Explorations (**BD2 Movie Spoilers!**)

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Re: Explorations

Postby corona » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:02 pm

December, just wanted to let you know that I knew exactly what you were saying. Yes, that kind of love can be experienced by us momentarily, but it simply isn't sustainable. Reality eventually intrudes and the couple must jointly adapt or self-destruct. But, while you are in that cocoon with your loved one, reality and fantasy switch places for a time. Except for Bella, they were truly the same thing...I think. This gets confusing.

Mythical creature enters storybook world set in real world and then invokes theological dangers as a reason for leaving (has that ever been done before?).

"Real" girl moves to real world Forks and then enters storybook world, but her mythical creature boyfriend tries to push her back into the real world.

E: Bella, I will not destroy your soul!
B: Shut up and kiss me, Edward!
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: Explorations

Postby December » Thu Jul 21, 2011 5:44 pm

Corona wrote:Mythical creature enters storybook world set in real world and then invokes theological dangers as a reason for leaving (has that ever been done before?).

"Real" girl moves to real world Forks and then enters storybook world, but her mythical creature boyfriend tries to push her back into the real world.

Oh gosh, I have to think about this. Brain is spinning. (It's after 10pm here!). Let's see....

Real girl enters storybook world and finds it pushes back. ie fiction is resistant to our attempts to enter fully into it. Check. That sounds true to life.

Mythical creature enters storybook world set in real world. Not sure I'm following you there. Mythical creature is storybook world, no? Or does "storybook" here = Twilight itself? I was taking it to mean "the world of monsters and magic" as experienced by the characters (ie within the level of the story).

As for invoking theological dangers....this is definitely getting complicated! I see I must pull up my socks and do my reading on Ambivalences.

One off-the-cuff observation here: interesting thing is that the theological dangers which Edward invokes aren't quite the same as the ones Stephenie herself seems ultimately gripped by. That is to say....abandoning real life (or humanity, in all its workaday texture) for that elysium that fiction can offer (ie Edward) -- and this is the objection which seems to stick with Stephenie (hem, Eclipse) -- is related to, but not the same as, abandoning humanity for immortality, to the peril of your soul -- which is what panics Edward in NM and prompts him to slam the covers of the fairy story shut by walking out.

Not to say that Stephenie in EC is thinking literally of the choice between reality and fiction: embracing real life vs. living for the fantasy world which reading can offer (that would be our sin, not Bella's!). But at the least, Jake vs. Edward is the contrast between ordinary human joys and a supernatural (ie fictional) romantic ideal. Maybe valuing human joys doesn't quite attain the status of a theological imperative for Stephenie, but you sure get the sense that it's increasingly important to her.

Sorry, does that make any sense at all?


Corona wrote:But, while you are in that cocoon with your loved one, reality and fantasy switch places for a time. Except for Bella, they were truly the same thing...I think. This gets confusing.

Oooh, cool thought. And yes, confusing. (*goes away to think more*)
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Re: Explorations

Postby Tornado » Thu Jul 21, 2011 6:17 pm

corona wrote:Mythical creature enters storybook world set in real world and then invokes theological dangers as a reason for leaving (has that ever been done before?).


I don't know if it's ever been done in the fantasy genre. All I can think of is Narnia, which has many theological parallels, but I can't think of one of its fantasy creatures leaving because of theological dangers, although Aslan does sacrifice his life to save Edmund, who is a traitor, effectively Judas, in fact.

In a book grounded more in the real world, it is similar to Jane Eyre, which I think they mention in the interview with Shannon Hale in the Guide. Jane abandons her true love because to marry him would break one of God's laws. As Mr Rochester is married, albeit to a mad woman, Jane cannot marry him, in spite of his mad wife's unfaithfulness. The church recognises him as married, so that means if she does marry him, she is entering into a bigamist marriage. So she runs away from the temptation, and considers joining St John in a missionary's life in India. Plenty of parallels as far as theological dangers go, and Jane's possible future with St John (which would involve marriage) is certainly a noble one. That's the only one I can think of that comes close.
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Re: Explorations

Postby corona » Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:38 am

Yes, it makes perfect sense, December. My references to real world and storybook world were unclear, so let me clarify.

