SM/DND The Jacob Effect

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Post by jessica_ » Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:56 pm

iloveedwardcullen. but i can't deny my love for Jacob. He is the most cutest thing ever, i love him.. but to choose between edward and jacob. that's hard.. but i have to say edward.

i think SM will create a good ending for Jacob, because she loves him as well? ahhh, well maybe he will find osmeone that he will imprint on? if he did.. i will feel the slightest pang of jealousy? i dunno lol
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Post by December » Sun May 04, 2008 8:47 pm

So here we are, four months after this thread began -- and still wrestling with the puzzle we started with: What are we supposed to make of the tremendous weight Stephenie has put on Bella's relationship to Jake and the sense that keeps leaking off the page (at least to some readers) that she actually would like to see Bella together with Jake more than with Edward? Given that this story began as the story of Edward and Bella's romance, how did it twist into something else? Are these anxieties simply a misreading of her narrative strategy (as I've argued before), because Jake is just a stand-in for the humanity Bella is relinquishing and it's simplistic to read this is as a girl torn between two great guys? Or is it impossible to completely ignore the way the story of Eclipse (and Stephenie's comments about the love triangle) relentlessly emphasizes the contest between these two boys for Bella's affections?

Stephenie's mischievous remarks on My Space aren't really the issue (an author should be allowed to horse around without being taken too seriously). The thing is, it's in the text too. It's hard to look at the way Eclipse actually unfolds without guessing that Stephenie is ambivalent about Bella's choice. Are her misgivings only about Bella's decision to sacrifice her humanity? Or is some preference for Jake himself unintentionally seeping into her storytelling? The more you reread Eclipse, the more disconcertingly Jake and Bella's relationship seems to encroach on the glorious -- if tragic -- love story of human and vampire that Stephenie originally set out to tell. The scenes between them are so lively and vivid; Jake is so colourfully drawn -- and Bella is so engrossed with him -- that the affinity between them strikes the eye as forcibly as Bella's love for Edward. Jake the snarky, self-assured Quileute boy begins to fill the reader's field of vision. It's not where the story appeared to be headed at the end of NM.

It's true that Stephenie has indicated on a number of occasions that Bella's love for Jake should be seen first and foremost as the concrete expression of the real choice Bella is facing: between her love for Edward and her human life:

Stephenie wrote:
Q. What is the most pivotal plot development that happens in Eclipse?
A. In both Twilight and New Moon, Bella commits to becoming a vampire without once really examining what price she'll pay. In Eclipse, Bella fully comprehends that price. And then she chooses to pay it. Every aspect of the novel revolves around this point, every back story, every relationship, every moment of action. [bolding mine]


It doesn't get much more straightforward than that: the narrative point of Bella's indecision about these two boys is for her to confront what becoming a vampire for Edward will really mean. Her realization that she could love Jake too is the realization that she could have a wonderful life without Edward, and enjoy everything human -- family and friends, having children, changing with the years -- that she is giving up for him. All this, so that she can then, knowingly, choose to sacrifice everything for a love so strong that nothing else matters.

And yet...imaginatively, we don't quite experience it that way. If you look at what Stephenie has actually written in the last chapters of Eclipse, it sure looks like Bella's dilemma is all about being torn between two boys. You have to work to pull out a deeper interpretation. Bella's night of tears isn't really about giving up Jake for Edward (and if you look at the text closely you can see this*) but you wouldn't guess it, to listen to her.... Stephenie isn't helping us as much as she could here.

Does the story work anyway? Or is there a narrative problem here? Did Stephenie not make plain enough what she wanted her readers to understand about Bella's feelings for Jake and Edward -- and the central role that her humanity plays in this unhappy love triangle? Is this unclarity one of the reasons why so many readers have been up in arms on one character's behalf or another?

More impertinently, is it too far-fetched to think that Stephenie's own ambivalence has (perhaps unconsciously) affected the way the story she meant to tell actually came out? Can we guess anything about her true feelings about the sacrifice Bella is making -- or about the two young men through whom her decision is played out?

