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Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:15 pm
Truelove1 -- I know you have written about this before, the thought that Edward doesn't know what is in Bella's head, that all he sees is a girl weeping after breaking off her relationship with another boy. And how could he know that it is her humanity she is weeping for, and not Jake? Which makes perfect sense...and yet, I'm not sure I think this is really what is in Edward's mind. I think Edward has always known what the stakes are for Bella in loving Jake, just as he knew before she did that it was possible for her to love Jake. Edward has been waiting for Bella to realize what staying with him will mean, has been pushing her to realize it, has indeed been in some ways willing her into Jake's arms precisely so she will realize it. So to me, when he says "are you sure?" he knows exactly what he is asking her. And what her answer means.
What it means is of course -- for the first time -- informed consent, or rather affirmation, of her desire to be with him and all that that will mean. It is the first time that Bella has said "I want to be with you" in a way that makes it possible for Edward to accept it. She has said "I do" in the only way that matters.
Which is why, suddenly, it seems to him that there is no point in waiting any longer. They have made their vows, and putting the awful moment off serves no purpose.
This is why I can read Eclipse and the pain I feel for Edward has nothing to do with his being in a love triangle with another boy. Because it is Bella's loss he is suffering over, and his own conflicting desires to have her, monster though he feels himself to be -- but also to set her free. I don't feel torn up by what Bella does, because Edward doesn't. Well, of course he suffers over it. But he suffers over it willingly. More important, he doesn't ever feel what she is doing is a betrayal, or even a negation of their love.
And this is not because he is weak, or passive, but because he is so strong and self-sacrificing. Nothing less than Bella's having gone to the very edge, in trying to find a human life she could be content with, would ever really reconcile him to keeping her: "the most selfish thing I will ever do". Until he knows absolutely, beyond the last whisper of a doubt, that Bella can only be happy with him, Edward will never be completely reconciled to taking Bella's life. Of course the infatuated 17-year old boy in him continues to fight for her -- but there is another part of him that is all but pushing her into Jake's arms, because he wants her happiness more than anything else, and he doesn't trust himself enough to believe that life with him could be that highest happiness for Bella. Not least because he wants it so badly: like any properly analytical and self-aware person, he is on his guard against believing the things he knows he desperately wants to believe.
And he is right to be afraid for her. I think Bella is afraid too, as the reality of her choice becomes starker. Whether consciously or not, one of the things that draws her to Jacob is his humanity: he is her security, her refuge from the terrifying unnatural future that she has hurled herself towards. Some part of her, it seems to me, is struggling (unconsciously) to find some escape from the enormity of the choice she is making. She could choose Jacob -- and friends and family and home and children, growing up, growing old. She could choose life. To me it is so understandable that she would (unconsciously) want to. But in fact, she can't. Precisely because her love for Edward is so irrevocable, so permanent, so indelible, so untarnishable that she cannot turn away from it. She chooses Edward, and death. People have complained that they wished Bella seemed happier at the end of Eclipse about her choice, about Edward and the wedding -- instead of still mourning Jacob. But I don't think the melancholy tone of the last scene in Eclipse is about her grief for Jacob -- it is about recognizing, finally and fully, what she is going to do for love of Edward: give up her memories, her past, her body, her life, to be reborn as his. And this is why in the meadow he suddenly wants to overturn all their careful plans and get the business over with, as soon as possible, today, this instant. As she says, she has really truly chosen her life, and she is ready to start living it. Between now and then there is only the awfulness of waiting and he can't bear to watch it.
I agree with you that to me this was so much not about two boys and a girl, and so much about choosing between life and death...or un-death or whatever. That is not to say that Bella was using Jake, that it could have been anyone -- he is her soul-mate, the person she would have married if Edward had never returned from Alaska that first day. But her choice is really between Edward and her humanity, and Jake is in some way external to -- I won't say incidental to -- that choice.
You might say, why couldn't losing her best friend be good enough, why wouldn't that represent a deep enough loss to put in the other side of the scales from Edward? Why does Jake have to kiss Bella? Why does their relationship have to go exactly where her relationship with Edward has gone? But if it hadn't, it wouldn't have been a genuine alternative, the promise of a complete, fulfilled human future, with no "someday-you'll-meet-someone-else" about it. And it wouldn't have left both Bella and Edward certain that there is no other way forward but through the flames.
Edited to brush away typographical creepy-crawlies.
Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:39 pm
Yes - how interesting! An elective
imprinting. You choose whom to imprint upon, and then you are forever changed.
