Explorations (**BD2 Movie Spoilers!**)

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December
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Re: Explorations

Post by December » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:20 pm

Agreed: one has to look beyond that unreal beauty -- which is, as Bella observes, actually a kind of warning to humankind -- to what lies within, because in the case of 99.99% of vampires you will look in vain for the heroic selflessness and denial that makes the Cullens' angelic beauty so morally fitting. Ordinary carnivorous vampires like Garrett and Co. may be decent enough if you set aside their diet (as we well might if we didn't happen to be their cows and chickens!). But they don't begin to approach the Cullens for steadfast self-sacrifice. And the truly evil vampires lurk beneath equally breathtaking good looks.

But I think what I was getting at was sort of the inverse: imagining what the story would feel like if vampires' outward appearance were as loathsome (to us) as their practices are (again, to us). Which is how they presumably seem to Jake. Picturing the imaginative handicap we'd be under as readers if we had to struggle to look beyond their repulsive appearance. I know, I know: it's VERY hard to reimagine this story if Edward weren't also gorgeous. But intriguing....
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Re: Explorations

Post by Jazz Girl » Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:32 pm

December wrote:But I think what I was getting at was sort of the inverse: imagining what the story would feel like if vampires' outward appearance were as loathsome (to us) as their practices are (again, to us). Which is how they presumably seem to Jake. Picturing the imaginative handicap we'd be under as readers if we had to struggle to look beyond their repulsive appearance. I know, I know: it's VERY hard to reimagine this story if Edward weren't also gorgeous. But intriguing....
And therein may lay my handicap in this arena. Nothing within the text ever indicated to me that Jacob found their look to be loathsome, just that he assumed (oh there's that word ;) )that they were all vicious thoughtless soulless animals. After all, he does accuse her of being only attracted to Edward's looks, thus acknowledging that he can't be completely repulsive. But, I do see your point. It might be a very different story if the Cullens (and all the Twi-vampires) resembled, say, zombies, as opposed to beautiful works of art.
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December
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Re: Explorations

Post by December » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:01 pm

No, you're absolutely right, JG: it's not like the werewolves see them through an actual visual filter; it's more like their awareness of what the vampires are -- undead bloodsuckers -- is such an overwhelming gut-instinct that vampires might as well be as literally hideous as zombies. Or at least as creepy as window-dummies. So that we'd get a very different picture if the wolves had been narrating this series from the start. Or even one of the other humans, who after all find the Cullens seriously unnerving (though objectively good-looking). But you and I, we're just completely handicapped by the compelling authority of Bella's narrative. As we were meant to be! After all, Stephenie's task from the start is to help us understand how Bella could fall irrevocably in love with a boy who wants to kill her. We NEED to see Edward through her glamour-struck eyes.
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Re: Explorations

Post by Tornado » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:30 pm

You've done it again! Stop having these conversations while I'm asleep! ;)
corona wrote:Bella and Edward are grandfathered in, Jacob is not. Someone needs to arrest that boy. :D
Give me a crowbar, and directions to La Push, and I'll go and get him myself! :D
corona wrote: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.
While I don't excuse him because of his youth either, I think it can take a bit more than a couple of months to get over someone, especially if that someone turns around and marries your mortal enemy. As Jake himself says later in the book, when at the park, maybe in a while he could take that girl out for a drive and see if he liked her as a person, but he's just not there yet. Even without Renesmee, I think he would have got there eventually, but it's not something we can all do within the span of a couple of months. Sometimes it takes longer.
corona wrote: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.
I'm guessing you are playing Devil's Advocate here, because wasn't Jacob's love always meant to represent the "normal" human love? He is always supposed to be the more "natural" choice, so I don't know if it can be cut both ways and say that the way he feels for her is both normal and supernatural, unless the supernatural part relates to Nessie.
corona wrote: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.
Even if Nessie had caused Bella's death, and Edward hadn't had the benefit of hearing her, I don't think Edward would have gone so far as to kill Nessie. The fact that Bella loved Nessie would have stopped him. There's something very warped about Jacob thinking that killing her is the answer to Bella's death, as he himself acknowledges, when he realises that Bella would kill him herself for what he is about to do. I get that he's hurt and angry and distressed by Bella's loss, but it's not a great reaction to have, and doesn't show great character.
Last edited by Tornado on Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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December
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Re: Explorations

Post by December » Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:38 pm

Tornado wrote:Give me a crowbar, and directions to La Push, and I'll go and get him myself!