This discussion is now open to the floor....

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* Observe for example Bella's words as she prepares to go say goodbye to Jake at the end of Eclipse: If only I could be stuck by lightning and be split in two. Preferably painfully. For the first time giving up being human felt like a true sacrifice. Like it might be too much to lose. (EC p.589) In her own mind, the reason Bella is losing Jake is not that she is marrying Edward. She is not talking in terms of loving two people and having to decide between them (which she does). She sees herself as losing Jake because she is giving up being human. Which makes absolutely no sense, except insofar as Jake is not Jake-the-boy whom she fell in love with but rather Jake-the-human-future she cannot have if she becomes a vampire. It's simply untrue that she has to give up Jake himself by giving up her human life (in fact he's the one person from her old life she could conceivably still keep in touch with when she is changed). But the natural human life and love she could have with Jake....this she is truly sacrificing by becoming a vampire.
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Post by TrueLove1 » Sun May 04, 2008 9:11 pm

December wrote:
What are we supposed to make of the tremendous weight Stephenie has put on Bella's relationship to Jake and the sense that keeps leaking off the page (at least to some readers) that she actually would like to see Bella together with Jake more than with Edward? Given that this story began as the story of Edward and Bella's romance, how did it twist into something else?
Well, this is the question, isn't it? And I don't think there is a simple answer here. In fact, I don't think there is just one answer. There seems to be, to an outside observer anyway, an increasing ambivalence on the part of the author about the choice that Bella is going to make. It seems to me like (as the story goes on ) SM realizes that she is anti-bite. It feels as though she has come to a very realistic, gruesome realization of what this would mean, outside of the fantasy realm, for her characters, and as much as she doesn't like the conclusion, it's the only "realistic" ending within the context of this story. I feel like she is fighting it, but her characters are telling her there is no other way. And that's how I see Jake fits in.

[Incidentally, I have to imagine that when one is tasked with turning a 2 book story in to a 4 book series, some of the interesting issues can be explored more thoroughly.]

Bella's choice and the fact that she doesn't acknowledge that there is going to be pain in losing her parents, her relationships, (both incidental and significant) all the things that life can offer her--can be explored more thoroughly in this 4 book series and it was an obvious draw for Stephenie. She noted in a bookclub-sort of chat before EC came out, that if she was Bella's mother (and she is) that she could not feel confident of Bella's choice to become a vampire until she was sure that all issues were examined'enter Jake. (At least in EC, that's the way I see it. In NM I saw him more as a narrative tool because SM said once Edward was gone, she needed someone who Bella could confide in and talk to (makes sense) in order to keep the narrative flow going.) And the character that needed to be used as a narrative tool had to be ok with the whole magic and monsters issue. Enter werewolf'stage right'

Stephenie uses Jake to examine Bella's hold on her humanity, certainly, but his character almost takes over the story. It's like you say, December, Jake starts to encompass the reader's field of vision and it happens in both NM and Eclipse. Does Stephenie's love of Jake's character and what he represents (life/humanity) in addition to her increasing ambivalence to see Bella running for the cliff open her up to allow a shift in the story—at least the surface story—from the Bella and Edward story to the Bella and Jake story? It's an interesting question and we could site all kinds of comments by the author in defense of Jake after the release of EC that may or may not back up the theory, but in the end what we have is a shift from the core story and that's what we're talking about.. It's that issue that's interesting. Jake represents Bella's humanity and by using him in that capacity, we focus more on the boy vs. boy issue than the Jake=humanity issue. More than that though, it's this feeling that Jake could/should be used to represent everything that Bella will be losing, but when Bella gives everything of herself to Jake (by the end) that she has given/shared with Edward, you have to really dig deep to find the bigger meaning. The text is screaming that this is a story about two boys when it's not a choice between Edward and Jacob Bella is making, it's a choice between life and death.
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Post by Visitor » Sun May 04, 2008 9:33 pm

