Bella Swan Cullen #3

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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Heart_in_Hand » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:27 pm

Hey guys,

I just wanted to start out by saying you have some really good points HOFJ. But I just wanted to point out one thing that I think might have had an effect on how you see Bella as opposed to Edward. The book was written from her perspective. While I'm not denying that Edward was quite self-less, I think he did some of the things he did for selfish reasons. The only thing is we can't really be sure because we see him though Bella's eyes, and she sees him as completely perfect and self-less. If we could see for ourselves into Edward's head when he was making some of his decisions, we might see some of them had a least a bit of selfishness to them.

I think what I like so much about all of the characters in Twilight is that they are all so imperfect, yet so admirable at the same time. I do remember thinking during New Moon, "why do these guys even like Bella?" but the thing is that she really does want to make things better. It killed her to see the pain that she puts Jacob and (to a lesser extent) her other friends though when Edward was gone. And when Edward got back, she pretty much had everything she wanted, so there was no more need to be selfish. Sure, she wanted Jacob to stay around, but I guess I can't put all the blame on her for that. Jacob kept coming back, which made Bella happy, but also caused her to feel the guilt of all she had done to him over and over again. Several times Jake said that he was cool with it and that he would be better about it, but he wasn't. I don't blame him for feeling the way he did, but I do think he should have stayed away no matter how bad he wanted to be with Bella. I know if someone who hurt me asked me to come back around so we can still be friends, even... no especially if I still loved them, I would stay away. The only person we can control is ourselves, ya know?

In short, I don't know if I agree that Bella "used" people, but I can say that she took what others were willing to give in the way of emotional, mental, and physical support. Goodness knows she needed it. And I think she at least tried to give back whatever she could. She cared for people (taking care of her mom, cooking for Charlie, helping Angela with the thank you cards, telling Mike to ask Jess out) it's just that most of the time in the story (being the heroine and all) she needed to take care of herself first.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by holdingoutforjacob » Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:31 pm

That's true, about us being able to see Bella's selfishness easier. Although, I'm not a big Edward fan, and I certainly can see where he's selfish. But I still believe his firmest wish is that Bella be safe. I think he goes about that wrong, certainly at times, but that's a pretty selfless basic want you know?

Bella, on the other hand, is entirely concerned about getting everything she wants (which is to be turned into a vampire BY Edward exactly when SHE wants it).

I think you misunderstand what I see as her being selfish. I don't think she was all that selfish when Edward was gone. Pathetic? Yes. Whiny, weak, melodramatic? Yeah. But not so much selfish.

The way she treated Jacob while Edward was gone was not selfish. Her dropping him like a hot potato, then picking him back up, then dropping him again, all to her convenience? That's selfish. It wasn't selfish of her to want to still be friends with him, but to treat him the way she did, that was selfish. Even in the end of New Moon.

I don't understand why it's Jacob's responsibility to make it easier for Bella by staying away from her. It sounds like you're blaming him for coming back because he caused her guilt?

This is what I don't get about Bella, and the people around her. They truly seem to think that she should be protected at all times from the consequences of her actions.

I don't mean to seem disagreeable here, but since you said you were going to try to change my mind, I figured I should explain why it didn't work! I think we just see it opposite of each other, and that can't be helped!
Last edited by holdingoutforjacob on Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Asheleyo » Fri Nov 13, 2009 10:53 pm

HOFJ, I just wanted to point out that, having read Midnight Sun's partial release, we do have a better understanding of Edward. If you haven't read it, then I won't go into detail. But it is entirely untrue that Edward didn't ask for any of this. When he fell in love with Bella, he made the conscious choice to pursue her as long as he could, with as much care as he could. Instead of leaving, knowing that his involvement in her life would put her at risk, he stayed at first. He could have continued ignoring her, and Bella would have eventually moved on with her life. But he initiated contact again, he sought her in her room. He wanted to learn everything he could about her, and in doing so he got her so very interested in him. Bella is far from blameless, but she is far from fully responsible as well.

