SMDND-Exploring the Theme of "Choice"

General discussion about the Twilight Series Universe.
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Post by Forevertopaz17 »

Visitor wrote:
"Look after my heart, I've left it with you." Edward Cullen, Eclipse.

Maybe those words were not the romantically cheesy ramblings of a besotted vampire. Maybe it was a real honest to goodness plea.
Wow. That whole post was very good. But that hit me. You're exactly right, and that's extremely sad. :?
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Post by Sorghey »

Visitor wrote:But in Eclipse, all of that changed the moment Bella stumbled upon her Plan B. In so doing, my opinion is that Bella's Plan B left Edward vulnerable and thus, not empowered by his love for her. He is still forced/compelled/bound to love her for all eternity with no other romantic options at his disposal. While Bella can at any moment choose to take what's behind door number TWO.
I absolutely see your point, and I agree--to an extent. From the outside looking in, his vulnerability is very sad. Poor Edward became vulnerable the day Bella ("an insignificant little girl"--yeah right!) came to Forks. And like you said, he knew the consequences when he made his choice to love her. But maybe from Edward's perspective, even after Eclipse, he doesn't feel doomed. At this point he has the courage to allow Bella to be happy with Jacob, if that's what she wants. In this he could find some measure of happiness by knowing she is happy.

I guess I look at it like this: Any heartbreak, any pain, any vulnerability is a tool to better ourselves, if we choose to let it. That requires a great amount of faith, though. I think Edward possesses enough faith to know this, should his outcome with Bella fail. Thank goodnees for all the good faith seeds Carlisle planted in Edward. Now, they finally have to sprout.
Visitor wrote:If you are bound by love in a way that your mate is not, can that love ever truly be equal?
This makes me wonder if their love for each other was ever really equal to begin with? As long as Bella is human, I don't think their love ever could truly be equal; Bella very well could change her mind years down the road. It's not until she becomes a vampire (if she so chooses) that their love can be considered equal. And at this point, she will be unable to fall out of love with him (also a choice by consequence of becoming a vampire).
Visitor wrote:"Look after my heart, I've left it with you." Edward Cullen, Eclipse.
Maybe those words were not the romantically cheesy ramblings of a besotted vampire. Maybe it was a real honest to goodness plea.
I had never looked at it like that before. Good observation.
Ilovetwilight wrote:for my own sanity, I must proclaim that although I think Edward is a better vampire for having been involved with Bella, I certainly DO NOT wish to find out what happens if she were to leave him!!!
Aside from all my ramblings about faith and growing, I think there would be more than a broken plasma screen TV if this were to happen. But my fingers are crossed that it will not get to that point. :shock:
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Bella's Choice

Post by dsolo »

Wow, Visitor made a lot of good points about the whole Bella/Jacob thing being fueled by Edward's presence. One point she forgot about, if the Cullens had not come to Forks, Billy would have been visiting more often, and Jacob would have driven him. Bella had already thought that Jacob was easy to talk to when she met him at the beach. They might have become friends, but it would have been a much slower path to love than with Edward (assuming that she survived being crushed by Tyler's van).

I think that Bella and Edward do have more in common. Remember the teacher's thought in Biology that it's a good thing that the 2 smart ones were lab partners. There were numerous comments when Bella was talking to Mike or other human students that she didn't have as much in common with them. She was not attracted to the generically popular Mike Newton, the helpful chess club type Eric, or the jock Tyler. Her first real interaction with Edward was in Biology when they were trying to outdo each other in the lab. So, when Edward finally looks past the scent and closed mind, his first impression is that she's intelligent. He's spent decades listening to trite teen concerns and being smarter than all of them, and here is someone who's intelligence he respects. Many people criticize Bella for being emotional or whiny, but I think she's just a very caring person, like Esme. Bella was never going to choose any of the other guys at that school. If there had been no Edward there, she might have dated casually in high school, but she probably would have moved to Florida given the opportunity.
Bella would have probably not dated seriously until college. I think that the comment that she is attracted to other misfits is dead on. Forks high school would be too small of a pool for her to find the right misfit for her, without Edward. And despite the fact that there were 3 good looking vampire males at the table, she focused immediately on Edward.

People are able to get vibes from other people (or resonances), and they either attract or repel them. Some people are more sensitive to this than others. Bella seems to be someone who picks up on those. This led her inexorably to Edward. Even after the first Biology class, she finds herself looking for him and thinking about him. He is fascinating and frustrating at the same time. It's less moth to a flame and more of a magnetic attraction. They are right for each other, and they feel that pull. No matter how much they fight it.

