't much in the vampire world that Bella hasn't experienced first hand...

The biggest thing she has yet to actually feel for herself is the bloodlust and that doesn't seem like something that could be truly understood until she experiences it. I think this is the reason why Bella is so determined to bake before the bite... She knows the bloodlust will be a powerful force but the actual first hand experience is unknown to her. She expects the worst and is doing what she can to be prepared for that. The fact that Bella is so practical about this makes me secure in the fact that she has truly weighed out the options and consequences regarding the bite.
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Post by Sasha »

The blood lust, the way SM has described it, has been played down in the books, IMO. I mean, why else would she have to explain it? Half the fanbase thought the blood lust was just an intense ice-cream craving. Therefore, I don't see that Bella knows the extent of it, either. Edward doesn't seem to have much trouble ignoring his blood lust after he decides not to kill Bella. Carlisle is a doctor, and his struggles getting there were never described. Jaz jumps at Bella, sure, but I think what she really needs to know is how much it (apparently) hurts to try to suppress it, not what it looks like when you fail.

I think a little help from Jaz on that part (possibly with prodding from Edward) would help. And maybe a little time with Alice on forgotten memories, and with Carlisle on overcoming the blood lust. Yes, Bella already knows the theory behind this stuff. But what she needs to know is the feeling. *That's* the dirty side of vampirism... how it feels to never sleep, never eat (food), slaughter animals, always live in the dark (or at least she shade), never be able to truly be yourself, and how she's going to end up spending the rest of eternity with the same seven people, and nobody else (hopefully).
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llovetwilight
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Post by llovetwilight »

Sasha wrote:The blood lust, the way SM has described it, has been played down in the books, IMO.

Yes, Bella already knows the theory behind this stuff. But what she needs to know is the feeling. *That's* the dirty side of vampirism... how it feels to never sleep, never eat (food), slaughter animals, always live in the dark (or at least she shade), never be able to truly be yourself, and how she's going to end up spending the rest of eternity with the same seven people, and nobody else (hopefully).
For me, Jasper fighting his brothers to get at Bella was a very large indicator as to how powerful bloodlust is. I can only imagine the guilt and shame he felt after he was back to normal... The urge to feed must be excruciating in order to make you want to eat your would-be sister-in-law :wink:

As for theory vs. practice... I think that is part of the beauty of the story we are being told. Bella has an extensive knowledge of all things vampire. Even so, she won't truly understand what it is like to be a vampire until she is one... no matter how well informed she is, first-hand knowledge is always more enlightening.

Her choice to become a Cullen is very much a leap of faith- faith that her love for Edward will outweigh the many hardships that come along with becoming a vampire...
I'm really glad Edward didn't kill you. Everything's so much more fun with you around."- Emmett to Bella, EC

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Post by Cocoa »

I'm alittle confused. I believe Bella clearly states that she understands that Edward's thirst is painful. She clearly states it in the first chapter of Eclipse.

Also the entire purpose of Bree was to show Bella the difficulties in surpressing the thirst. There is no doubt in my mind that Bella fully understands the difficulties she is about to endure. I can understand if we are uncomfortable with her being ok with that. But we can't negate her knowledge. She has witnessed the darkest sides of a vampire's life. She understands what she is "bitting off" (sorry couldn't resist), and still chooses to do so.

This was the entire point of Eclipse. To show us that she is knowledgeable about everything she will be giving up as well as everything she will be condeming herself to.

Thus the overriding theme of choice in the book and the reason for this thread.
The urge to feed must be excruciating in order to make you want to eat your would-be sister-in-law
Actually thats urge wouldn't be to hard for me to understand. LOL KIDDING...sort of.

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Post by llovetwilight »

Cocoa wrote:
The urge to feed must be excruciating in order to make you want to eat your would-be sister-in-law
Actually thats urge wouldn't be to hard for me to understand. LOL KIDDING...sort of.
Heehee!!! Ok- I'll rephrase... The urge to feed must be excruciating in order to make Jasper want to eat his would-be sister-in-law... :wink:
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