December wrote:What are we supposed to make of the tremendous weight Stephenie has put on Bella's relationship to Jake and the sense that keeps leaking off the page (at least to some readers) that she actually would like to see Bella together with Jake more than with Edward? Given that this story began as the story of Edward and Bella's romance, how did it twist into something else?
It appears that time and the intelligent debate of many well written bloggers has still not been able to completely quell this issue for me. It is what keeps me tied to my vow not to reread the series until I've had an opportunity to read BD. Let me preface this by saying, the online therapy has not been all for naught. I do get it now. I get all the reasons why Eclipse had to happen. I get all the different layers Jacob's character had to offer and why he was so central to the plot. That being said, it is still difficult to ignore the seemingly heavy emphasis that SM has placed on Jacob's character in and out of the text. Which would all be fine and good if I were not 100% convinced that by the end of this series, Bella and Edward will be together. Moreover, that I am supposed to want to see this happen. According to SM, Bella's 'choice' made her love for Edward that much stronger, but in Eclipse, it doesn't always read that way. If anything, for me, Jacob's presence seriously calls Bella's love for Edward into question. When I tried to re-read (or re-listen) recently, I found myself nodding along with Edward when he said "You compare one tree to an entire forest." Knowing what I know now about Bella's feelings for Jacob, it most certainly feels like Bella is suffering from a one-tree kind of love. Which I realize is unfair of me to say, considering the fact that the poor girl is preparing to give up EVERYTHING to be with him. See, don't worry! I am completely capable of seeing how unfair and biased my thoughts are towards Bella's horrific plight. Yet somehow, within the confines of the story, I am powerless to prevent them. It's just that Eclipse makes it hard for me to see that Bella loves Edward just as much as he loves her. But at the same time, I also don't get the sense that Bella loves Jacob enough for me to want to root for them. It's like having two half-full cups (even though I know that upon closer inspection, I will find one cup is definitely closer to full, i.e. Edward). So if a plain reading of the story causes me to call into question Bella's love for Edward yet doesn't give me enough to truly believe in a romance between her and Jacob, then I can't help but wonder why the complication was necessary in the first place. Like you suggest December, did Bella do the 180, or did SM? And since we're not talking about a full 360, then why even bother shifting at all? Well . . . luckily for us all, I've mulled this issue over often enough to have actually come up with a theory or two . . . or three. But I'll only bore you with one for now. And by the way it's long . . .

There is a definite change in tone from TW to Eclipse . . . I don't profess to know for sure the exact reason behind it. I just know that I see it. Which is odd, because for some reason I just don't believe that the original one book sequel to TW, Forever Dawn, was a sad book at all. It was a gift to SM's sister for petes-sake! What kind of gift would depress the bejimmies out of someone who had just been introduced to something as wonderful and special as B&E? So therefore, if FD wasn't a completely melancholy endeavor, the change in tone had to have occurred sometime between the many numerous rewrites. Additionally, I completely believe that much like Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, SM began to fear her creation . . . i.e. Edward. She had to have gotten a lot of feed back about how absolutely perfect he was . . . of how young girls would set him as the ultimate boy standard. And of how young boys would never be able to measure up to him. I believe that SM both loved and feared Edward. Loved him for who she saw him to be, but feared him for what he could potentially do to the minds of young impressionable teens. Hence, her repeated and almost frantic insistence in recent interviews, that Edward Cullen does not exist in real life . . . that Edward(s) in general, do not exist. But that a boy less perfect but just as nice, can exist . . . i.e. Jacob. All in all, what we have by the time we get to Eclipse is SM's attempt to stay true to her vision (i.e., B&E fated love) while taking into consideration that she has to be more careful with her story's content now that young people are reading it (i.e., the great emphasis on Jacob and the somber tone at the end of Eclipse).