I believe that "compulsion" within the context of Bella/Edward is more like inspiration, rather than inevitability.
And I always say "Bedward"... but maybe I'm wrong.
Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 9:45 pm
December wrote:I hate and I love. Why do I do this, perhaps you ask?
I do not know, but I feel it happening, and I suffer.
Ah... makes a lot more sense now. Poetic style is really different than prose style, eh?
Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 10:07 pm
There is too much to catch up on in here! So...I skipped the last three entries...okay, actually, I read LisaCullen's but only b/c it was so short, I mean, I have to finish my trig homework sometime, you know? Sorry. Anyway.
There's so much to comment on! To some degree, I definitely agree with all of you on the whole Bella "choosing" Edward thing. I know that ever since people began complaining about Bella's statement that she "didn't have a choice" I've been doing a lot of thinking...first of all, (because this is fiction) I choose to believe that Bella and Edward are soul mates- no matter which
world they are living in (so, again, even though they were born in seperate time periods, since it's fiction, I choose to believe that they were "written in the stars" as someone said earlier). So, that belief in turn means that I can't accept that Bella and Jake are soul mates in any sort of world. Am I saying he never could have made her happy? Definitely not. Had she never met Edward
, Jake could have made Bella the happiest woman in the world. But Bella did meet Edward- Bella found her soul mate; now nothing can be the same and no one can ever be good enough, not even sweet old Jake. When she said she didn't have a choice, I look at it the way we break down the choices of hypothetical situations in economics: realistically, Bella did
have a choice. There is always a choice. But the alternative to choosing Edward was too painful, so ridiculous that she could not seriously consider it.
So basically, I don't think I'm saying anything new. And really, I'm saying what a lot of you have said, minus the supernatural aspect of B/E's relationship.
Maybe I'll have something interesting to say later...by the way, it's great to have a board like this again. I missed those discussions we had about Twilight once most of you left the Ed/Bella Relationship thread. And all of my friends think I'm crazy to analyze it so much (which is not to say they don't love the series. they totally do. but they still think I'm crazy) So I'm pretty excited about this! Thanks for giving me a heads up!
Posted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 11:08 pm
Wow, so many wonderful posts...
LisaCullenAZ wrote:Loosing Edward would cost Bella her soul. More so than becoming a vampire would...
Absolutely. I think they found this out in NM. Losing each other is worse than death...
NoWorries wrote:Thus, by excessive rationalization, Bella can say that she never had a choice because she'd already made it by allowing herself the behaviors that made her fall in love with Edward. After that, I'm okay with some semblance of irrevocability (vampire-love is forever, as, apparently, is Bella-love for Edward) because it elevates Bella/Edward above the realm of purely fatalistic romance -- as in imprinting.
Long story short (and in Bella-talking-to-Jake-oversimplification): Bella and Edward chose to imprint on one another.
I really like how you have explained this, it makes perfect sense. Choosing to love, but also that love being as strong and incontestable as imprinting is. Best of both worlds.
December wrote:I think Edward has always known what the stakes are for Bella in loving Jake, just as he knew before she did that it was possible for her to love Jake. Edward has been waiting for Bella to realize what staying with him will mean, has been pushing her to realize it, has indeed been in some ways willing her into Jake's arms precisely so she will realize it. So to me, when he says "are you sure?" he knows exactly what he is asking her. And what her answer means.
Upon the first (and second) read of EC, I felt very much like Truelove1, in that I was very dissapointed with Bella having said so many things to Jake that I wished she would have (also) said to Edward. Now, however, I am starting to see things more like December. Perhaps it is just becaue this is what I would rather believe, but I think that both Edward and Bella understood what Jake represented in the "did you make the right choice" conversation.
December wrote:And this is not because he is weak, or passive, but because he is so strong and self-sacrificing. Nothing less than Bella's having gone to the very edge, in trying to find a human life she could be content with, would ever really reconcile him to keeping her: "the most selfish thing I will ever do".
EXACTLY! There really is no room for doubt on either end here... Bella's choice is set, and Edward can rest assured tht she is 100% informed as to what that choice really means.
: I've never seen a post from you before... Wow, you are great!!! And I LOVE your location
Hi! good to see you (well, your posts anyways!)
Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:08 am
AMOR EST VITAE ESSENTIA!
Love is the essence of life!
I am afraid Pretty Words
might be too smart for me... Economics I can handle, but Trig? No thank you!
