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December
Banging out dents with Tyler
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Post by December »

nihil bonum sine periculo pracipue lamiae pulchrae
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LisaCullenAZ
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Post by LisaCullenAZ »

ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
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llovetwilight
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Post by llovetwilight »

WELCOME TO THE CATACOMBS! :wink:
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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Thanks for the pretty banner Ouisa!

December
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Post by December »

Welcome to the Catacombs...

Our watchword here: Ars Longa Vita Brevis (Art is long; life is short). Ars Longa because long is good. When we find a subject that catches our interest we like to go on for a while. Great uninterrupted blocks of text don't scare us. We hope they don't scare any one else either -- shorter comments are also welcome here. But you have been warned -- we like to take our time and discuss things at length.

This conversation began as a series of private messages exchanged between four of us: December, Truelove1, LisaCullenAZ and IloveTwilight. As the conversation went on we began to think it was a shame to be holding it in the backrooms of private messaging rather than on the boards where we could share it with other people. We also began asking ourselves why we were having the conversation in pms rather than out on the existing threads. And we realized that we were looking for a space where a particular style of conversation was possible: thoughtful, passionate and above all open-minded. Conversation where we were trying to reach a consensus -- or clarify our differences -- rather than argue our positions. There were certain things in the books that troubled us, and we looked to one another to offer a different perspective that would make us feel better about our issues -- or at least understand them differently.

The four of us are all Edward-girls of one sort or another. One of the things we were looking for was a place where we could start by unapologetically conceding that we recognize the attraction of this kind of high-handed, flawed, dangerous, impossibly romantic hero -- and could therefore also discuss his imperfections (both as a real-life partner and an iconic fantasy) in a measured and sympathetic way. A sort of Swoony-girls Anonymous -- where we begin by declaring "My name is ___ and I have an unhealthy susceptibility to romantic fantasy". We enjoy talking to everyone: people who love Jacob and people who find Edward annoying are very welcome too. But you should know you're in swoony-girl territory here in the catacombs...

What is our topic? Well our interests range pretty broadly, but if we had to specify a subject for this thread, it might be the idea of choice. We know that the theme of choice is an important one for Stephenie. And the Twilight series is full of choices: Should Bella succumb to her her feelings for Edward, knowing that he is not human, and dangerous? Should Edward be involved with Bella even though he is a danger to her? Should Bella choose Edward, rather than Jake and a normal human future? Should she become a vampire and should Edward be the one to change her? The list goes on. In fact, you might say that everything that happens in Twilight comes back to this central choice of Bella's: whether to give up her human life for love.

So, as for Vita Brevis...well, will he bite her, should he bite her, or not? There's the whole story in those two words...

Come join in the conversation!

-- December, Truelove1, LisaCullenAZ and IloveTwilight


Edited to brush away typographical creepy-crawlies.
Last edited by December on Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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LisaCullenAZ
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Post by LisaCullenAZ »

We thought we'd start with a passage that has sparked lots of discussion because it seems a problem from all kinds of angles:

'I want it all. I want to stay right here and never move. I want to love you and make you happy. And I can't, and it's killing me. It's like Sam and Emily, Jake'"I never had a choice.'
(Eclipse p.600)

There is a serious conflict between Bella's insistence that she never had a choice and the idea that Eclipse is all about choosing. (Stephenie said "TW is about finding love; NM about losing love; Ec about choosing love"). And comparing Bella's love for Edward to the blind compulsion werewolves feel makes this conflict worse.
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TrueLove1
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Post by TrueLove1 »

Bella claiming to have no real choice in a book purported to be all about choice is certainly a dilemma. This particular statement by her had the affect on me of trivializing the relationship between Bella and Edward the first few times I read it.

First, to understand, I had a problem with the idea of imprinting that was introduced because in my estimation it is not love. There is no "choice" involved. It's not about falling for someone because of their personality, and quirks, or because you think they're cute... etc. The werewolves see the person and that's it--the attachment is there. Obviously love can come out of it, as it has with Emily loving Sam, but whether the imprinter really 'loves" the 'imprintee' has always been questionable to me.

I personally saw the B/E relationship as being all about choice; about choosing to be together despite the odds. It was presented to me as a love borne from attraction, and passion, and discovery, etc... The level of the bond was more intense than a normal human bond, to be sure, yet it was equal on both sides unlike imprinting. By having Bella make the relate to Sam and Emily, I inferred that I was suppose to liken their love to this one-sided, compulsory attachment that is imprinting. Why would Bella make such a statement? Alluding to the very weirdness of imprinting left me questioning...



Did SM really want that relate to be made? If she wants me to believe that Bella is just acknowledging the irrevocableness (?) of the union between Edward and herself, (which is what I desperately want) why put Sam and Emily in the same sentence? Frustration, frustration..... For me it did lessen the love when taken in this context.

When I consider the bond between Bella and Edward I do have to admit, as I alluded to above, that it seems something so much more than a human love. (Could this be part of the connection I'm supposed to make with Bella's statement?) SM has said that love comes at us in many forms and those of us who have been around for a while (and even some who haven't) can attest to that. Even so, Bella's love for Edward seems something more like his love for her-meaning it's on par with vampire love. Her initial connection to him is so strong that it defies reason. (And yet the skill behind the pen of Stephenie Meyer makes it believable.) Bella tells us during the meadow scene in TW that she knows it would cause her 'physical pain' to be separated from him now. The bond between them is there, even at the early stages. Edward of course is bonded to Bella in the same way, but he doesn't understand yet that what she feels for him is the same. Like Bella says at the end of NM, 'The bond forged between us was not one that could be broken by absence, or distance, or time' ' .he was as irreversibly altered as I was. As I would always belong to him, so would he always be mine.' She knows her part in this bond, very early on.