And in some ways I understand her position. Because if all goes as it should . . . Bella will kill herself for love. Which means that ultimately, the TW series will be a story about 2 dead teens. That's the ugly truth of it. But it's the ending that most of us are hoping to see. And I'll admit, it's the only logical ending I can see to this series (The actual BD plot notwithstanding!). So how does an author happily portray what amounts to teen suicide? Answer: She can't. Not happily at least. Hence the painful tug-o-war that evolves into the E/B/J love triangle. The problem is, Eclipse reads as though SM has placed a little too much weight onto the B/J side of the equation. So much so that it almost . . . almost makes the other stuff (the "Edward I love you's", the "Edward, I'll only ever want you's", etc,) ring a bit false. So I guess the question still remains, was that particular outcome intended?
Last edited by Visitor on Sun May 04, 2008 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Why did she have to come here? Why did she have to exist? Why did she have to ruin the little peace I had in this non-life of mine? Why had this aggravating human ever been born? She would ruin me."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[b]"So the witnesses first then."[/b]

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Post by LisaCullenAZ » Sun May 04, 2008 9:47 pm

December wrote:
It's hard to look at the way Eclipse actually unfolds without guessing that Stephenie is ambivalent about Bella's choice.
Well, it's certainly hard for ME. Maybe this is where Stephenie was really at when she wrote Eclipse. And you know what? I find myself in the same position. Or at least I did.

Here's a thought. I think, and maybe I'm wrong, that people who were already set and ready -- without any qualms -- for Edward to just freaking bite Bella already had a harder time with Eclipse than those of us who were a little less ready for it. You think that may be part of it? Maybe the fans who were like, "Bite her, bite her, bite her!" found themselves reading Eclipse with a lot of frustration. They were already ready for it to happen, for crying out loud! So they're reading and pulling their hair and thinking, "What is all this wavering?!?!" And therefore, whether written as a symbol of what she's giving up or not, Jacob is just a nuisance to those readers. That's what I'm thinking right now, anyway. Could it be? That would explain a lot to me... about myself and about my friends who have read this series and can't believe Bella is still a human right now. :lol:

I'm not one of those, though. I may be pro-bite (after a lot of deep discussion and personal angst) but I wasn't so sure before I read Eclipse. I wasn't sure how I could be, though I wanted very much to be. And so Eclipse for me wasn't so bad. Jacob wasn't so bad. Because I was right there with Bella, going through those emotions.

Now right here I'll admit: I was suprised that Bella was going through these emotions, though. I knew I had uneasiness about it, but I didn't know she did. Given all her emotional absoluteness, her grand professions and exuberant outbursts in the first two books, I didn't think there was any doubt or uncertainty lingering in her whatsoever. I thought it was just me as a reader that was struggling with the concept of voluntarily giving up one's future as a human. I knew that about myself. But I didn't know that about her. So I was shocked to find that she still had ANY bits of her that could be swayed, could be preyed upon, could resurface. That was something that didn't sit well when I read Eclipse the first time.

And so I wonder! I wonder if Stephenie was in my same position. What I mean is, I wonder if she couldn't send Bella off to her "death" so effortlessly as many other readers (not including myself, of course) had been prepared to see her do. I wonder if when it came time for it, she realized that there was more she wanted for Bella... a character SM has said is like a daughter to her. And so she got sidetracked by the Jake storyline? Maybe? I don't know.

All I know is that it breaks my heart. For Edward. And you know what? For Jacob! Because, hate him or not, he is an interesting and well written character. I feel he deserves more than to be a plot device or whatever it is that he is here. I feel he deserves more than to be the hated "other man" in a painful love triangle. Some days I wish SM had kept him "in his place" for this particular series, and I wish she had saved his [previously] underdeveloped character to write a branch-off series instead. You know? Instead of developing him IN THESE BOOKS where he cannot possibly thrive. He cannot! If Bella and Edward are to prevail, there is no ultimate happiness for Jacob. Whatever happy ending comes for him at this point will always be his "second choice" or his "plan B"... and that is so unfair to him, I feel. If he'd never been put in the position he's in, then all the things readers love about Jacob could have STILL been explored, but in his OWN story. It's what he deserves. And the readers that don't love him or can't stand him wouldn't have had to feel as thought their story was robbed by this impudent dog-boy. And, in Jacob's absence, there surely could have been something else that would have served as a symbol of what Bella's giving up. It didn't have to be Jacob, did it? I don't know... I'm not a writer. ;)

