Ouisa! No! Come back! Don't go into the dark side! ...Er, wait, you and I are
the dark side. ....DON'T GO INTO THE LIGHT! The tunnel, STAY IN THE TUNNEL! OUISA! DON'T LEAVE ME WITH THE MANIACAL, RABID EDWARD FANGI--I mean, oh look bunnies!
December wrote:But I'm inclined to think that this isn't so much a giveaway of Edward's true psychology (he doesn't really love her the way she loves him) as a problem of narrative. For me, it's more plausibly (or at least interestingly) seen as reflection of the tremendous disparity between Edward's story and Bella's.
Nope, it's still Edward's fault. Don't try to convince me otherwise. Blaming Edward for everything bad makes me happy. Not to mention I live in my own world and in my world my logic--even when completely illogical--will always trump whatever you say no matter how rational and well-thought out. *maniacal grins*
I mean, let's go back to the very beginning and that archetypal dream-scenario in the Meadow: a boy and a girl desperately in love -- and he wants to kill her. On Bella's side you have the compulsive (and yes, in its own way, obsessional) attraction that impels her to give herself to him, knowing that it may mean her death. Not an ordinary romance, but still it's entirely the love which occupies her field of vision -- dominates it indeed to the exclusion of everything else including commonsense instincts of self preservation. On Edward's side, you have the same desperate passion, but it is overshadowed -- and all but overturned -- by the violent craving which leaves him poised on a knife edge between adoring Bella and destroying her.
Yes, because the world's clumsiest girl isn't self-destructive enough. She needs a repressed, controlling vampire with too many issues to enumerate to seal her fate. Oh joy.
Of course, there’s something a little creepy about Bella’s love too (as Stephenie’s critics have pointed out).
A little? How about a hell of a lot?
We are shown a girl so possessed by love that she can’t stay away, even if it literally kills her -- but very little concrete detail to explain what it is she’s fallen in love with beyond a velvet voice and a divine physique.*
Which nails the precise reason why I first began to have problems with this relationship. After the third breathless, gushing description of Edward's Adonis-like beauty, I was ready to enter a diabetic coma. We had nothing to go on character-wise; it was almost like he was just a pretty face and it is perfectly acceptable to change all your priorities just for a pretty face. I was raised to believe that physical traits are important--if the physical repulses you, it doesn't matter how wonderful a character the person has, you'll always turn away--nevertheless, character is still the most important and the only means through which to judge someone. However, we had nothing.
Of course, we were later introduced to his character and I promptly began wondering if injecting an air bubble into a vein and waiting for it to get lodged inside a capillary would be more entertaining and less painful than Edward...
But Stephenie has so perfectly captured the almost physiological exaltation of that fascination, breath by breath and heartbeat by heartbeat, that we are pulled in hypnotically too.
Except this romantic masquerading as a cynic who never actually read the book nor cared to until she heard about Aro.
Whereas Edward’s story, in this pulse-by-pulse perspective, is very rarely given over to the elation of being in love.
But we do get a blow by blow showcase of his god complex, his stalker characteristics, his insufferable arrogance (this coming from someone who admits to being insufferably arrogant and then shudders at the thought of sharing a characteristic with Edward)...
Indeed, if love were reliably at the forefront of Edward's mind, his problems would be solved.
Nope, I vote that if Emmett could finally yank the stick out of his butt, Edward's problems would be solved.
Love, for Bella, is like the exquisite scent that wafts from Edward’s jacket when she borrows it in Port Angeles: delicious, intoxicating.
Oh my upchuck reflex.
When Edward reclaims his jacket the next morning, he in turn breathes Bella’s scent lingering on it -- deliberately, painfully immerses himself in it. This is what love is for Edward -- burning now (as he puts it) so he will be more inured to the agonizing thirst when he sees Bella later. The contrast really couldn’t be starker.