By the way, Tornado, your reference to Narnia is apt. I can't think of any fantasy story, other than Twilight, where literal theological concerns crop up. Even Narnia uses allegory. Your prior references to storybook world in the Ambivalences thread as being basically good vs evil instead of the literal true eternal are important as well.

It's hard to separate this thread from the Ambivalences thread, but I will try to keep this centered on characters and complications of plot.

This storybook world is based on the real world with modifications that allow Edward and Bella to have a relationship. Specifically, demonic elements of vampirism do not exist in this particular storybook world. The relationship has elements of danger, but not necessarily moral pitfalls. Views can differ on that, but SM's intention was clear, that there was nothing inherently morally wrong with Bella wanting to be with Edward. Edward's primary issue in the original book is exactly as you stated, that turning Bella will cut her off from humanity and her friends and family.

Yes, storybook world and mythical Edward should be the same thing. That's the way it is always done. You never invoke the literal true eternal. But, Edward does and essentially separates himself from the storybook. Mythical Edward enters the storybook world, but then passes through into the literal real world. He fears that his own soul is either damned or destroyed and will not risk doing this to Bella.

This is a massive complication, but a brilliant reason for Edward to leave Bella. Who can argue with his motivations?

Pity poor Bella, caught in the middle. She clearly wants to play by the storybook rules, but Edward does not. Real girl enters storybook world where she meets Edward. Real girl now wants to become the storybook world with Edward by her side, but mythical Edward steps into the literal real world and tries to pull Bella with him and leave her there with a Gideon's Bible on her nightstand.

Eclipse returns primarily to those themes that Edward was concerned about in the original book, but what happens to the literal religious questions posed in New Moon? There are, in fact, no hard theological issues with Bella wanting to live with Edward forever. Nothing is there, SM took care of ALL of that in Twilight. The only things left are the theological matters of conscience that Edward wrestles with and that Bella avoids. They are just as consequential, though. As long as Edward believes that turning Bella will damn her soul, then it doesn't matter that he factually does not. Questions about Bella separating from her father pale in comparison. If you had your eye on those matters of theology that do not appear to be resolved by the end of New Moon, then the matters in Eclipse seem almost trivial.

There is, however, an element in Eclipse that Bella seems to relate to and that overlaps the storybook rules with the literal real world, and that is the issue of children. "Go forth and multiply". The soul belongs to the true eternal, but God does give us a form of earthly immortality through our children. Bella understands in Eclipse that that is no longer a possibility, and maybe SM wanted her to see that as a way of making her understand what Edward is trying to tell her. Perhaps that is the only way that Bella can dimly comprehend. And, it certainly links up with BD. These are subtler issues, though, and trickier to put down on paper, especially after Edward's soul complications. But, it is possible.

Unfortunately, Jacob is Bigfooting everything at this point. His presence has grown so large that he often overshadows the romance between B&E. Perhaps there are subtleties we were meant to see in that mountaintop kiss, but I really, really have to work at it. I shouldn't have to work so hard. Sorry, can't help it, but I'm watching Bella suck face with Jacob. That tends to obscure any revelations that Bella is getting. The message I got was that SM was sending a valentine to Jacob by giving him a piece of Bella, and Edward gets another slap for New Moon.

And yet, Bella never wavers. She sucks face with Jacob, tells him she wants it all "real bad", and then wants his warm arms instead of Edward's cold ones when she finally leaves La Push. That looks a little wavy to me, but SM tells us specifically that, no, she never wavered. OK, I'll buy that. Then Bella must be wavering from something other than her committment to Edward. I'll buy that too. No problem there. But that means that the real message we were supposed to get wasn't clear. Well, at least it didn't come through immediately for me. That seems to be the only way to square the story with SM's interviews, is that Bella is wavering from leaving the human world behind, not wavering from Edward. Jacob is simply the lens through which she can visualize what she is giving up. OK, got it, but it sure didn't feel like that when I first read it and it's hard not to trust your instincts.

Whatever remaining issues there are have a perfect moment for clarity when Edward hears Renesmee for the first time. In fact, that moment is flawless. Edward learns that he isn't a monster. Bella reaffirms her faith in Edward that she has maintained ever since the meadow. Theological matters of conscience are settled. I could go on for several paragraphs describing just how perfect everything could have come together at that very moment, but Jacob ends up Bigfooting everything again. He leaves, and we have to leave with him.