Anyway, I'm just brainstorming here. I'm not judging. Just aching. :cry:

As I wrote this I saw TL1's post and this just made me laugh at myself:
It seems to me like (as the story goes on ) SM realizes that she is anti-bite.
Um... yeah. Yeah, that was what I was trying to say. It took me a lot more huff and puff while you were able to put it simply and perfectly. But yes, that's what I was thinking too. :)

And finally, after seeing Visitor's post, I just had to say... I understand your pain m'dear! I do, I do, I do. And you know that. ;) And may I also say? This just lightened my mood considerably:
What kind of gift would depress the bejimmies out of someone who had just been introduced to something as wonderful and special as B&E?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I love it. :D
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Post by Visitor » Sun May 04, 2008 10:46 pm

LisaCullenAZ wrote:If he'd never been put in the position he's in, then all the things readers love about Jacob could have STILL been explored, but in his OWN story. It's what he deserves. And the readers that don't love him or can't stand him wouldn't have had to feel as thought their story was robbed by this impudent dog-boy.
Huh. You know what? I think you're right. If Jacob had been introduced and developed in his own story arc, I probably would not have had nearly as many problems with his character in Eclipse as I do now. Moreover, If TW and NM had not been written in such Bella-unequivocal language, I may have been more inclined to see an opening for a character as . . . as . . . unrelenting as Jacob's to come in. But unlike most of you though, Bella's 'wavering' in Eclipse did not ring as true for me. I never really got the impression that she did not want to be with Edward. That is a big reason why I questioned why Jacob needed to be there. Even with her constant running to LaPush, I still did not see a girl on the verge of giving up her love for Edward. But maybe that is what I should have seen. Or better yet, maybe that is what I needed to see in order for Jacob's character to make sense to me. Maybe Bella should have actually said the words 'I don't know if I want to be with Edward' or 'Maybe I don't love him as much as I think I do.' Because at least then, the need for a Jacob would have been quite clear to me. He would have been fighting for a cause as opposed to actively looking to interfere in one. Jacob in the tent snuggled with Bella, Jacob kissing Bella, Jacob being Bella's "sun" . . . would have all been things necessary to Bella's decision making process. But she never truly made a decision. Not really. She had an epiphany. She shed a few tears. But when it was all said and done, she still said what she'd been saying all along, which is that she can not and does not want to live without Edward. So why derail a perfectly good love story then? Why clonk us over the head with mounds and mounds of Jacob-ness if in the end, it never actually changes anything?

The only explanation that makes sense is that SM herself became so enamored with his character that she sort of gave him free reign over her story. Subconsciously of course. Because Myspace messages taken out of context not withstanding, is there anybody here who does not believe that SM prefers Jacob's character over Edward's? And if you naturally prefer something, doesn't it just make sense that you would naturally gravitate to that something? Even if it is in the form of the written word? Or in SM case . . . writing the written word?

Here's a thought. I think, and maybe I'm wrong, that people who were already set and ready -- without any qualms -- for Edward to just freaking bite Bella already had a harder time with Eclipse than those of us who were a little less ready for it. You think that may be part of it? Maybe the fans who were like, "Bite her, bite her, bite her!" found themselves reading Eclipse with a lot of frustration. They were already ready for it to happen, for crying out loud! So they're reading and pulling their hair and thinking, "What is all this wavering?!?!"
And you know what else . . . you're probably right about this too. I never thought of it before, but maybe this is a big reason why the fandom was so up in arms about Eclipse. But I think it all goes back to Bella's narrative. Maybe if she had talked in less life-affirming, life-altering language in books 1 and 2, fans would not have been so ready to cheer for the bite. Because ironically enough, we now cheer for Bella's death mainly because SM made us want to.
"Why did she have to come here? Why did she have to exist? Why did she have to ruin the little peace I had in this non-life of mine? Why had this aggravating human ever been born? She would ruin me."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[b]"So the witnesses first then."[/b]

[i]Edward Cullen, MS[/i]
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Post by December » Mon May 05, 2008 7:14 am

Visitor wrote: is there anybody here who does not believe that SM prefers Jacob's character over Edward's?
Gah! No time to reply properly to all these excellent posts at the moment. But I did just want to say something about this.

