Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

General Discussion on the Twilight Universe

Moderators: December, bac, Bronze Haired Girl, cullengirl

Forum rules
Click for Forum Rules

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby english rose » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:55 pm

hiya! ive really enjoyed reading through this all your posts, i was really blown away by some of the ideas! i was re - reading through the midnight sun draft and i came across the part where edward goes to bellas room for the first time and when he truley allows himself to fall in love with her, he says that when a vampire occurs such a change it will be permenant and he knows he will love her forever. does this then take away his choice to love her because he physically cant not? he backs it up by saying that carlise looks at esme in exacty the same way he did at the start. once a vampire falls in love can they ever fall out of it?

think what i mean is, is it more like imprinting or is the choice there all the way through

rose
"now you know, no one's ever loved anyone as much as i love you"
"i know of just one exception"
"liar"
And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever

team edward all the way!
english rose
Wandering Through Town
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:30 pm

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby amethyst » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:17 pm

Whether its imprinting or choice? Edward’s love for Bella is wholeheartedly choice but it’s also somewhat similar to imprinting. Imprinting is a momentarily thing, it happens . . . *boom* . . . done. While Edward’s love for Bella has a more gradual perception. It’s more real in the way that it takes shape but while it’s realistic, it’s also unfathomably ambient in that way it takes shape because the basis to it is profoundly strong. His love for Bella evolved into the form that he became aware of while watching her sleep. It started from consciously wanting to protect her from Jessica, to wanting to protect her from himself to wanting to protect her from the world. As he was falling in love with her, the same evolvement was also resurrecting the human in him . . . i.e jealousy, fear, anxiety and so on and so forth.

So I think it’s safe to say that he had a choice when he fell in love with Bella just because. If he had no choice then he would have not thought of Bella as just plain and just ordinary, he would not have thought that she was not special and just human. He would not have thought she was just a shiny bright toy to taunt the male population of her school. He felt and thought of all that and in the end he somehow managed to develop one of the most consuming, extraordinary loves possible. It grew and evolved and because of that, I feel he had a choice. He chose to give his full attention to her, he chose to pursue her, he chose to talk to her, and most of all he wanted to because consciously he did. It was not some subconscious supernatural thing that chose Bella for him, he did. His heart and mind did.

What’s similar about vampire love vs. imprinting is that they are both permanent and have a final tone to it and they are both powerful although differently.
"I never would have banished him from her society as long as she desired his. . . . . But, till then--if you don't believe me, you don't know me--till then, I would have died by inches before I touched a single hair of his head!"
amethyst
Teaching Eric Social Graces
 
Posts: 202
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:27 pm

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby english rose » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:09 am

i agree that intial falling in love is a choice and done in a natural way. do you think that this love is changeable or is he always going to feel the same way as he does at the start. when a vampire becomes avampire theya frozen in the state they are at the transformation, is this the same with love are they frozen in the state of the first part of thir love or does it grow and change the more time they are together. is the loev edward feels for bella the same at the start of the series as it is at the end of has it developed from that magical and powerful first love into a mature intense realer love in the same way that bellas grows. edward for example fell in love before all the key moments with bella like the meadow scene and almost losing her so when he these things happen does his love grow in the same way as bellas even tho he is escentially unchangable? i think it does grow with time and experience and the only thing that is permanent is the fact that she is his true love and he will never lose sight of that. also, can a vampire only fall in love once? is it the fact that they can only fall in love with a soulmate or do they just love their first love forever. what i mean is what if they meet someone and theres an attraction and they fall in love and occur this permanent change and then years later they meet their soulmate, can they fall in love again and undo the origional love. i like to believe its the first and it is rare for a vampire to fall in love and feel such motion so when they do it can only be with a soulmate. that being there are obviously degrees of love within the vampire world, not everyone of the couples we see thru the series have the same level of love as edward and bella or jasper and alice some are more powerful and intense than others. also throughout the series we dont come across vampire unrequited love, i think they must subconciously fall in love with people they know will love them back. does it have to be a soulmate or just a good match? also can they get it wrong, waht if after spending tiem with bella he realised she wasnt all the things he thought she was, would that love still be there regardless because of the force of the change or like humans are they capable of falling out of love. as before i think that the fact that a vampire falling in love is so rare it has to be right for it to happen so they prob cannot fall in love as easily as us therefore it would NEEd to be the right person.


rose x
"now you know, no one's ever loved anyone as much as i love you"
"i know of just one exception"
"liar"
And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever

team edward all the way!
english rose
Wandering Through Town
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:30 pm

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby December » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:27 pm

If I can intervene here....I'd like to put this new topic on hold for a bit until we've finished with the recent discussion of BD. I might also suggest that anyone interested in the question of whether Edward and Bella's love is more like imprinting -- something Bella actually seems to suggest at one point ("It's like Sam and Emily, Jake -- I never had a choice") -- might like to look at the extensive (!) discussion there's been of this issue on the old Choices thread and its earlier incarnation on the old Latin thread. Not required reading (*grin*) -- but it does explore the subject at quite some length!
Image
“When did you ever promise to kill yourself falling out of Charlie’s tree?”
User avatar
December
Muse of Philosophical Discussion
 
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:09 am
Location: Putting the "Longa" into Ars Longa....

