Bella Swan Cullen #3

Character Discussion Forum

Moderators: December, Bronze Haired Girl, una

Forum rules
Character Discussion Forum

Click for Forum Rules
Esme echo
Hanging Up on Jessica
Posts: 636
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Esme echo »

It's always interesting to go through the comments after an enforced absence from the Lex! May I just comment that equality is NOT sameness, and what women want in a relationship is respect. I'm sure men want that, too. Both men and women have self-esteem issues, and in both sexes it arises from feeIings of inadequacy. Edward nailed it when he said, "Humans were constantly desperate to feel normal, to fit in. To blend in with everyone else around them, like a featureless flock of sheep." Some people have the self-confidence to overcome this urge to blend in, but only some people.

This kind of leads in to what I'd like to talk about (I hope you don't mind if I bring up a new topic).

I was reading New Moon this morning. After Edward threw Bella into the glass plates at her birthday party and Carlisle patched her up and Edward brought her home, Bella and Edward were in her bedroom talking. Edward decided Bella needed some Tylenol and -- over her protests -- he went to get her some. She took the meds because 1) her arm really was hurting, and 2) she knew she would lose the argument if she tried to resist taking them.

Now, I know this behavior -- on both their parts -- makes some people crazy! Personally, I think Bella was being stupid (though I realize she was trying to hide the seriousness of her injury from Edward because he was obviously reacting badly), and Edward was being loving (not arrogant and controlling--as some people feel).

What I'm seeing in our discussion of incidents like this is how a difference in personality types drives our discussions on the Lex. I think we have an almost subconscious urge to push our own personalities onto the characters, then criticize them for not living up to how we think we would react if that happened to us.

:?: My question is: is the criticism justified, or is there a healthier way to discuss the characters? Is it possible to accept that every person is unique, reacts differently than we would, and has a right to feel and act the way s/he does? (Well, except for illegal, immoral, or anti-social, criminal behavior!) :?:
"Where there is great love, there are always miracles."
holdingoutforjacob
Part of Carlisle's Clan
Posts: 2169
Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:43 pm
Location: Where the wild things are...

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by holdingoutforjacob »

We could accept all that, Esme, but then we would have no reason for being here. If we all just said "to each his own" and didn't add our own feelings about the situations, what would we have to discuss?? I get what you're saying, and that's what real life is like, but here, I think we suspend that, in part.

I don't see the tylenol scene you describe as being controlling on Edward's part. I see it as a person knowing their partner is in pain and knowing they're the type of person who will do anything to downplay her injury, and arguing with them for their best interest. If he had force fed her the tylenol, that'd be a different story.
Image

death cannot stop true love, it can only delay it for a while...
Esme echo
Hanging Up on Jessica
Posts: 636
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Esme echo »

holdingoutforjacob wrote:We could accept all that, Esme, but then we would have no reason for being here. If we all just said "to each his own" and didn't add our own feelings about the situations, what would we have to discuss?? I get what you're saying, and that's what real life is like, but here, I think we suspend that, in part.

I don't see the tylenol scene you describe as being controlling on Edward's part. I see it as a person knowing their partner is in pain and knowing they're the type of person who will do anything to downplay her injury, and arguing with them for their best interest. If he had force fed her the tylenol, that'd be a different story.
You make good points -- as always-- HOFJ! I agree with you about Edward.

"To each his own" was not exactly the type of analysis I was trying to describe, though. People and their motivations are very interesting to me; I find the better I understand others, the better I understand myself. So I'm more interested in why people feel as they do and do what they do instead of wasting time thinking up "should have"s for how they feel and what they do. But, perhaps you're right; the discussion would be too boring to sustain itself!
"Where there is great love, there are always miracles."
holdingoutforjacob
Part of Carlisle's Clan
Posts: 2169
Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:43 pm
Location: Where the wild things are...