December, concerning issues that you and Jazz Girl have had aesthetically with the choices made and Bella's delivery scene: is it possible that it could have made things better for you if it was made clear that many issues were actually resolved before the delivery? There is a distinct impression that SM is swooping in to save our young couple from the moral perils of their choices, but what if those perils were proven false before Bella nearly dies? What if that delivery scene simply becomes one of trying to save Bella's life and SM really just wanted to do that scene for the thrill of writing it and giving Edward the final needed push to break Bella's skin with his teeth? No moral ambiguity. Edward's new-found optimism is based on the revelation that he is not a monster, and that he has a soul. Bella's faith in him is justified, and Bella faces no moral consequences herself.

Also, I can definitely see how Jacob may represent the "real world" and Edward the fictional world, but what was your reaction when Jacob steps into the fictional world himself and is made immortal through his imprinting on another immortal? That is a very interesting way to relate to this story, and I think it has validity, but doesn't Jacob kind of mess that up at the end?
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: Explorations

Postby Tornado » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:23 pm

I agree, Corona. Your post does sort of fit the Ambivalences thread!

I really wish (not going to happen, but hey, I can dream) that we could have BD from Edward's point of view. Knowing what he is going through at those points and how he is working through them, and exactly when which revelations come to him when, would be very helpful. Even Bella's version in Forever Dawn would be helpful in this. We may have got a lot of the surface level story seeing it from Jake's point of view, but the deep character level changes are lost, even in terms of Jake's own development when we switch back to Bella's narration. Most of her changes in BD are physical, so they're not hard to comprehend, but both of the other major characters have major internal changes, and knowing a bit more about that would be helpful.
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Re: Explorations

Postby December » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:24 pm

No question about it, Ambivalences and Explorations are sort of developing hand in hand. Just been posting over there (finally making a start anyway!) and it's clear we're circling around a closely entwined set of questions. But that's ok; it's happened before (on the original Choices and TUGMP threads, for instance). I'm not all that fussed about strict separation of topics if the conversation seems to hang together. If something from the other thread seems really germane, you can always just link to it (step by step instructions for creating links here for anyone who needs them). If the two convos start really converging, I'll pull the relevant posts back together onto one thread.

And now....I'm going to read through your complicated explanation, Corona, and see if I follow you.
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Re: Explorations

Postby corona » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:15 pm

Back at you, December. I can see we have a different viewpoint, but both see the moral issues as central to story.

I apologize, I came to Twilight after BD was already published and blew through EC and went straight on through. I was yelling at Jacob the entire time. I didn't have to live with EC for very long like you did.

I was expecting a moral resolution in BD without the desperation, and so I found EC confusing and BD's resolution unsatisfying. You saw EC as essentially resolving that issue, which was the acceptance of sacrifice. Neither one of us got exactly what we wanted or expected in BD.

I'm posting quickly, I have to run. Just after I did my previous one I saw your Ambivalences post, and can now see that you are on another track entirely. Well, this is fun!
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: Explorations

Postby December » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:50 pm

Oh crikey, you're too fast for me. I was just previewing a long reply when your latest post came in. Very fun! If getting altogether too tangled. I'm losing track now of where our views are converging and diverging. (*pictures complicated macrame*). On reflection, I think I'll save my post for tomorrow when I can proof it with a clear head. Almost 2am now. Talk to you tomorrow!
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Re: Explorations

Postby December » Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:34 am


Ok. Posting now by daylight!

Corona wrote:This storybook world is based on the real world with modifications that allow Edward and Bella to have a relationship. Specifically, demonic elements of vampirism do not exist in this particular storybook world. The relationship has elements of danger, but not necessarily moral pitfalls. Views can differ on that, but SM's intention was clear, that there was nothing inherently morally wrong with Bella wanting to be with Edward. Edward's primary issue in the original book is exactly as you stated, that turning Bella will cut her off from humanity and her friends and family.

Yes, storybook world and mythical Edward should be the same thing. That's the way it is always done. You never invoke the literal true eternal. But, Edward does and essentially separates himself from the storybook. Mythical Edward enters the storybook world, but then passes through into the literal real world. He fears that his own soul is either damned or destroyed and will not risk doing this to Bella.

This is a massive complication, but a brilliant reason for Edward to leave Bella. Who can argue with his motivations?