No no no no. You may have a sledgehammer or a pickaxe, or a bazooka or any other implement you like for wolf-whomping -- but I'm afraid crowbars have been reserved strictly for Edward-bashing.... (*grin*).
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Re: Explorations

Post by Tornado » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:40 pm

Hey, I'll take all of the above if you've got them! ;)
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Re: Explorations

Post by Jazz Girl » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:55 pm

Tornado wrote: While I don't excuse him because of his youth either, I think it can take a bit more than a couple of months to get over someone, especially if that someone turns around and marries your mortal enemy. As Jake himself says later in the book, when at the park, maybe in a while he could take that girl out for a drive and see if he liked her as a person, but he's just not there yet. Even without Renesmee, I think he would have got there eventually, but it's not something we can all do within the span of a couple of months. Sometimes it takes longer.
I think I would be more likely to be swayed by this argument if Bella was ever Jacob's to lose. But, the fact is that she never was. There was a period of time, a few months during which Bella relied on Jacob, leaned on him exclusively. But, it was never romantic, never intimate. And Jacob was more aware than anyone that it was because of the absence of Edward rather than her preference for him. Jacob had no claim on Bella other than the one that he created for himself despite her protestations and flat explanations that it would never be. Jacob's feelings were valid, but they were never going to be reciprocated. It was almost as if the more he was told he wouldn't and couldn't have her, the more he dug in his heals, insisting that he was right and everyone else was wrong. So, while I didn't expect him just to get over it, I certainly had some expectation that he act like a man in the face fo the situation, rather than a pouting, petulant child.
Tornado wrote:Hey, I'll take all of the above if you've got them! ;)
Now now!!! Don't you go having all that fun without me. I've always felt that the business end of my garden spade wielded with some guard-girl finesse and mama-bear righteous indignation might just be what was needed to get through to that boy. But, hey, if you want to go straight to the bazooka, who am I to stop you? ;)
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Re: Explorations

Post by Tornado » Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:27 am

Jazz Girl, I agree that he went into the whole thing knowing that he was the also-ran, and that the chance of success was slim, but that doesn't mean it's going to be easy to get over, especially if he did think he was in with a chance a couple of times.

By all means, come and join in! You bring your spade, and I'll take the crow bar!
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Re: Explorations

Post by Openhome » Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:52 am

I'm just popping in to let you know that the site will undergo maintenance this weekend, sometime early Saturday morning EST(and I mean EARLY!) It should be fairly painless and quick, but if you come on and we are not showing up, please give it a few minutes and try again.

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Re: Explorations

Post by corona » Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:17 pm

December,

Dang, you're really hammering away on these Death themes. By the way, there is a YA story out there, might be made into a movie, about a zombie that falls in love with a girl after eating the brains of her boyfriend. Honest. SM even read it and recommended it. I don't know if I could relate to that, I tend to be a literalist. Dead is dead. Edward isn't dead because he smells good and his parts aren't falling off. Zombies are dead and they look dead and they smell bad. I don't know, maybe the putrefying, oozing pus of this particular zombie smells good and sparkles in the sun (or the moonlight, or off a dying flashlight as he zombie walks towards you in a deserted alley).

And when Bella tells Jacob she would rather Edward wasn't rich or good-looking? Didn't believe it for a second. I know what she is trying to say, but it isn't Edward's personality that initially attracts her.

Jacob's initial reaction to the vampires is something I understood, but I tend to side with Jazz Girl on that, Jacob holds on to his disgust for personal prejudicial reasons. Perhaps if Jacob had described what he sees to Bella it would have had more impact.

Tornado,

Let me try to explain myself concerning prior remarks about Jacob. I'm just trying to organize my own thoughts on why I don't sympathize with Jacob.

Maybe we can start with the original Twilight book. You either bought the premise, or you didn't. Many of the critics were simply mean-spirited, but some of them had genuine personal issues with the book. Those critics either didn't like SM's style of writing, or they didn't accept the premise of extreme behavior caused by extreme love under extreme circumstances. I know there are other elements there in the series, but that is a critical license you have to grant SM and her lovers, that they are permitted to act the way they do, and that it is understandable that they do, and it is often right that they do.