Yes, there are people here who don't believe it. Who would be stunned to hear you say this, actually, because it seems just as glaringly obvious to them that Stephenie prefers Edward. I know this: I've spoken with them. Which just goes to show how complicated and subjective a matter this is....

More soon, I hope.
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Post by LisaCullenAZ » Mon May 05, 2008 9:53 am

Visitor wrote:
I never really got the impression that she did not want to be with Edward. That is a big reason why I questioned why Jacob needed to be there. Even with her constant running to LaPush, I still did not see a girl on the verge of giving up her love for Edward. But maybe that is what I should have seen. Or better yet, maybe that is what I needed to see in order for Jacob's character to make sense to me.
You know, Visitor, I'm not sure I was convinced by her wavering, either. I was shocked by it because it didn't seem to fit. It certainly didn't fit with her attitude in TW and NM.

I understand that Bella wanted to make JACOB happy, that she hurt and ached for this friend who had done so much for her... that made sense to me. But I never really believed (and don't still) that she ever truly considered leaving Edward for Jacob.

And that's the problem, right? To be so ready to leave everything for a guy you've never weighed against anything else in your life? If it didn't bother Bella then I guess it shouldn't have bothered me. And maybe it shouldn't have bothered Stephenie. If that was Bella's character, if that was who she is, perhaps she should have been left to walk her path. But I think it DID bother Stephenie. I think SM felt she needed to give Bella every experience... every human experience... before sentencing her to a never-ending vampire eternity, and felt that Bella needed something to compare Edward to. No? Something to force open her eyes to her uncontemplated human future?

It goes back to what we've said before. It's one of those reasons that makes me think Jacob as a character was used by SM. It's what makes me think that, since she felt she hadn't given Bella enough chances to see what was being giving up, SM employed Jacob in this way. He was already there, in the story. She really liked him, a lot of other people really liked him... so I believe it was a natural step for her! I'm not sure she thought for a minute that the fandom would react this way. I mean, she herself said something like, "We'll see if people can still hate Jacob after Eclipse." Don't you suppose Stephenie honestly believed (or at least hoped) that readers would suddenly see him as she does?

I see him this way, but I think I always did. Eclipse sure didn't do that to me. If anything it made me have to work harder to see it! So I can imagine that anyone not already "feeling it" for Jacob would have been totally pushed over the edge by events in the third book. :lol:

My point is, Visitor, that I got the same perplexing feeling you did. I was surprised to hear Bella talking and acting that way... and it made me feel that either she was lying to me right then or she was lying to me before.

I've forced myself to get over it for the most part, through all this therapy, but when we dig it all back up like this (oh joy!) I remember my pain and confusion.

*sigh*

On another note, I am HAPPY that you found both of my suppostions, in my previous entry, so plausible. Both of those thoughts just came to me as I wrote, and I wanted to hear what you guys thought about it. If those things are true for at least some of the fandom, then the vastly differing reactions to Eclipse make a lot better sense to me. And that can only help, right?!? :)


One last thing:

Visitor wrote:
is there anybody here who does not believe that SM prefers Jacob's character over Edward's?


Hm. December says there are. And I know that's true. But as for myself, I don't find it "glaringly obvious" either way. I feel sure that Stephenie prefers Edward for Bella in the books. And I feel sure that when she thinks back to her dream about them, to when she started this journey, and when she remembers back to the feelings she had when she first penned Twilight, that she knows she wants B & E together forever. This is what makes me see Edward as Stephenie's choice. At least for Bella.