Edward did ask for Bella's attention, and, even if he was denying it to himself, he asked for her love for him because he followed through with his feelings for her instead of turning his back on them and leaving her to her life.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by holdingoutforjacob » Fri Nov 13, 2009 11:15 pm

Well, I haven't read Midnight Sun. Feel like you're jumping down my throat a bit, but that's probably a misconception on my part.

Edward decided he would love her, he would pursue her, yes. But he also knew it was "wrong" and it caused him great grief, guilt, and pain. Even when their happy ending came, Bella would be beyond bliss, and there would have been a part of Edward which would have always felt guilty with any other outcome. His conflict caused him such pain, while Bella gives, truthfully, merely a few moments consideration to what she will be giving up.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Esme echo » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:03 am

heart_in_hand wrote:In short, I don't know if I agree that Bella "used" people, but I can say that she took what others were willing to give in the way of emotional, mental, and physical support. Goodness knows she needed it. And I think she at least tried to give back whatever she could.
I'm interested in this comment by heart_in_hand (empahsis added). Through most of New Moon Bella is weighing the advisability of taking what Jacob was offering her--more than friendship. She truly believed Edward was never coming back and she wondered if it was right or fair or useless to try and make Jacob happy and find a little substitute happiness for herself.

Jacob knew very well that Bella wasn't over Edward--even though he couldn't understand what in the world she saw in the filthy bloodsucker. He was hurt when Bella chose the vampires over him when Alice showed up--and I don't blame him--but he really shouldn't have been surprised. He knew Bella was still hurting so bad that she couldn't talk about them, or even say Edward's name. He was being deliberately blind to her emotional state, focusing on his love for Bella and his desire for her to reciprocate that love.

I could on about Jacob's hopes and wishes blinding him to the reality that Bella was always irrevocably tied to Edward, absent or not, but it's late, and I'm tired! Keep talking, HOFJ; I value your perspective!
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Asheleyo » Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:09 am

holdingoutforjacob wrote:Well, I haven't read Midnight Sun. Feel like you're jumping down my throat a bit, but that's probably a misconception on my part.

Edward decided he would love her, he would pursue her, yes. But he also knew it was "wrong" and it caused him great grief, guilt, and pain. Even when their happy ending came, Bella would be beyond bliss, and there would have been a part of Edward which would have always felt guilty with any other outcome. His conflict caused him such pain, while Bella gives, truthfully, merely a few moments consideration to what she will be giving up.
I'm definitely not jumping down your throat, just offering a different opinion. I feel like Edward has to accept the consequences of choosing to go after Bella. And, I know we're getting from Bella's skewed perspective, but I think Edward is truly happy at the end. I honestly don't think he'll feel like he took much away from her or be tortured for eternity even mildly. What he was afraid of taking away from her was family and the possibility of a child and the human things. But Bella got her human things, she gets her dad, she gets her child. I think Bella gets all the things she wanted not just because it makes her happy ending, but because it gives Edward the chance at his happy ending, unimpeded by nasty thoughts about making Bella turn her back on life.

Also, I don't think Bella was behaving all that badly with Jacob at the end of New Moon and onward. I don't think she was being any worse than Jacob. He can't have expected her to not leave to try to save him, but it pissed him off and he read it as she cared more for Edward than she did for him. Well, he should have known that already. But he let it offend him, and what he did with it was sulk for a while and then attempt to get her back in his life, compete for her. What Bella wanted was her friend. She had formed a close bond with Jacob throughout New Moon, and it's only natural that she would feel compelled to keep up with that bond, she would want to see Jacob. It wasn't till after Jacob forces her to kiss him in Eclipse that we start to see Bella really dragging on between Jacob and Edward. And I feel like any harm she does to Jacob in that time is at least half his fault. No matter what, she still missed her friend. And she wanted Edward. So she wanted both. So what? There are tons of people in that situation. And the only reason it was difficult for them was because of the whole werewolf-vampire thing. But she never absolutely insisted that Edward get along with Jacob, just that she be allowed to see her friend. I don't find that so inexcusably selfish.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Heart_in_Hand » Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:00 pm

holdingoutforjacob wrote:Bella, on the other hand, is entirely concerned about getting everything she wants (which is to be turned into a vampire BY Edward exactly when SHE wants it).
I don't mean to be overly nit-picky, but I would love to hear some concrete examples of how Bella is "entirely concerned" about only getting what she wants. I cited some examples of how she cared for the needs and wants of other people. It's just that, while I can agree that Bella did vie to get some of the things she wanted, I feel like this statement sounds too much like a fact when it really is more of an opinion.