For a small example of that, Edward spends the night with Bella after the meadow scene. That is a crossing of what is considered normal boundaries for underage teenagers, but Edward also sets certain boundaries himself, and everything is accepted and considered right. I had no problem with that at all. If I did have a problem with it, I would have stopped right there.

Those boundaries are stretched in New Moon when you get to Bella's near-suicidal behavior and Edward's definitely suicidal desire. There were probably a few fans who loved Twilight but were really upset with that Romeo and Juliet theme. I thought New Moon was brilliant, but then I have never revoked B&E's license to love each other to the extremes that they do.

In my opinion, what Stephenie was asking of us was to extend that license of extreme behavior to Jacob as well, because of his extreme love for Bella and the extreme circumstances he found himself in.

I think that she was asking us to accept a second love story that sits right beside the primary love story, and in some ways rivals it in importance.

If you accept that second love story, then you would have a great deal of sympathy for Jacob. If you don't accept it, then you don't have much sympathy for him. And if you don't accept it, then you would probably have some reactions akin to those critics of the original TW book (or NM). Not the mean-spirited critics, but the ones that simply didn't buy the premise and did not like the extreme behavior itself, considering the supernatural elements irrelevant.

Well, I don't have much sympathy for Jacob, I just really don't like him. A big part of that is that I gave B&E whatever license they needed, but I did not for Jacob. For myself, Jacob stayed in the human world, judged by human rules of behavior. Based on that, I did give Jacob a lot of latitude with his behavior in Eclipse, and that was due to him setting boundaries for himself. He wanted Bella to admit that she loved him. Goal accomplished. Jacob even tells Bella that this is essentially over, he knows he lost, and he will respect her choice and try to be good from now on. Regardless of how you view his methods, at the very least he appears to have set the endpoint and understands he has reached the end.

Jacob changes in BD, and he becomes the man who loves beyond any reason, whose behavior is to be excused because he loves Bella that much. And to any supporter of Jacob, I will gladly concede that that is exactly the way SM viewed Jacob.

These are roughly the main reasons why I didn't give Jacob that license that I gave to B&E:

1) I rejected the love triangle itself. I don't believe in love triangles or having two "soul mates". If they truly exist, I don't understand them at all. The element of committment is completely missing, it has to be missing in a love triangle. If there is no committment, then where is the love? I don't get it. I never got King Arthur and Guinevere and Lancelot. Stories about unfaithfulness and adultery are ugly and ultimately boring to me. Once it comes up, my attitude is basically "What's the point with this story, I really don't care anymore." I lose respect for the characters, and therefore I don't care what happens to them, so I don't want to waste my time reading or watching their story anymore.

I have been in a few "love triangles" myself, and love had nothing to do with it. They are depressing and enervating when you are doing the giving; that one didn't last long. It's better initially when you are on the receiving end, but I never fooled myself that I loved the girls, it was more about having my ego flattered. And, yeah, it ended up being depressing and enervating as well. Committment, that's the ticket, that's much much better and it fills you up instead of wringing you dry.

Bella presses against that line, although she doesn't quite cross it, remaining totally committed to Edward. I think she should have excersised more restraint in what she told Jacob at the end of Eclipse, and I think she should have defended Edward and her own decision more.

2) I rejected the fundamental premise of Jacob's extreme behavior. Namely, Bella is going to literally die or virtually die at the hands of Edward. We essentially have two competing visions within the story, Bella's vision and Edward's vision. Edward's vision begins to take hold in Eclipse, but it really needed a follow-through in BD to buttress it. BD is Bella's vision come to fruition. And despite the subtext of Eclipse and the suggestion of death themes, Bella has consistently proven to be in the right throughout the entire series, that she and Edward had to be together and that they would be fine.

If Bella is right and Edward is wrong, and if Jacob shares Edward's views, then Jacob is wrong as well. It can't be both ways, with Edward being wrong and Jacob being right.

If BD had taken on a darker tone and had become a blended form of both Bella's and Edward's vision of their future together, then I think Jacob would have become much more sympathetic (for me, at least). It really helps to be right on some points.

3) I didn't see the love, because I didn't experience the love. I don't deny it was there and that there were suggestive scenes. HOWEVER, Jacob suffers from the same problem that Bella does, which is that SM holds off from boldly proclaiming it until the end of Eclipse. Neither one of them are allowed to really show it to each other at the "soul mate" level, it just suddenly explodes there at the end. For the same reasons people didn't understand Bella there, I don't really understand Jacob. Does he love her? Sure. But there at the end of EC he suddenly goes white-hot and sustains that through the first half of BD. That actually isn't Jacob's problem, that's a story problem, so I'm being a little unfair with him.