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by holdingoutforjacob »

Well I think we have to have all types of discussions. I think we have to have those "Well if I were Bella I'd do it this way" and the "Edward should have done this" and the "Well, consider that Jacob was motivated by this" conversations, as well as those which take the experiences of the characters and bring them into real life like the "Is it really healthy for Bella and Edward to be so into each other so fast?" type of questions.
Image

death cannot stop true love, it can only delay it for a while...
Asheleyo
Teaching Eric Social Graces
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 7:57 pm
Contact:

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Asheleyo »

I think people start out attempting to discuss the characters objectively according to what may or may not be acceptable from a general standpoint. But we are human, so our own opinions always leak in because we all perceive what society does in slightly (or vastly) different ways.

I think the criticism is actually helpful. If we can look at characters and criticize their behavior one way or another, we're building on ourselves and becoming more aware of our own complexities. Also, we take with us lessons to be learned.

There are plenty of Bella moments we can point to and say "she shouldn't have done that," and even Bella would agree with us. But I think the real interesting part is our defense of why she shouldn't have done that. Is it based off of what was best for her character and those around her? Or is it based off of what we think is best for ourselves?

For me, I think the two get a little jumbled up together.
Precisely because death awaits us in the end, we must live fully.

Stars did fly toward each other, irresistibly, as if they were falling in love. And millions of years later, lovers on Earth drew together and fell in love, watching the stars fall.
Angelvamp
Teaching Eric Social Graces
Posts: 267
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 10:35 am

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Angelvamp »

Esme echo wrote:My question is: is the criticism justified, or is there a healthier way to discuss the characters? Is it possible to accept that every person is unique, reacts differently than we would, and has a right to feel and act the way s/he does? (Well, except for illegal, immoral, or anti-social, criminal behavior!) :?:
I agree with holdingoutforjacob, that we have to have these conversations. Discussion, and even sometimes a healthy debate, is good for the mind. It helps people to keep their perspective from becoming stagnant and therefore closed off. It's important to keep in mind that people's perceptions can be different than your own. You know, cognito ergo sum or I think therefore I am. I believe consciousness is unique in every individual (although there are some subjects that seem to be innate in humans: love, fear of the dark, etc.) and in order for people to grow they need to be exposed to those unique perspectives. But I also agree with Asheleyo, in that sometimes you just can't help but sneak in your own view of the world and project them onto others.

As far as Bella and Edward's relationship and their individual views, well it's about communication more than personality types. To clarify though, to effectively communicate it probably helps to know the other person's personality type and their way of communicating. There was a bit of a learning curve (especially for Edward) with this issue, but I think by the end of BD they overcome a lot of those communication problems.
"Life is pain...anyone who tells you different is selling something."
moon sidhe
Helping Mike to Get a Clue
Posts: 543
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:09 am
Contact:

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by moon sidhe »

Esme echo wrote:What I'm seeing in our discussion of incidents like this is how a difference in personality types drives our discussions on the Lex. I think we have an almost subconscious urge to push our own personalities onto the characters, then criticize them for not living up to how we think we would react if that happened to us.

:?: My question is: is the criticism justified, or is there a healthier way to discuss the characters? Is it possible to accept that every person is unique, reacts differently than we would, and has a right to feel and act the way s/he does? (Well, except for illegal, immoral, or anti-social, criminal behavior!) :?:
Wow. I absolutely could not agree with this more. You've put some vague and hazy thoughts I've sometimes had very succinctly. I sometimes get the feeling that there are some very strong emotions projected onto these characters that stem more from personal experiences than from the story itself. And, you know, I think this is a natural and inevitable reaction. I agree with Ashleyo that this can sometimes even be a healthy way for us to become more self-aware and to analyze the way we react to situations through the prism of these fictional characters. I think that this is the ideal final outcome, but it's a difficult place to reach and a lot of people have strong reactions that they don't know how to resolve and maybe haven't achieved the level of self-awareness yet to even know that they have these issues that need resolving. *shrug* It's a process. So, is the criticism justified? Well, there are certainly legitimate criticisms of some of their actions to be made IMO. I also think that these criticisms can frequently be completely overblown to the point of ridiculousness based on our own personal hang-ups. Is there a healthier way to discuss the characters? hah. Well, perhaps with a therapist. At least in the cases of more.. ermm... extreme reactions. I kid, I kid. Kind of.
You are in my blood like holy wine
and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
Esme echo
Hanging Up on Jessica
Posts: 636
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Esme echo »