holdingoutforjacob wrote:I don't understand why it's Jacob's responsibility to make it easier for Bella by staying away from her. It sounds like you're blaming him for coming back because he caused her guilt?
I didn't mean it like that. What I was trying to say was that it was Jacob's responsibility to make it easier on himself. Just as it is not up to Jake to make the situation easier for Bella, it was not Bella's job to make things easier on Jacob. They both had decisions to make, and they both made some bad ones. I don't blame either of them for wanting to be near one another, but I think they both needed to accept the fact that they were just not ready for that. Both Bella and Jacob had the power to resit the urge to see the other, but they didn't, despite the pain it brought them both. to relate this to the idea of selfishness, they were both selfish to continue to put themselves in the presence of the other person each time they made the individual choice to do so.

holdingoutforjacob wrote:I don't mean to seem disagreeable here, but since you said you were going to try to change my mind, I figured I should explain why it didn't work! I think we just see it opposite of each other, and that can't be helped!
You have every right to disagree. I don't remember saying I was going to try to change your mind. I did say that "I just wanted to point out one thing that I think might have had an effect on how you see Bella as opposed to Edward". I should have made it clear that I think that fact has an effect on how everyone sees Bella. I didn't expect that by pointing out that fact I would change your mind in any way. I just meant to imply that because we see every moment though Bella's eyes we get to see exactly what she wants in every situation. This can definitely make it seem like Bella is selfish, maybe more-so than she really is, simply because we are seeing inside her mind; her wants, her needs, her dreams. It's really all about her because that is essentially who the book is about/following.

I really hope this is making sense. It is easy for me to argue both for and against pretty much all of these characters because I don't really like or dislike any of them more than the other. None of them are perfect, and all of them have flaws. I just think we should also try to see the good points in every character too, because they all have them. Even silly, clumsy, emotional, human Bella.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by holdingoutforjacob » Sat Nov 14, 2009 8:27 pm

Heart_in_Hand, forgive me. I wrote out a nice long reply, with quotes and spaces and smilies and the works, only to have it deleted when I tried to post it. It was awesome. So here's the second try!

First of all, I know you weren't, like, trying to force me into your opinion or anything! I just meant that I felt like I sounded awfully argumentative, and I wanted to make sure that you knew that I was just sort of responding to your "arguments" and to why I wasn't agreeing with you!

Now that that's taken care of, and since I've already written this once and had plenty of time to think about it, I think I may need to revise my original statement. I do see where you're coming from, that since we see Bella's motives and thoughts, she probably does come off more selfish to us than the other characters, since we don't know their motivations. You're absolutely right in that. However, I'd like to argue that that doesn't mean Bella isn't selfish, only that we can see it more clearly, and the others may be equally bad. In my defense I'd like to state that when I assess the other character's motives, I do consider what SM has told us of their motivations.

As for my statement of "Bella is selfish" coming off as fact, to me, it is a fact, because it's for sure how I feel about it. Doesn't mean it has to be a fact to you. I'm sorry if it came of as me saying it as a general fact, I thought it was clear because I was responding to Esme's post about why I thought Bella was more disparaged than Edward, that I was giving my own opinion. Sorry for the confusion, it's entirely my fault!