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby December » Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:47 pm

Ok. (*deep breath*).

I don't think there's any way of dodging this question, though Lord knows I've been trying:

Have we been reading this series wrongly all along?

The first fifty-odd pages of this discussion turned on the idea that Twilight is above all about Bella's choice to give up her human life for love. In particular, that this isn't an easy or a casual choice: that becoming a vampire is not a sparkling fairy-tale prospect but a sacrifice, which Bella is making for love of Edward. The giddy romance is certainly there, and the dazzling fantasy of young love, immortal life, guardian angels. But there are darker currents running beneath the breathtaking wish-fulfillment. Look past the books’ captivating surface and you find a story of struggle and loss and terrible choices, of the human capacity for boundless sacrifice. For a love so deep it leaves no room for thoughts of self. And in many ways, it’s the contrast between the darkness and the light that is the sinew and bone of these books' heart-stopping romance. Edward's one passionate desire is to cherish Bella and protect her: he would give his happiness, his life, his soul to keep her safe -- and he is going to take her life. Pretty powerful stuff.

Over the first three books, we watch Bella steadfastly choose to lay down her life for Edward. And it feels like we are invited to see it in this way, as we begin to glimpse the horror of the life she is choosing (and Edward would do anything to spare her): to realize that the “so just bite her!” happy ending we could easily imagine at the end of TW isn’t that simple. That she is exchanging the human cycle of love and growth and family for an unnatural half-life of changelessness and loathsome desires and a never-ending struggle against unbearable temptation. We see Bella acknowledge the price she will pay to be with Edward -- and still choose love, as Stephenie herself put it.

And we see Edward reluctantly recognize that this shadowed fate is nevertheless the right choice for Bella -- and willingly choose it with her. A bittersweet ending, in a way, but an extraordinarily romantic one: because the bitterness of the sacrifice Bella is making, the darkness of the path they are choosing (and picture for an instant what they are signing on for: the moment when he has to deliberately take away Bella's life and watch her suffer unspeakably afterwards) is the starkest possible measure of HOW MUCH THESE TWO LOVE EACH OTHER. Because nothing else matters, so long as they can be together. And that darkness only makes the dawn of their eternal happiness together all the more glorious.

A story about giving up everything for love.

And then in BD...suddenly it’s all an irrelevance. It turns out that becoming a vampire isn't a sacrifice undertaken for love -- it's salvation. It's a REWARD for being willing to die in agony for your child: a reprieve snatched at the edge of the grave, a delightful, unshadowed immortality that is every bit the glittering Grand Prize Bella naively took it for in TW, before the events of NM and EC sobered her and made her see the vampire's life for what it is (or we thought it was): something which even her otherworldly passion for Edward was barely enough to justify exchanging her humanity for. The whole thematic, dramatic, moral structure of the story has been turned upside down.

Last January, I wrote the longest post in the history of the Lex on just this subject, laying out all the reasons why it seemed to me it would be thematically incoherent for Stephenie to have Bella changed under duress. Why we needed to see Bella give her life to Edward, deliberately and for love. Why it mattered that this be a sacrifice and not salvation. And if I’m to be honest....basically I stand by it. If the story laid out in TW-NM-EC is about anything, it is Bella’s willingness to give up everything for Edward and his (reluctant) willingness to accept that bitter gift -- because that is the measure of their unfathomable love for one another. And if that is so.... Well, it's all there in that post.