I really did like the economic example. It puts a rational twist on an otherwise emotional decision. Which helps those readers who don't feel like one should base a decision soley on the heart. I'm
not one of them (I'm a romantic through and through) but I've read posts from many that have trouble with those types of things. To that I always say, "love isn't rational."
AMOR ORDINEM NESCIT!
Bella did have a choice. There is always a choice. But the alternative to choosing Edward was too painful, so ridiculous that she could not seriously consider it.
makes it sound as though Bella is
being rational by choosing Edward! Because she is not able to adequetly rationalize choosing Jacob instead. Which I like. As I said before, it puts a rational twist on an otherwise emotional decision. Cool.
Oh and NoWorries
this one's for you:
ASTRA INCLINANT, NON NECESSITANT
Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 10:29 am
LisaCullenAZ wrote:ASTRA INCLINANT, NON NECESSITANT
My latin professor's final words to me, sophomore year:
"Corinth is not for everyone."
That said -- The stars incline, they do not determine -- I LOVE it! And, I shall now put it in my sigline, with most gracious thank'ees.
Thank'ees also to Ilovetwilight
, as well as all who enjoy my location. It Shan't Ever Change.
Per PM convos with December
, I think we should tackle the issue of Edward's dazzling. I know it's been taken up in another thread, but given the discussion going on regarding choice and informed consent (which I love), we should probably deal with how this affects her "choice".
I've heretofore been firmly in the camp that Bella is not so dazzled by Edward as to render her choiceless -- or even to the point that her decisions are in any way compromised. Even though she does find herself unsettled and "dazzled" by him, she's always aware of this strange effect he has on her which, to me, suggests that she maintains an intellectual/rational appreciation and, therefore, is not *truly* dazzled. At least, not in such a way that I think (as I mentioned) it affects her ability to make choices regarding behaviors which ultimately lead to twue wuv.
Because of this rational appreciation ("I'm aware that I'm dazzled by Edward") I'd submit that, while Edward certainly dazzles everyone else to the point of incomprehensibility (self included; a hum-a-na hum-a-na), what Bella is really experiencing when around the dear boy is the inclination of the stars, as it were.
This is, however, a very shades-of-grey concept, so I'm interested in the extent to which everyone thinks the dazzling relates to the concept of Bella's choosing Edward.
Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:04 am
Yes, well as you say -- everyone falls in love with Edward. He's the perfect distillation of romantic attractiveness. And on top of that, he has all those Vampire powers of seduction: the mesmerizing gaze, the dazzling effect he has on Bella merely by breathing on her (I'm sorry, but I just can't write the words 'vampire breath' without getting the giggles -- it's like something the manufacturers of Listerine want you to worry about...). So I've always been a little bothered by the thought: yes, it may have been written in the stars that of all the girls in the universe, Bella was the one Edward was waiting for. But for Bella to fall for Edward just looks obvious. I mean, look at this website: seething with females who think Edward is divine. In fact you have to look really hard (or at least in the right places) to find anyone who is immune to his charms -- it's almost a badge of honour.
And yet we want to believe that it is Edward himself, some essence beyond his perfections, that Bella has fallen for. And not just beyond his physical perfections, but also beyond the completely incredible moral perfections which Bella remarks on when talking to Jessica ('it's not just his looks -- the boy behind the face is totally incredible too,' or words to that effect) As Firefly and others have pointed out on Ed-Con, even Edward's flaws are too perfect -- a sort of graceful self-doubt, selflessness taken to an almost destructive degree, just the right degree of arrogance to make up the ideal romantic hero. And then there are the supernatural gifts thrown in: grace and speed and strength -- and a little knack for mind-reading.... Oh and immortality, to go with the angel's face.
Can one separate the exquisite, experienced, immortal vampire Bella falls for from page one with from the boy Edward really is? I know that if you poke it too hard this question comes apart at the seams or turns into an annoyingly abstract question -- how can we ever separate our essence (the true ourselves we would like people to love) from our attributes? But in the case of a vampire, with all of the vampire's preternatural endowments, it seems a question worth asking. If anyone and everyone would fall in love with Edward given half a chance -- and that is certainly implied in TW -- is Bella special only because Edward returns her love? Do we need for him to do a Mr. Rochester (go blind, lose an arm etc.) before we can be certain about the depth of her love? Does he need to become human? Does he need to become real?