Okay, on to when Bella is selfish. I think her selfishness really comes up most with Edward. Not only does she want to become a vampire, which she knows will cause him serious guilt and pain, but she wants HIM to be the one to do it, which she knows is killing him due to the fear he'll mess it up and the fact that he knows it's wrong for it to happen at all. But then beyond that, she is determined to have sex with him while she's still a human, which she knows is also killing him. And none of that seems to weigh on her decision at all. If she even considers it, it's for a fraction of a second before deciding that her wants are simply more important.

Now, it's important to me that I note that Bella's selfishness here can be seen not so much in her actions as her thoughts behind those actions. Had she given serious thought to becoming a vampire, had she really and truly considered the pain her conditions were putting Edward in, and decided it was worth it to spend eternity with him (which it was) I would have nothing to say about it.

As for Bella and Jacob, I don't think it was selfish of them merely to put themselves in the other's presence. Is the pain you cause yourself really selfish? However, the pain they caused each other through not thinking about how their words and actions affected each other was definitely selfish. For Jacob, that meant his disparaging remarks about Edward. For Bella, that meant the fact that every single time they argued, she had the upper hand, she had control, and she could have stopped the conversation before someone got hurt, and didn't. The ultimate example of this is her wedding. She had the power to keep that from deteriorating the way it did. Jacob made a serious effort to come to the wedding because he knew it was important to her, and then once he got there, it was her responsibility, knowing that, to try and make it easier for him. When you know someone is doing their best to do something nice for you, and to keep it together for you, it is your responsibility to facilitate that, or at least not make it harder. Or, if you don't care enough to do that, at least to accept some responsibility for it.

Maybe that's not selfishness though. In fact, I think it's not. I think it's thoughtlessness and self-centeredness.

Okay. I think that's everything I wanted to say in response to your post.

I wanted to bring up something else though. I think that another thing that makes people more disparaging of Bella in this case than Edward is the fact that she's never had to take responsibility for her own actions, never had to really face any negative consequences for them. Everyone around her works overtime to make sure she doesn't, and when it's beyond their control, SM steps in with a weirdo twist in logic to facilitate that she not ever have to really lose anything. I think it's why I liked Kate so much. I felt like "FINALLY someone who is willing to stand up to Bella and tell her to man up!!"
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by Jazz Girl » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:08 pm

holdingoutforjacob wrote:I wanted to bring up something else though. I think that another thing that makes people more disparaging of Bella in this case than Edward is the fact that she's never had to take responsibility for her own actions, never had to really face any negative consequences for them. Everyone around her works overtime to make sure she doesn't, and when it's beyond their control, SM steps in with a weirdo twist in logic to facilitate that she not ever have to really lose anything. I think it's why I liked Kate so much. I felt like "FINALLY someone who is willing to stand up to Bella and tell her to man up!!"
I suppose I should preface my response to this by saying I'm not an absolute Bella lover. I find her to be a worth-while heroine and a strong woman in the end. But, there are, in fact moments when I want to shake her so hard her teeth rattle, when I am absolutely at my end to try to make sense of her. That being said, it does bother me that there are those out there who believe she got off easy, that she was let off the hook. I guess I just don't see it. Yes, Bella got her child, her best friend and the man that she loves. But, that doesn't mean she didn't suffer to get them. I think it was Ashley) who pointed out to us so succinctly how. But, while life does work out in ways they never expected, life isn't going to be perfect. No matter how much we want to believe it. Looking back and looking forward, there is acute suffering in Bella's past, as well as in her future. To just blithely state, "Bella got everything she wanted without earning it," I just think is incredibly unfair.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Post by holdingoutforjacob » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:15 pm

I'm not denying that Bella suffered. But I disagree that she's a strong woman or person. I feel like Bella got through everything she got through because she was surrounded by extraordinary people, not because she herself was particularly extraordinary. She did some extraordinary things, in both Twilight and Breaking Dawn.

I wouldn't say it's a question of whether or not she "earned" it. I think you could make arguments either way. But I do think that it's incredibly frustrating that everyone around her works so hard to make sure she doesn't have any negative consequences to her actions, that she never has to feel bad about anything. I'm not denying that she does feel bad, in a very self-pitying way.
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