So I see that what Bella and Edward have is love, real love, human and vampire love--mixed into this inexplicable bond. When Bella equates it to Sam and Emily it pulls it off its pedestal for me because of the compulsory nature of the imprinter. For me the difference boils down to this: for vampire love (and I include Bella here) the love happens and once it does it never ends. There is choice, in the beginning. For imprinting, there is never any choice for the imprinter. There seems to be some force of predestination involved; they just have to lay their eyes on that person to 'find out' who it is. This is the difference that sets up the opposition for me in the statement. One is more valuable (for me) than the other. As a result the connection makes me uncomfortable. I can see however, that there may not be anything else for Bella to make a comparison to that would make sense.

December
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Post by December »

As for Bella saying "I never had a choice".... I guess I didn't see her as saying it was in any way the same kind of thing as werewolf imprinting. Just that it was equally irrevocable. Indeed, the reason it is so irrevocable is not that she has succumbed to some mythological compulsion like imprinting, but precisely that she is an ordinary human -- who has breathed the rarified air of fantasy, and can never return to her old life. Edward's perfections don't fit into the ordinary world at all: the sky is broken open, a new dimension has opened out for her. As a human loved by a vampire, she just never had a chance.

None of us would, if the world of fiction came alive for us. "Something so strong that it could not exist in a rational world..." We'd go up like tinder. It's our good fortune (or perhaps not?) that unlike Bella we live in a world "the way it was supposed to be, if there were no monsters and no magic." I do think that is one of the thoughts (maybe not even consciously) that underlies the opposition Stephenie has set up in Eclipse between Jacob and Edward. An issue that should be very alive for all of us here on the lex: understanding and reconciling the obsessive passion we feel as readers for our fictional heroes with the real-world relationships we rejoice in (if we are lucky). I may be projecting here, but it seems to me that this is something Stephenie herself has probably thought about. An author who talks unabashedly about being in love with her hero (and who has often said that her husband is definitely a Jake). If the world of fantasy really existed, our husbands wouldn't stand a chance, and neither would all the other ordinary joys of human life. Fortunately, it doesn't.

About putting "just like Sam and Emily" into the sentence...I think my take on this is really simpleminded -- but I have to say I'm absolutely convinced I'm right (don't say that very often!), and therefore untroubled by it, viz.: Bella puts it in these terms because she is trying to explain it to Jake, to make it something that feels a little more acceptable to him. To Jake, the whole idea that this human girl he loves could fall irrevocably in love with the undead is beyond creepy: she's trying to bring this down to the level of something he feels comfortable with. I really doubt that Bella would ever otherwise mention her love for Edward in the same breath as Sam and Emily.

Though it is also possible that there is a part of Bella, at this point in her journey (cf my thoughts on finally facing where she is going...and being afraid) that finds it comforting herself: to think that what has happened to her is not so unnatural, and will probably eventually happen even to reassuring, familiar old Jake too....

Fear and sorrow....The more I think about the conversation in the meadow, the more emotional sense it (at last) begins to make for me: Bella's steady, calm, resolute, oh-so-sober sense of purpose -- and Edward's sudden, passionate impulse to take this cup from her lips and get it over with.


Edited to brush away typographical creepy-crawlies.
Last edited by December on Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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LisaCullenAZ
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Post by LisaCullenAZ »

As a human loved by a vampire, she just never had a chance. None of us would, if the world of fiction came alive for us. 'Something so strong that it could not exist in a rational world...' We'd go up like tinder.
Totally.
It's our good fortune (or perhaps not?) that unlike Bella we live in a world 'the way it was supposed to be, if there were no monsters and no magic.' If the world of fantasy really existed, our husbands wouldn't stand a chance, and neither would all the other ordinary joys of human life. But fortunately, it doesn't.
I agree, December. I consider it a blessing that I don't have such a compelling option as a real-life Edward. That would complicate things for anyone. And what an unfortunate combination he is! The perfect guy with absolutely no future. I can't imagine having to choose between my future and my true love.

TrueLove1 wrote:
One is more valuable (for me) than the other. As a result the connection makes me uncomfortable. I can see however, that there may not be anything else for Bella to make a comparison to that would make sense.


I understand your discomfort over such a comparison. But I think you're probably correct in assuming that Bella simply didn't have a better way to express what she was feeling. The force and power of the love between herself and Edward is almost beyond reason or comprehension, so it is understandable that she would try to grasp for any example that would even come close to an accurate explanation of those feelings.
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TrueLove1
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Post by TrueLove1 »

It is so hard not to take these particular words at face value, because they do SOOO fly-in-the-face-of the larger theme of choice throughout the book. This is why the first thought that occurred to me when reading it was that the statement was so inconsistent with the theme. Thinking of the love between B/E as compulsory does serve some purpose if it makes some people feel better about what's happening between B/J; because if not for this completely uncontrollable thing that's happening, I would be with you Jake.....Bella is off the hook, you can't blame her for leaving poor sweet Jacob, and Jacob now knows that he really is the soul mate, it's just that something irrational took her over.....That was my first thought and frankly it just didn't fit.

However, when you describe the love that encapsulates Bella and Edward, it is exactly what I always thought it was: Irrevocable, a new dimension, a rarified air of fantasy....the way you put this was poetic by the way. It makes much more sense to step back away from scene and take Bella's statement not as drawing an equivalency with imprinting, but rather drawing a parallel that Jake can relate to. When I take the comment as a comparison to the irrevocableness of the love only, then I can start to feel more at ease with it.

LisaCullenAZ
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Post by LisaCullenAZ »

I agree, TrueLove1. I have also been able to feel more at peace about the events in Eclipse because of sentiments similar to the ones written by December above. And yes, December, you did write that very poetically!
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