As I have said before, I do think the language Stephenie uses in that pivotal conversation with Jacob points to an awareness that the reason Bella can never get over loving Edward is: he's not real. He belongs to the realm of the impossible, of fiction, of creatures whom the rational world does not admit of. If Bella lived in the sane world we live in, she could marry Jacob and be happy. Her problem is that she doesn't. So on some level I think there is a problem in seeing Bella and Edward as two lovers particularly fated for one another, in the ordinary sense. Anyone would be helpless if a divine character like Edward fell in love with them. And this is certainly what Bella feels, all the time -- there's nothing special about me; whereas anyone in their right mind would fall for Edward.
But how about this: I say anyone would fall for Edward, but then again, faced with the reality, who but Bella would have the hardihood to look that danger in the face and say, I don't care. Edward observes that although vampires can make themselves very attractive to their prey, nature has give the prey defences as well: in general humans sense something alarming about vampires and shy away from them. One of the things that strikes Edward right away about Bella is that she doesn't seem to have the sense to shy away from him, even though he has come within millimetres of killing her.
And even at the point where he has given in and started cultivating Bella's friendship, Edward is in fact extremely careful not to seduce her with his vampire allure -- you get the sense that he is constantly trying to keep her at a distance, and not dazzle her into falling in love with him. Of course he is very mixed up about this, because he is in love with her, but still, when she admits to her feelings for him in the car on the way back from Port Angeles, his first response is dismay: I don't want to hear that you feel this way. It's ok for me to suffer over you, but you are not to fall in love with me. So in this sense, she has certainly not succumbed to his vampire seductions. And it is Bella, totally Bella, to think to herself: this boy probably wants to kill me, but I don't care -- I love him more than life itself.
So that even if Edward's appeal is universal, it is only Bella who feels it so strongly that she will give up everything for him. Does this absolve her of having merely been dazzled? Not exactly. But her extreme susceptibility to Edward's dazzlement (and I mean here his dazzling persona as a whole, not the smouldering eyes thing, which as someone rightly pointed out, she is aware of and learning to manage) is something remarkable in itself. In that sense, yes she has fallen for him in a way that no one else would; her love for him transcends all ordinary bounds of vampire allure.
Does this make any sense at all?
Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:14 am
Ooooh. I love this topic.
I said this once somewhere else but I got eaten alive: Is it really dazzling if you know about it and you allow
it to happen?
But I guess last time I used the word "manipulation" instead of "dazzling" - and I got all sorts of examples thrown at me about the sad truth surrounding many mistreated and controlled women knowing they were being abused and still allowing it because they felt powerless in the situation. That's NOT what I'm talking about with this... just so you know
I liked the take (she put it so much better than I did) given by TrueLove1
on this... let me see if I can find it. Be back soon!
Oh and by the way:
That said -- The stars incline, they do not determine -- I LOVE it! And, I shall now put it in my sigline, with most gracious thank'ees.
My pleasure... I thought it fit perfectly!
Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:44 am
Truelove1 -- I know you have written about this before, the thought that Edward doesn't know what is in Bella's head, that all he sees is a girl weeping after breaking off her relationship with another boy. And how could he know that it is her humanity she is weeping for, and not Jake? Which makes perfect sense...and yet, I'm not sure I think this is really what is in Edward's mind.
I just wish she had come out with it so we would know for sure. It's something that has been in the back of my mind ever since those conversations (on some other thread) about Bella spending so much time with Jake at the end going through her declarations and explanations, and not giving Edward equal time. Maybe that's just it though. Why would Stephenie essentially repeat the conversation with Edward? It just wouldn't be good writing.
Edward has been waiting for Bella to realize what staying with him will mean, has been pushing her to realize it,
I agree 100%. It's what his "delaying her" has been all about. He knows the stakes because he has had to live with them, and see his family members suffer because of what they are, for a century. He tells her several times that she doesn't know what she is asking for. In the end he can be absolutely sure that she does completely understand her options and in turn what she is losing; she owns the decision. She has considered everything.
I agree with you that to me this was so much not about two boys and a girl, and so much about choosing between life and death...or un-death or whatever. That is not to say that Bella was using Jake, that it could have been anyone -- he is her soul-mate, the person she would have married if Edward had never returned from Alaska that first day. But her choice is really between Edward and her humanity, and Jake is in some way external to -- I won't say incidental to -- that choice
Exactly, yes. When I first read Eclipse, I couldn't look past the excruciating details SM provided in the physical interactions between B/J. I was so caught up in being taken aback (I didn't feel that the plot progression in the prior two books had set this possibility up properly) that I could not see the point that SM was trying to get across. The larger theme being that, as you say, Jake is external to the choice but is the catalyst for Bella coming to terms with the choice.
Off to Boston for the weekend folks. Be back Sunday!