Edward may have felt some twinges of uncertainty, but after her trip to Italy, he shouldn't have. Bella even said that she would go to Italy alone to prevent the Volturi from harming the Cullens. Her main concern was, and always is, Edward. She left Jacob with barely a second thought to save Edward. When the situation was reversed, and Jacob was in pain, she argued with Edward about going to see him, then finally went. She didn't drop everything and rush to his side.

After he becomes aware of her reaction to his leaving in NM, he should never have doubted her choice. She loved Jacob, but to paraphrase Edward, you compare a tree to the whole forest.
When Bella and Edward are quoting to each other from Wuthering Heights, the quotes are about being life and existence for each other. They are quite literally consumed by love for each other. Bella's love for Edward is already of the intensity of vampiric bonding.

Good thing y'all don't mind long posts.
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Bella's attraction

Post by dsolo »

My other post was getting too long, so I decided to break this topic out. Other people have commented on what Bella and Edward have in common, vs Bella and Jacob.

What do Alice and Jasper have in common? She's a vivacious mindreading freak and he's a scary vampire warrior who controls emotions? They complement each other. The provide something the other needs.

The same is true of Edward and Bella. They have both been complete in themselves, but also lonely. Edward has spent so much time being the point man for his family, and Bella has been putting her life on hold to take care of her mother, and now her father. He escapes into music, and she into books. Now, he suddenly is confronted with a mind that he can't penetrate. Something different after 90 years of listening to all the trite, petty concerns of teenagers. He has to actually talk to her, and discover that she is a caring, self sacrificing individual. Later, she protects his family by keeping her word, which adds to the mystery.

Bella, on the other hand, sees someone with as much difficulty fitting in as she has, but for reasons she can't discern. He also presents a mystery. Bella is very intuitive, and he's an interesting diversion in a place she was prepared to hate. There have been constant references to Charlie never getting over Renee, and that Bella is like Charlie. Like Edward, I think Bella is an all or nothing kind of person. Once she's in love, she won't be diverted. Jacob was a life preserver, but Edward is her life. Perhaps, it is that complete devotion that makes this saga so compelling. The majority of us dream of this, but in reality, I think it woud be hard to live with this level of passion and devotion. It's a good thing that vampires can't have children, because this kind of all consuming passion wouldn't leave any left over for them.
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Post by ouisa »

Hi. I hope y'all won't mind me jumping in on the thread. I'm always quite intimidated by y'all. Which is silly because probably this thread is the one place I would truly enjoy. Choice is my favorite of all of Stephenie's themes.

I have to start with a tad of a disclaimer. I'm well known to be a Jake girl and I know that colors my opinions. But December and I have such great conversations, she's really opened my eyes so I hope to learn from all of you and hopefully not make you too uncomfortable.

I've been thinking a lot recently about the concepts of choice and being bound. "I didn't have a choice" is a justification that seems to so easily slip out. But the more I study and ponder the more I am convinced there is choice in everything. So often the answer really is "I don't have a choice I LIKED" or probably truer still "I don't have a choice that comes with consequences I'm willing to accept." More so I think that when we feel bound, without choice we forget that we always have a choice how we are to react to the situation and what it is we will do next with our lives.

Many years ago I became very ill. It's an illness I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life. And nothing I do will ever make me well again. I have medications that masks most of the symptoms and I live a pretty normal life as long as I take them every day. But everyday I am faced with how to still have the things I want in my life while being sick. I can't explain the depths of how much I hate the situation. And I can't change the irrevocable change that was made on my body. So like Edward, I'm bound by this. And yeah somedays I think it dooms me but most days I'm empowered by it. Because most days I choose how I feel, how I think and how I react. I choose what I am going to do next and choose to live with grace and dignity. I choose to live.

I look at Edward's situation in a similar light (although I think lovesick is a much better illness.) So yes, Edward is irrevocably bound to love Bella. It's actually "set in (the) stone" that his brain (or heart) was turned into when he became a vampire. And yeah Edward has NO CONTROL over what Bella is going to choose (and come on we know she's going to choose him.) But Edward can choose to be empowered by his irrevocable love for her. Some of my very favorite Edward moments in the series are when he does that. In the meadow when he choose to let her have her wedding her way (and pounces on her....oh distracted) he's so empowered. He's choosing to be a good man, one that is acting truly open to love and all the danger that brings and it's beautiful.

i guess what I'm trying to say is that the empowerment comes from the freedom of being bound by other people's choices. It's like the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Well Edward is only doomed if he chooses to be.