There’s no question that Bella’s willingness to give up her life for love reverberates through BD as loudly as ever. But now it’s all about Nessie. Substituting Bella’s readiness to die for her unborn child for the sacrifices she would make to be with Edward makes this a very different story. Twilight wasn’t about Bella’s undoubted capacity for selfless love per se; it was about her transcendent love for Edward. (And yes, it’s reasonable to see Bella’s love for their child as the natural outgrowth -- the fulfillment -- of her love for Edward, but as discussed earlier, that really has to follow upon the completion of their love story, not displace it). Parental love is something Stephenie has written and spoken about a lot -- it absolutely shines out of The Host, and figures in the dedication to EC (To my children...for letting me experience the kind of love that people freely die for). At the Portland BD signing she reiterated that it was having children of her own that enabled her to imagine a romantic love so intense that “you would do things that are just insane and dangerous for somebody”. But that’s the point: it's a model, an exemplar, an analogy for the transcendent love she’d imagined for her hero and heroine: a love so insanely off the scale that the fierce love of the mother for her child is the nearest we can come to imagining it. For three books, Edward and Bella’s otherworldly passion (and the sacrifices they would make for it) was the luminous centre of this story. Was it only meant, after all, as the foreshadowing of some greater love which would cast even their fated love into the shade?

And what are we to make of the fact that those sacrifices weren’t what they seemed? That (as we’ve talked about earlier) BD overturns the dark intimations running like a somber groundbass through TW/NM/EC (and especially MS) that a vampire’s existence is a dark fate as much as a sparkly superhero destiny? All the losses that Bella was prepared to face for Edward end up unrealized. Childlessness, isolation, unbearable struggles with temptation, the monstrousness of longing to kill -- she is spared it all. It isn’t so much that Stephenie ultimately grants Bella a more cloudless happily-ever-after than we had reason to hope for, but that she isn’t asked to live with the loss first, before the clouds break and she reaches her sunlit Ever After. Because only if we see her live the life with Edward she has chosen, and struggle with the thirst and the childlessness and the grief for her family, and still find incomparable happiness with Edward, could we know that that their love was that unimaginably strong. Which is what we all thought this story was about.

And yet...Stephenie's no fool. And for all that BD was written in the most appalling hurry, we know it's the story that she really, really wanted to tell. The story she'd had in mind from the very outset, that she literally fought to be allowed to share with us.* So was this all a misreading? Was Twilight really just a charming romantic fantasy about a human girl who falls in love with an immortal and endures some hideous ordeals before taking her place at his side for a blissful eternity of young love? Did we project that darker narrative of love and sacrifice onto this delicious love story?

I suspect that the answer is yes -- and also no. And the key to that apparent conundrum is precisely the fact that BD is the story Stephenie intended to tell from the outset. Lacuna Scion put her finger on it: BD is the sequel to EC, but in very real sense it is the sequel to TW: mapped out long before NM or EC were ever dreamt of.

Imagine we are back where TW left off: in a world where Edward and Bella are still at an impasse. Where Edward is determined at all costs to save Bella from the doom of becoming a vampire. Where Bella’s opportunity to look long and hard at what that choice would mean -- and still choose it -- lies in an unrealized future. Suddenly Stephenie’s authorial decisions in BD make so much more sense. If we never got to see Edward try to leave Bella (NM) and Bella recognize (and mourn for) the human future she's forfeiting (EC) and the two of them gradually arrive together at the bittersweet recognition that they have no real alternative, it’s easy to see why Stephenie would want to arrange matters so he HAS to change her. How else could that impasse be resolved? How could we be reassured that this was truly the best option for Bella? How could Edward possibly take Bella’s life and still live with himself?

In fact, if all you have is TW and MS, the idea of Edward’s deliberately changing Bella into a vampire becomes pretty well inconceivable. Not only out-of-character, but thematically incoherent. Look beneath the breathless surface of Bella's narration, and TW is actually the story of Edward's moral and spiritual journey: the unimaginable trials he drives himself to face -- and triumphs over -- for love of Bella. Yes, Bella’s own courage and willingness to risk everything to be with Edward is beyond question, but in that original story the appalling struggles and the sacrifices are all Edward’s. Stephenie makes it easy for us not to recognize what she is putting Edward through: just how agonizingly difficult it is for him to be close to Bella, to touch her, to hold her in his arms, to kiss her. But it is: constant, terrible temptation -- and pain. Every step of the way, he is testing the absolute limits of his endurance. But he sees it as his privilege, really, to suffer for her. Excruciating as their relationship is for him, he would do anything to save her from becoming a vampire. What kind of an ending would it make to that story, then, for him to deliberately cast off his burdens and place them on her shoulders? To be released from his terrible thirst only to watch her suffering the torments of the newborn? It’s not until NM and EC that Stephenie turns around and recasts this as the story of the sacrifices Bella will make for Edward. You need to have walked down that narrative path, seen Bella’s determination to suffer with him -- and Edward’s gradual recognition how much more she would suffer without him -- to make sense of an ending in which he deliberately condemns her to the life of a vampire.