Pity poor Bella, caught in the middle. She clearly wants to play by the storybook rules, but Edward does not. Real girl enters storybook world where she meets Edward. Real girl now wants to become the storybook world with Edward by her side, but mythical Edward steps into the literal real world and tries to pull Bella with him and leave her there with a Gideon's Bible on her nightstand.

Oh dear. I'm sorry to say I'm still struggling here. Partly because it's late as usual and I'm being dim. Partly, I suspect, because any time one starts discussing meta-levels it all gets very hard to keep track of. But interesting! So if you can bear to keep elucidating, I'm all ears. I think it would help if you could unpack for me some of the terms you're using. For starters, can you explain the "literal true eternal"? Afraid you've lost me there. Not sure I'm following you either when you talk about "mythical Edward" and "storybook Edward". And when you say he "passes through into the literal real world"...you mean (presumably) real from Bella's standpoint, right? (I mean, we're all still waiting for Edward to pass into the REAL real world -- our real world... *grin*). Ouch, my brain hurts....

On to the solid ground of the rest of your post.

corona wrote:God does give us a form of earthly immortality through our children. Bella understands in Eclipse that that is no longer a possibility, and maybe SM wanted her to see that as a way of making her understand what Edward is trying to tell her.

Oh wow. I was thinking exactly this a couple of weeks ago (sent a very incoherent email to Ouisa on the subject). I just suddenly had a flash of understanding why Stephenie felt she needed to give Edward and Bella a child -- that compared to leaving children behind one in the world, even eternal life somehow seems pale and insubstantial. Somehow, projecting oneself forever into the future without ADDING something to that future feels a little ike being a wraith, passing through time without quite living in it, making contact with it.... Anyways, it was a sudden vivid sense of that connection between children and immortality.


His presence has grown so large that he often overshadows the romance between B&E. Perhaps there are subtleties we were meant to see in that mountaintop kiss, but I really, really have to work at it. I shouldn't have to work so hard. Sorry, can't help it, but I'm watching Bella suck face with Jacob. That tends to obscure any revelations that Bella is getting. The message I got was that SM was sending a valentine to Jacob by giving him a piece of Bella, and Edward gets another slap for New Moon.

Goodness, but we are brainshadowing today. I was just drafting a post for Ambivalences on the subject of TGDS. It's way too late to finish it up and post tonight, but I'll try and get it up tomorrow, and edit a link back in here.


December, concerning issues that you and Jazz Girl have had aesthetically with the choices made and Bella's delivery scene: is it possible that it could have made things better for you if it was made clear that many issues were actually resolved before the delivery?

Ok, I know this is terrible of me but the only thing that comes into my head is "sorry, can't go there". Just. Can't. As far as I'm concerned, that scene is so out of kilter with how I read this story -- how it took shape in my head over that long year of waiting -- that I can't even begin to enumerate my issues.

But more generally, I guess I should clarify that I don't think BD fails to resolve the moral dilemmas the story raises; I just see it as a missed opportunity to resolve them in a truly, gloriously satisfying and romantic way. As I was just explaining in my latest post on Ambivalences.


ETA
Corona wrote:I apologize, I came to Twilight after BD was already published and blew through EC and went straight on through. I was yelling at Jacob the entire time. I didn't have to live with EC for very long like you did.

Heh. You and a lot of other people. And apologies are hardly called for!

But yes, it definitely changes one's perspective, having the luxury of really settling down to make sense of EC. I have to say that personally I found EC (as Bella would say) ridiculously easy to live with. Which was maybe just as dangerous in my case as hers. It's definitely an annoying book in lots of ways (rereading NM I've realized how much more I like Jacob in NM than EC); but as you'll have gathered (*grin*), I rather fell in love with the story arc EC was plotting out for us.

And of course one of the beauties of that particular reading of the story was that it sort of took the sting out of TGDS and the whole love triangle (at least for me; Truelove and the other Choices Swoonies. might disagree!). More successfully (I think) than the solution (Nessie) BD comes up with. So lingering over the problems posed by EC brought its own reward....
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Re: Explorations

Postby smitten_by_twilight » Mon Jul 25, 2011 3:31 am

OMG, even more thoughtful things going on, and I don't even have time to read right now! (12:30 am local.) I have been absent for a while because RL is kicking my behind, but look very much forward to re-entering the convo ASAP ... whenever that will be.
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