(now please don't throw stuff at me)

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Post by December »

Golly. So much to catch up with here! I've been away much too long. I think I'm going to have to work my way backwards...
Ouisa wrote: More so I think that when we feel bound, without choice we forget that we always have a choice how we are to react to the situation and what it is we will do next with our lives....

i guess what I'm trying to say is that the empowerment comes from the freedom of being bound by other people's choices. It's like the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Well Edward is only doomed if he chooses to be.
This is exactly what Carlisle says about the life that he and the rest have chosen to lead, isn't it? That it's a matter of doing the best you can with what you've been dealt, not merely in the selfish sense of getting what you can out of the situation, but in the sense of doing what's right. Which certainly the Cullens are moving heaven and earth to try and do, in the face of phenomenal difficulty. In that sense they have precisely "chosen not to be doomed" -- doomed to be soulless killers, to be ruled by their violent instincts, to lose hold of their humanity -- to relinquish their ability to decide how they will live.

This much we've discussed a lot already. But I really like your thought that it's not just the compulsion to drink blood that Stephenie's vampires are determined not to let enslave them. Vampires are trapped in other ways -- like their inability to move on once they fall in love. And as you say, Edward recognizes this compulsion and nonetheless finds scope for choosing within it. Too much scope, many people might say. The miseries of NM -- and probably EC -- would never have happened, if Edward had been unable choose to let Bella go. But Edward "chose not to see himself as doomed": taking comfort in the thought that he could chose what was best for Bella even if it meant hurting himself (as he is already insisting back in the cafeteria in TW!).

Doomed to suffer yes -- and we glimpse the terrible price he pays in NM for the choice he makes (and there are moments in Ec when he is surely suffering almost as much -- that's part of the point of TGDS from Stephenie's point of view: to make Edward suffer). But he suffers by his own choosing. In this sense he was already free -- undoomed -- from the moment he realized he was strong enough to put Bella's welfare first, whatever it cost him. Free from the compulsion to kill her (as he finds in the meadow) and also from the compulsion to keep her.

Happily for us, he comes to the conclusion that the right choice for Bella is also the one which is (selfishly) best for him (one of the obvious reasons -- and I think Stephenie says as much in one of her FAQs -- why it takes him so long to consider the possibility!). The Author in charge of this universe is a merciful one: the net of circumstance closes tighter still around the poor boy until in the end, giving Bella up -- sparing her the life of a vampire -- is removed from the set of acceptable choices open to him. Bella's own choices truly set Edward free.

Or so we are led to believe, anyway, at the close of Eclipse....
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Post by SparklingDiamond »

Ouisa wrote:
Well Edward is only doomed if he chooses to be.
I completely agree with this statement. In fact, I feel like the majority of the choices that led to the relationship that Edward and Bella now share are a result of Edward's choices. He chose to save her from the van. He chose to come back to Forks. He chose to continue seeing Bella even when he could forsee the consequences for both of them. He also chose to leave in NM. The cards were in his hands the entire time. Bella was so smitten with Edward, I doubt she could have chosen to leave him. Edward and Bella are together because Edward allowed it to happen. He chose to take the risk. He chose empowerment.

Now.... When he thought that Bella had died, he had a taste of what that doom felt like. But, he wasn't going to sit there and be doomed forever. He was going to do something about it. At this point, knowing that he couldn't live without her, couldn't live with the heartache of not having her on this earth. He made another choice. He chose to end his "doom," or rather, have the Volturi end it for him. Again, the cards were in his hands.

As Sorghey put it, Edward used to be a lonely brooding man boy. He was depressed because of the cards that he was dealt. However, after experiencing what life could be, I don't think he can ever go back to that type of exisistence. He's been empowered by his love for Bella in that he realizes he does have a hand in his own destiny. No matter what, good or bad, he's in control of his fate. To me, that is empowerment.
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Post by ouisa »

SparklingDiamond wrote:. Bella was so smitten with Edward, I doubt she could have chosen to leave him.
I know I'm veering off a tad from the question with this but this sentence has me thinking.

When I posted earlier about people saying "I don't have a choice." I didn't even realize I was in a way referring to Bella. Bella says over and over in Eclipse that she doesn't have a choice, that she cannot be without Edward. How sad for her. How sad that she too can't choose empowerment, to truly own her choices and make a true stand that she is choosing Edward. Nothing is forcing her with him, no external fate, no imprints :roll:....she's choosing.