Delivering Edward and Bella to their happy-ever-after via a fatal pregnancy and emergency transformation neatly resolves their impasse -- and disposes of Stephenie’s obvious qualms about letting her heroine cheerfully swap her human life for an unnatural immortality. (And anyone in doubt about the value Stephenie places on the gift of human life need only read The Host). Bella is absolved of fecklessly throwing away her life (and blessed with a child into the bargain!). Edward gets an eternity with Bella without the guilt of taking her life. And we the readers, ignorant of the events of NM and EC, can be simply relieved. Having never been seduced by the suggestion that Bella loves Edward so appallingly deeply that she’d be right to think the world well lost for him, we can be glad the terrible choice was taken out of their hands -- instead of feeling obscurely cheated that we never got to see Bella to lay down everything she has for Edward and find it all repaid tenfold in the joy of their love together. The fact that, in the event, none of Edward's fears for Bella are remotely realized only makes it all the better: how could we wish any of that on Bella, when in the end it was fate and not choice (given that her pregnancy was unforeseen accident), which actually carried her over that brink?

EXCEPT... Stephenie did find herself writing NM and EC, and delving deeper into the issues TW raises about immortality and heaven and Faustian bargains and the preciousness of human existence. Her gameplan might have been to simply fill in the blanks of Bella’s senior year on the way to FD, but she ended up taking us on a more complicated journey: thinking through her lovers’ dilemma, examining alternatives and mapping out dead ends, explicitly working out for us (and herself) why she had to let Bella become a vampire. Convincing even Edward that however monstrous it is to be a vampire, however precious it is to be human, there could be no happy ending for either him or Bella but this. Most interestingly, she seemingly came to the conclusion that one could condone Bella’s deliberately choosing to throw away her life, if this really were the best ending for her. And that what she, as author, was willing to do to Bella -- end her human life -- Edward might be willing to do as well. Which, as we have seen, alters everything.

There is of course a world of moral difference between being blessed with an unsought-for immortality by a benevolent fate (or author) and seizing it for yourself, so the parameters had to change. Stephenie had to make this harder for Bella, reconstrue the gift she was receiving as (at least partly) a grievous sacrifice: turn our gaze away from the glamourous enticements of immortal life and sparkly superpowers to the somber recognition that choosing Edward also means an eternity of thirst -- and irrevocable loss. Bella’s willingness in TW to literally risk death to be with Edward is re-imagined in NM/EC as her willingness to give up her life (in another sense) to stay with him. It’s not literally dying, but we are invited to feel it is something like death that she's condemning herself to: giving up her memories, her past, her family, her society, her body, her life -- to be reborn as his.

And Stephenie makes it harder for Edward as well. As the story unfolds we can begin to see what he is steeling himself to do. He is going to have to take this warm, breathing girl in his arms and kill her: to sit with her as she writhes in unspeakable pain, hour after hour, and watch her living body turn to stone and her heart cease to beat -- and know that he has done this to her. And afterwards watch her coming to terms with the reality of all that he has taken from her and what she has become. The fairytale ending we half-believed in by the end of TW, where becoming a vampire seemed the sort of exciting rite of passage you almost might get dressed up for like a prom, changes into something infinitely more shadowed. But richer as well: the very fact that this is not a slam-dunk Happily Ever After makes the obliterating strength of Edward and Bella’s love all the more shatteringly real to us. How much do they love each other? -- don’t take Stephenie’s word for it: look at what they have chosen to do for one another!

Ultimately, Stephenie allows herself and us to imagine Bella’s change as a consummation, not just romantically and erotically (as that final scene in TW hints) but spiritually: the apotheosis of her love for Edward, and his for her. She is going to give her life to him because he is more to her than anything life has to offer; he is going to accept that terrible gift because it means her happiness, and nothing else matters to him. A boy and a girl blindingly in love, who will walk through the flames of hell together to claim each other for all eternity. Quite a different (and powerful) narrative from the one that FD was intended to follow on from.

In a way, Stephenie set herself an almost impossible task in BD: to tell the story of what became of Edward and Bella after TW to an audience that had now accompanied her on this unplanned detour through the events and epiphanies of NM and EC. At the time she was writing the two books, it may have felt to her like she had her destination clearly in mind every step of the way. That she was merely securing Edward and Bella's explicit consent to what she -- the author of their fate -- was going to do to them. But what she in fact wrote amounted to a whole new story, which now had somehow to be welded back onto the structure of FD.