I'll admit to this image being one of the few I liked (and not because Edward is suffering, though that may be partly it). I'm an author who likes to torture characters. I like pitting everything against them just to see how they stand the blows. Pain and suffering bring out one's true personality, stripped of all facades. At least with this, I agree with you. He withstood the agony with certain grace, even if his actions toward the source of his suffering may be irrational, creepy and sometimes downright frightening. I understand self-immolation, the desire to change one's fate, even applaud it. But I can't condone many of his actions toward Bella. The need to torture oneself doesn't mean you can torture another even of Bella is just as masochistic and senseless in this as he is.
...Am I incapable of saying something nice without working in an insult somewhere?
If you think about it, MS is only parenthetically a love story.
Actually, it was supposed
to tell us more about the other characters, be in their heads (or at least this was the only thing I was looking forward to). There was very little I can say I learned from MS that wasn't present in some form in the other books. So MS is a failure to me. Bad dog! No biscuit!
Yes, it’s the story lurking at the back side of the tapestry of TW -- but what one begins to realize (and this was true even before MS appeared) is that the underside to Bella’s story is much darker and more complicated than she or we readily recognize.
Speak for yourself. After several other YA novels, novels and manga relating to a vampire-human romance, I predicted almost every hurdle in their relationship and all of Edward's conflict (sans the prudyness. Kuroe is not a prude). Made it unoriginal to boot. *sigh* I think fate just fashioned this book to be something I wouldn't care much for. Then, introduced a character to make sure I'd hate it and, because of that hate, be unable to escape it and even end up ingratiating myself into the Internet fandom. I'm just all-around screwed.
In truth, Edward’s whole life and self are upended not once but twice, when Bella walks into his life. Bella sits down next to him in Biology, and in that instant a century of confidence in himself as moral being -- as a rational being, as an autonomous individual with the freedom to decide who he is and what he will do -- is smashed to pieces. (And this is Edward, remember, for whom control is everything (*grin*)). He comes within millimetres of murdering a score of people for sheer physical gratification. As he himself describes it, it shakes his sense of self to the core....
Another moment where I liked Edward. I like him half-crazed to sane. More likeable. Like with Port Angeles. If it had been a friend or relative of mine, I'd have driven the man down with my tank-like four-wheeled vehicle. Then, hit him in reverse and forward again if he tried getting up. (Yet another thing I was taught. If when driving at night, someone runs into the way to try to make you stop and every instinct is screaming danger, run him/her over. Then back up and drive over him/her again if they're still alive. Dead people can't talk. Then drive to police. And I was taught this by a lawyer.)
I am capable of not commenting on the control comment. That would just be too easy. *smirk*
He comes so close to returning to the very bottom of that moral abyss of inhumanity which the Cullens have painfully pulled themselves up from.
Actually, he made his own abyss. That god complex of his... Was it firefly
who mentioned he would have been more likeable if he'd snacked on infants too? I second that.
Where Bella is concerned, at any rate, Edward attains the kind of total imperviousness to temptation that has taken Carlisle centuries to perfect. For love...
We'll just always butt heads, it seems. You are perfectly content with his acquiring this imperviousness through love, while I would prefer it to be mostly due to his own character. Love may have provided the catalyst, but I would consider so much more a stronger character if he'd slaved there without needing
that catalyst, through sheer strength of will. Or, as had been touched on before, if he simply showed some form of compassion as his family does, rather than sheer selfishness. Hence why I like him in the Biology room. And why Carlisle pwns Edward.
So yes, MS is a love story: Edward and Bella’s love for one another is the luminous spindle around which this other story of darkness and suffering and redemption turns.
He was redeemed? When?
But it is also so much more that it’s scarcely surprising if the love story shines less unanswerably bright here than it does seen through Bella’s rose-tinted spectacles....
Uh, she passed rose a long time ago. I think she's on fuschia now.
*though I think Stephenie leaves Edward and Bella’s relationship underspecified deliberately, to allow their love story to be a kind of Everyromance.
But the relationship is just wrong
! It is so radically antifeminist and so obviously balanced to favor one direction, rather than both... Doesn't really qualify as an Everyromance. More like a nightmare masquerading as a dream.