But we're not talking about for Bella, are we? You're asking, Visitor, who Stephenie's favorite is? Am I right?

Because with that in mind I try to think as a mother, since SM has said she feels like Bella's mother. *ponders quietly* It's possible SM has surprised even herself by realizing that Bella -- this "daughter" that she's come to love -- is going to be losing a LOT by choosing Edward. And it hurts her to see it happen, let alone to be the one who makes it happen! I can see how, with all this gradual realization, Stephenie's come to feel Jacob as the more sensible and perhaps less painful choice. That's where I wonder if she really does prefer him to Edward.

*scratches head*

It really is complicated isn't it?!?!

In TL1's words:
And I don't think there is a simple answer here. In fact, I don't think there is just one answer.
Oh great. ;)
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Post by LindsAy » Tue May 06, 2008 11:07 pm

Visitor wrote:
See, don't worry! I am completely capable of seeing how unfair and biased my thoughts are towards Bella's horrific plight. Yet somehow, within the confines of the story, I am powerless to prevent them.
I'll use this disclaimer from Visitor to start me off as going for me, too. Because I AM biased in this way. And I feel my thoughts and reasoning are surely affected by it.

See'here's the thing. Like Visitor, I have thought about this. A lot. Depending on the day (and my mood :lol: ), the love triangle can look like no big deal or something that really bothers me. And the multitude of wonderful posts explaining how this love triangle can be explained really have helped - really! I can now see what fundamental purpose could be behind this, and see how some people feel this is not only explainable but necessary. But can it make me feel it was 100%, completely necessary, or make me completely understand all of the reasoning behind it? Nope!

Though I've said it before, in Bella's part of the love triangle she was, to me... a little annoying. I would just think in my head: Jeez O pete's, just pick the one you obviously are going to pick and stop whining about having to make the choice. There are worse things out there than not being able to have two boyfriends!But the thing is'for Bella there really are worse things. Far worse things. Her issue is a matter of life and death -- and this choice is so many volumes more serious than what was annoying me. I should not have thought of her problem of Edward vs. Jacob as simply a teenager's struggle over which boyfriend to have. And yet I did. Because though the larger issue is what Bella must give up for humanity, as others have suggested, it just isn't written in a way that's completely apparent. The much deeper issue has to be hunted for -- not that SM intended it to be read this way, but to me the few lines that indicate that deeper struggle feel almost like more of an afterthought to explain the need for the love triangle rather than the other way around.

Lisa wrote:
I feel he deserves more than to be a plot device or whatever it is that he is here. I feel he deserves more than to be the hated "other man" in a painful love triangle.
I think you're absolutely right, Lisa. His elevated status from a does make people resentful (and by people, I do mean me, too. And though I know you don't mind I still feel I should say in general, I am sorry for that :oops: ) Only I'm upset because Jacob isn't the plot device he appears to be, or rather, I wish he was. I feel like his function delved from what originaly he was supposed to do and turned into a character that has a legitimate place in Bella's heart -- and therefore, to me, (however unlogical it may be) takes away from Bella's love for Edward. So what I wonder is -- is Jacob a symbol for the humanity Bella is giving up'or is he just another boy Bella loves, that we (as SM and clearly a large part of the fandom) are supposed to love to? And are we supposed to be so enthralled by watching Bella's struggle between two amazing (or, supposed to be amazing, anyway, though obviously many prefer one over the other) that we don't care what it does to Bella and Edward's relationship?