The thing is, my reactions have surprised me many times. Have you ever thought, "If I were in that situation I would do so and so," and then, when you actually were in that situation you felt entirely differently than you predicted you would? Such experiences have taught me that--though I would like to--I don't know as much about myself as I thought I did! It makes me a little more hesitant to condemn, a little more chastened for my innate arrogance.

Yesterday I was listening to Stephenie describe how difficult it was for her to understand Bella's character--a fictional character with whom she had very little in common. Well, IMO she created a character that resonates with many, many girls and women! I see pieces of myself reflected in Bella's actions all through the books, and other pieces I wish were like me! And she frustrates me, much as I sometimes frustrate myself! I think, all around, Bella arrives in Forks like a "lost soul," anchorless, (bored--in Kristen Stewart's opinion), disconnected from people, waiting for her life to begin.

I think I already asked this question, but the computer ate my post, and I was so disgusted I didn't re-type it: how much do you think Bella's attraction to Edward was due to the fact that he was a vampire -- and vampires are beautiful to their prey? Was Bella just extremely susceptible to the vampire lure? She was obviously fascinated, and reckless in her actions. What is the fate : vampire ratio in her immediate headlong fall into love with Edward?
"Where there is great love, there are always miracles."
Asheleyo
Teaching Eric Social Graces
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 7:57 pm
Contact:

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Asheleyo »

If it were more about a reaction to the lure of a vampire, why wouldn't Bella have felt that lure to Jasper or Emmett? Especially since Jasper is described as good-looking without the terrifying edge that Emmett has. Sure, some of her attraction to him is his beauty. But we find something beautiful in our partners no matter what, otherwise we wouldn't be able to stand staring at the for so long =)

Honestly, since it took so much effort for Bella to come to terms with someone as beautiful as Edward caring for her, I don't think it had that much to do with her love for him. If he were much more plain-looking, she'd probably be perfectly happy.
Precisely because death awaits us in the end, we must live fully.

Stars did fly toward each other, irresistibly, as if they were falling in love. And millions of years later, lovers on Earth drew together and fell in love, watching the stars fall.
moon sidhe
Helping Mike to Get a Clue
Posts: 543
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:09 am
Contact:

Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by moon sidhe »

Hrm. What an interesting question, Esme Echo. Personally, I think the initial fate:vampire ratio was on the low side, and it gets higher as the story progresses. I can see your logic, Ashleyo, but I suppose the way I interpreted the story Bella simply found Edward to be by far the most attractive of the three vampires. I think the first sighting in the cafeteria was an "Oh my god.... so pretty" moment. Of course, there was also the convenient fact that he was clearly unattached, unlike Emmett and Jasper. But then I think her fascination really became strong after the Biology and office incidents. Here's this insanely beautiful thing that seems to seriously hate her. I'm guessing that on a pretty strong subconscious level, Bella could feel the danger pouring off of Edward. Leave it to Bella to fall for something that seems to hate her and really, really wants to eat her. Sounds pretty typical. It's funny the way SM describes humans' attraction to vampires. The vampires are described as both beautiful and remote, and it seems like humans are attracted to their beauty as much as they're repelled by an instinctual subconscious fear and a realization that these creatures are "other". I think Bella's attraction, at least initially, was in large part to beauty and danger (danger magnet!), and as she came to know and understand Edward better, it shifted more to loving him for who he truly is. So, IMO, at the beginning of the first book fate:vampire = low, by the end fate:vampire = high.
You are in my blood like holy wine
and you taste so bitter but you taste so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
Post Reply