I've had many conversations with December about what I would like for Bella in Breaking Dawn. I keep telling December I want the big scene with a powerful vampire Bella (TOBTRTA) finally powerful and equal to Edward. But maybe I don't need that after all. Perhaps I just need an empowered Bella, owning her choice to be with Edward. Finally choosing life (or really death) with Edward instead of just going with the flow bound by fate. Maybe taking a stand, making a choice and dying to be with Edward really will be enough empowerment for Bella and will actually make them equals. (ducks crowbars) I even approaching swoony?

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Post by futuremrscullen »

Well Bella did have a choice. She knew she loved Jacob. She had to choose which she loved more. Although it wasn't really much of a choice (since she so easily picked Edward). But the heart wants what the heart wants. The choice is simple when you're that in love.
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Post by mandustries »

Hello all, December just introduced me to this thread. I was getting wordy in The Great Debate ... It's nice to know that long posts are welcomed here! :)
Visitor wrote:The knowledge that Bella has a Plan B while he does not has to scare him sometimes. It would scare me. Sure Edward chose to love Bella. He made the choices necessary to get him to the point of love. So technically, he should have to live with the consequences (whatever they may be) of falling in love with a human. He knew at the start of TW how fickle human love was. He said so himself on numerous occasions. So Bella's Plan B, her other soul mate, the idea of it . . . should not be surprising.
In order to jump into the thick of it all, I'm going to try to focus on this quote from Visitor. I should preface this with saying that I'm on Team Edward, but I can understand Jacob's draw.

My innate human selfishness comes out when talking about Bella's "Plan B." Why? I cannot look past the possibility of Jacob imprinting on someone else down the road. Even if it occurs 50 years from the time they get together, and they have the white picket fence and little Jacob-Bella babies life together, it still could. And the possibility of this makes me afraid, and would make me terrified were I in Bella's shoes.

Jacob tells Bella, and many of you have touched on this in this thread, that choosing him would be keeping her humanity (essentially). However, this humanity comes with hurt, pain and loss. This humanity comes with the option of losing your soul-mate to another. Sure, humanity comes with good food, having children and growing old, but something inside of me just can't put that above having someone being eternally and utterly dedicated to you.

(I know that's not quite what Visitor was talking about, but she did bring up the idea of Plan B.)

I just wrote a whole bunch about Bella's choices between the Plan A and Plan B ... but then I realized it was turning into a "Who's Better" thread, and I didn't want to start my time here out that way. So, instead, I pose to you something to think about.

I just started re-reading Twilight, as I tore through TW, NM and Ec in a record three nights. I promised myself I would take it a little slower this time and think about things more, which is probably due to the Lex's influence. :wink: In the very first or second chapter (I'll post the exact quote later when I have my book within arm's reach) Bella thinks about how she's never fit in anywhere. Yet, she immediately finds a family with the Cullens, even though she=human and they=vampire. I believe, and even though SM doesn't say anything in particular about this, that this sense of finally belonging has a huge influence on Bella's choices. Humans tend to latch on to things that they find comfort in, and after 18 years, I'm certain Bella would find comfort in the fact that she'd found a family, not just a lover, to belong to.

I really hope this ties into what y'all have been talking about in the last 50+ pages ... *fingers crossed*

As for Edward's choices, he obviously had one at the beginning of Twilight, even though I'm sure it would have felt like death had he not chosen what he did. He chose to come back from Alaska to be with Bella. Someone here mentioned the "If I'm going to hell, I might as well go all the way" earlier (Sorry, I can't recall who it was). The choice I'm sure what hard. On the one side, he had: Be in love with Bella, which could have ended up with: She's in love with me too, or she's not. On the other: Live life of solitude, being broody and depressed for ever more because I stayed true to my vampire ways and didn't bring Bella into my difficult life.

Even though he made a difficult choice, I think it was the best (and possibly easiest) choice for him to make. Easy in the sense that it's easier to give yourself over to love than to fight it (like Bella with Jacob in Ec?). Hard in the sense that he was essentially giving the rest of his life to someone who could stomp it to pieces in return. Luckily for him, it turned out for the better.

I think that since it turned out for the better in the first place, Edward would never go back on that choice. Vampires don't seem to waffle. I think he's perfectly satisfied with the few "moments" of happiness he got, that even if things don't work out in the end, he would think he'd made the right choice.
Last edited by mandustries on Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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