Because in the end'that is what bothers me. I am the opposite of you, Lisa -- I do not care what Bella has seen or hasn't seen of humanity, or if she realizes what she's giving up (I'm harsh'I know!). It's different for me because I don't think of her the way some people do - she isn't my sister, my friend, or my daughter. To me, her status as a fictional heroine in this particular love story take away any risk there is of her being unhappy with Edward as a vampire. It just wouldn't happen because that would take away the point of the story. And I feel that the positives of her realizing what she's giving up in humanity outweighs the damage that's been done to B/E as a whole going through this whole ordeal. That is what bothers me. That they aren't the Bella and Edward they used to be. They've grown in some obviously positive ways, of course, but to me where they are by the end of Eclipse makes me MORE worried about Bella's ability to handle vampirism'not less, and more worried about her and Edward than I ever was. In short and simplified, Twilight was a love story, Eclipse added one and turned it into a love triangle. I'll be waiting to see what goes down as far as that in BD...because I do miss when Bella and Edward felt exclusive as their own pair.

In addition though there was foreshadowing of Bella falling in love with Jacob -- to me, the way this was done is inconsistent from New Moon to Eclipse. In New Moon, Bella contemplates having a "faint echo of what her heart is capable with" but when she sees Edward knows she can "never want anything but him." In New Moon, these statements, where it is quite clear who she wants, feel quite nearly fake after reading Eclipse, where her choice is described as far more ambiguous, as obvious from the "two-soulmate" comments. The explanation is that Bella is not self-aware. (To which I say: When did this happen; how long has Bella been this way? And how can we trust her as a narrator anymore if that is the case?...but that isn't the point here). Was this always the natural progression, or did somewhere in there Stephenie decide Jacob needed to be made just as important? And why?

Visitor, your theory on Stephenie wanting to show young girls there are other good options out there besides the non-existent Edward makes sense. As does yours, Lisa, on Stephenie becoming more anti-bite, as a mother. In fact, these make so much sense they qualm some of my original major worries over Stephenie not really wanting Bella to be with Edward at all.

And yet in the back of my mind I can't help think but still wonder why it had to be Jacob as a love interest to the extent he was (where I felt Bella and Edward's connection, for me, was taken away from). I wonder why there couldn't have been closer human friendship attachments, or more even more, why there wasn't instead more emphasis on Bella having to leave her parents -- if Stephenie's mother instincts were at work here, why not make Bella care more about the people who've taken care of her from the time she was a child (or rather, she's taken care of), rather than have a substantial love interest that could take away from the main couple? To which one would argue, of course, Well, that's the most important and most difficult thing to give up'a human future with another good man -- that really proves she wants to be with Edward! I can see that, really, I can. But if the love triangle was given less emphasis on just Jacob being her other soulmate and more on the whole package of having to give up everything for Edward, it would have been better for me. Because throughout Eclipse, the love triangle feels to me more like a romp of boy vs. boy, vampire vs. werewolf rather than the issue of giving up humanity for love. (And this is reflected within the fandom, too, in the ever present Edward vs. Jacob debates -- it's become the main argument of the series over so much of the other material). And I just don't know all of why it has come to that.

I do tend to think Stephenie prefers Jacob -- just in general her defense of him and once calling him her favorite character make me have that impression. I think that shapes the middle portion of her journey with Edward and Bella, for sure. But in the final outcome, I have complete faith she will have what needs to happen, happen. After all, though I may not have liked the love triangle in particular, I overall liked Eclipse as a whole and still love Stephenie's writing and characters.

TL wrote:
Well, this is the question, isn't it? And I don't think there is a simple answer here. In fact, I don't think there is just one answer.
Pretty much you said it! If I sound like I'm sure I'm right about this to anyone, realize I do know that I have no idea of what Stephenie thinks or what I'm talking about in general. :lol:
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Lunna-san
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Post by Lunna-san » Wed May 07, 2008 6:25 pm

Wow, this topic is awsome!

And I really agree with you, Visitor. I think it never crossed Bella's mind leave Edward for Jacob. Even after the kiss or realizing she had "fell in love' with Jacob. I think he practally conviced her that she was in love with him. :roll:

About his character... I liked him best when he was just a cheerfull human boy, very cute, etc. I don't like pushy guys like him. My opinion about him will depends on how he's going to behave on Breaking Dawn. If he learned anything after having his heart broken and get a bit more mature, I'll try to give him a second chance.
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