Think about it. Jacob stays away for two months. Then he shows up and starts with the manipulation for one month. Then the explosion of soul mate, part deux. Then he is gone for two months again. Then he shows up and wants to kill Edward. He leaves. Three weeks go by and he shows up and wants to kill Edward again. Not much of a love story from Jacob's side, and it isn't exactly his fault either.

4) I accepted Jacob's extreme behavior as being entirely within the realm of human experience. Bella and Edward's bond and the intensity of that bond is outside the realm of human experience. I found Jacob's behavior completely recognizable. I read about men who behave the way he does in the news, and the results are tragic. I don't say that to slam Jacob, I say that because I can't find the foundation to support the view that Jacob simply cannot help himself and that he is driven beyond any human's ability to restrain themselves. There are a lot of men in prison that use the same rationale.

To use December's great phrase, B&E's story is one of "romantic possession". Jacob's story is one of "romantic obsession". One practical difference between the two is that Edward hated to see Bella in pain of any kind and never forgave himself for causing her pain. There was no difference between Bella being hurt and Edward being hurt (and that went for Bella as well). Jacob is more than willing to hurt Bella at any time, any place, under any circumstances. Twisting the knife in Bella's heart is something Jacob gets really skilled at. The fact that nothing good comes from it is irrelevant to him, it just means he needs to twist a little harder. Because, you know, he loves her and she'll thank him in the end.

Going back to his initial imprinting scene and his behavior afterwards, I found it to be unbelievable. If Jacob's story is one of obsession, then he should have realized that afterwards and that he was saved from a tragic ending by the grace of God (or by the grace of SM, or happenstance, or what have you). That would be a humbling experience and an eye-opening one. Instead, we see a Jacob that continues to be unable to help himself with his current behavior. Jacob shows no signs of guilt for his prior behavior. The only explanation I can come up with is that SM ascribes to him a form of that "romantic possession", which essentially elevates his love for Bella to the level of B&E. Yes, Jacob is Bella's "natural" choice, but Bella is something much more to Jacob.

Jacob makes the statement, "But I’ll love you the right way now. There’s finally a balance. We both have people we can’t live without." I take that as Jacob saying that he is glad that he can now love Bella the right way, now that there is a balance in both of their lives. His attitude changes due to events, not due to a new level of self-awareness and maturity, and Jacob knows this and tells Bella this. That is consistent with the theme of Jacob being unable to help himself due to his extraordinary love for Bella, and yes, a love that is beyond mere human judgment.

If I have one criticism of Stephenie's story, it is that. I hope everyone understands that I love Stephenie's story, but in this one aspect I think it was absolutely wrong not to have Jacob show some remorse. If I could change anything myself, I would change that one thing. Everything else can stay in, but I feel compelled to add just a few sentences where Jacob shows us that he understands he almost went off the deep end and did something wrong. My God, he contemplated murdering Nessie. THAT is where that type of obsession will take you. That is where it has taken many a young man and where it has ruined countless lives. To not have Jacob show remorse was a mistake. It sends the message that his contemplation of murder was merely a literary device to demonstrate just how much he loved Bella. He loved Bella so much, he would kill her only child. It sends chills down my spine. Here I was, ready to forgive and embrace Jacob, and he basically told us that no forgiveness is needed since there was nothing to forgive. I have to stop there, I am beginning my two-minute hate on Jacob again.
Jazz Girl wrote:Jacob had no claim on Bella other than the one that he created for himself despite her protestations and flat explanations that it would never be. Jacob's feelings were valid, but they were never going to be reciprocated. It was almost as if the more he was told he wouldn't and couldn't have her, the more he dug in his heals, insisting that he was right and everyone else was wrong.
That was my reaction too. I am not going to deny that love wasn't there, there was a huge amount. But there are aspects of young love (and first loves especially) that have a very dark and poisonous side. Most of us realize that when it is happening, that we are holding on when it is over, that nothing good can come from it, and even though it is agonizing we know we have to let go. It is no longer healthy for anyone. It feels like a betrayal at first and you want to fight harder, but it just makes things worse.
"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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