I'm sorry, I wrote this before JG and December jumped in, apologies if I seem like I am ignoring what you said, but I have to post this now.
Tornado wrote:But he still suffers. And suffers because of love. And his pain will never lessen, nor will he ever get over it. That's quite a cross to bear. Yes, his suffering is greater than any by the end of the series, because even Leah has the potential to move on. Marcus doesn't.
One other thing I should bring up, I forget this sometimes, is that Marcus's backstory isn't detailed in the series. Based on the TW text alone, there really couldn't be any sympathy for him, because we are never told within the story what had happened. We only know about this from SM's interviews and the IG.
I only really felt sympathy for him when I read his backstory in the IG and found out that he refused Corin's talent that would help numb his pain. That reminded me of Bella's line in NM, "Forbidden to remember, terrified to forget; it was a hard line to walk."
It's funny, but this discussion, weighing and judging the validity of romantic suffering, has actually crystallized a few of my thoughts concerning Jacob. I have little sympathy for Jacob. Violet Sunlight has a great deal of sympathy for him. Why do we have such opposite reactions to the same character?
In a nutshell, I have always viewed Bella and Edward's love as being special, a supernatural connection that exists only in this fantasy world that SM has created. That has been one of the genius facets of this story, that SM gives both of them the license to love to extremes and act in extreme ways due to this supernatural factor.
And yet SM gives Jacob this license as well. Jacob's human connection to Bella eventually grows to rival Bella's supernatural connection to Edward. Is Jacob's connection supernatural or human? I think that is one of my great resentments, in that SM seems to give Jacob the license to act in extreme ways while absolving him of all fault. He loves Bella almost as much as Bella loves Edward, even though his connection is human while hers is supernatural. Bella and Edward are responsible for their actions and must suffer for it, even as the root cause of it is their supernatural connection that drives them beyond reason. Jacob is not responsible for his actions even as he is human with a human connection to Bella and would normally have to accept responsibility.
You see what I mean? I judge Jacob as a human. I expect Jacob to grow in maturity and understanding as humans are supposed to do. I expected Jacob to come to the reception with a new attitude (he was gone for two months for crying out loud). I judge Jacob's actions there as a human, so I have little sympathy for him, and I don't excuse him for his youth. The fact that he never seems to let Bella go until it is mystically severed for him by the imprinting is something I attribute to a choice that Jacob has made. All of us have to eventually let go of someone romantically if they choose someone else. It isn't healthy to hold on, and if you really love them you have to let them go.
Jazz Girl wrote:I understand that many believe he had his nobler reasons why he didn't. However, in the end, all mixed messages and supposed noble intentions aside, Jacob chose to keep putting his hand in the fire. Getting burned was his choice.
Jazz Girl, we are on the same page there.
However, if you see Jacob's connection to Bella as being "special", as something on par or close to B&E's connection to each other, then you would see Jacob as literally not being able to help himself. He is being driven by the same compulsions that B&E are being driven by. And since his connection is human and not supernatural, doesn't that actually make his love for Bella even more "special", and perhaps elevate it above even B&E? The bonding strength of the supernatural love, but existing entirely within the natural and healthy love of humanity.
Maybe the best example and evidence for this is the imprinting scene at Bella's change. Jacob wants to tear Nessie to pieces. If you view Jacob's actions as a result of his human choices, being judged on the same level all us humans are, then his imprinting should be a humbling experience for him, resulting in a wiser Jacob. If you view Jacob as being compelled with a love for Bella that knows no reason, then his wanting to kill Nessie was an understandable reaction to Bella's seeming death, and Jacob is simply out of his mind because he loved Bella that much. Jacob's action is essentially equated to the response that Edward had after he thought Bella had died in NM. What they both wanted to do was deplorable, but understandable. Edward never says that he regretted what he wanted to do, and neither does Jacob. Stephenie does not judge Jacob for this, and neither does she allow Jacob to judge himself for it.
So, I guess I don't really sympathize much with Jacob because I never bought that. It didn't make much sense at the literary level as it flew in the face of the original premise, which was a) B&E's extraordinary bond with each other and b) the license it gave them to act and feel the way they do. Giving that freely to Jacob as well undermines that premise, so I just rejected it. Jacob does not have that license (how could he? it's not possible!), so he is in violation of the Twilight Standards and Practices Act of 2006, Subsection 13.2, of the True Love and Soul Mate Exemption Code that bans all extreme behavior in the pursuit of Love, with a grandfather clause exempting any Supernatural Love established prior to 2006. Bella and Edward are grandfathered in, Jacob is not. Someone needs to arrest that boy.