Did she not see the difficulty? Maybe she did. But it may also be that there wasn’t much she could do about it. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, with less than twelve months to produce a manuscript of BD (don’t forget this was the year she’d brought out both Eclipse and The Host!), it was a bit late to abandon the draft that was FD and go back to the drawing board. More important though....maybe it was a bit late for her to unthink the ending she’d been carrying in her mind for all these years. Stephenie is a gifted storyteller, with an excellent instinct for the shape of a story. But she also has a very concrete imagination. At some point, I suspect, the ending of FD had become true for her: what began as imaginative possibility eventually congealed into unalterable fact. Even if the storyteller in her knew that the events of FD wouldn’t really complete the narrative arc which TW/NM/EC described, there were certain facts that were no longer negotiable. Because she couldn’t fudge the truth of what actually happened.**

Or maybe she would think this all the most impertinent rubbish, if she were ever to read it!

But anyway, the crux of the matter is this. I don’t exactly want to give comfort to BD-deniers and the people who want to pretend that the book never happened: the book is there; it’s what Stephenie meant to happen; it makes sense in its own terms (at least as far as the themes of this thread are concerned). BUT...I think any serious discussion of Edward and Bella’s choices is doomed to run aground if we try and reconcile BD with the story that unfolds over the sequence TW-NM-EC. The authorial decisions Stephenie made in BD, her characters’ reactions***...they just don’t make sense when put together with everything that took place in NM and EC.

So either we give up this conversation, or we simply acknowledge that the narrative of love and sacrifice which is laid out over the first three books remains uncompleted. It is there. We didn’t imagine it. (Again, anyone in doubt that these are Stephenie’s own preoccupations should just look at the way they dominate the story of The Host: almost as if the themes coursing through the story of NM and EC got discharged into this unrelated story Stephenie suddenly felt driven to write before moving on to BD...). It seems to me that we can still talk about that earlier, unfinished narrative as it stands: examine it, debate about it, be moved by or dislike it -- it’s the story Stephenie wrote, even if it was never fulfilled in BD.

And we can talk about BD as well. Taken strictly as the sequel to TW, BD is an intelligible conclusion to Edward and Bella’s love story. (Obviously Jake’s share in the narrative depends on events in the later books, but I’m speaking of Edward and Bella). Indeed, read this way, BD throws an interesting light on Edward and Bella’s essential dilemma (and Stephenie’s view of it) -- as I’ve tried to sketch out above.

The story of TW-BD then. Or TW-NM-EC. But not in the same breath. At any rate until someone finds a way to resolve these two stories into a unified narrative.....




____________________________________
*Stephenie at the Chicago Q&A: “I have known the ending of this series since about October, 2003. So it’s actually been a long time coming. The rough draft of Breaking Dawn, which you guys know is Forever Dawn, I was finished around February of 2004 and I really stuck to the original plan because once I got there, it seemed like the only possible ending. So really there weren’t other plotlines that I was choosing from, this was always the way it was meant to happen.”

“Nessie was one of the reasons that Breaking Dawn exists. When I first started working with an editor, I had Twilight and I showed them what I was working on for Forever Dawn and they said ‘you know, we’d really like to keep Bella in high school for a little bit longer, develop that more, keep it more YA.’ And I said ‘Ok, there are some interesting stories to do in there. I first started working on it and they said ‘we’d just really just like it to be three books, and end with Eclipse. Can you make an ending that you’re happy with?’ And I said ‘no, I can’t make an ending that I’m happy with.’ This was a very hard fought battle and I was fighting for Nessie the whole time. She was a character that I was not going to allow her to be destroyed. She had to exist. So, she was in my Forever Dawn.”

**I can imagine too that the pressure Stephenie came under to abandon the whole notion of Bella’ pregnancy might have stiffened her resolve to dig in her heels and hang onto her plot in its entirety. Which is a pity, because I don’t think Nessie’s existence per se is as much of a problem for her story as the particular way it plays out.

***eg (as discussed before) Edward’s bizarrely frantic and disproportionate response to Bella’s pregnancy (and his hatred for their unborn child). Which makes perfect sense if you imagine that we’re back in TW and the thought of Bella’s becoming a vampire is still anathema to him: this is precisely the calamity he is most terrified of (in fact, it’s imagining this kind of scenario that drives him to leave in NM): Bella’s life in mortal jeopardy because of him, and the only way to save her is to do what he has sworn he will never even consider...change her. There are many other examples -- but maybe I’d better save them for later!
Image
“When did you ever promise to kill yourself falling out of Charlie’s tree?”
User avatar
December
Muse of Philosophical Discussion
 
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:09 am
Location: Putting the "Longa" into Ars Longa....

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby english rose » Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:29 am

I think that you make some interesting points but on the whole im afraid I disagree. I think the narrative in bd does fit in with the narrative of the other books. At the end of ec bella had chosen to be a vampire and she was ready to make all the sacrifices in the world to be woth edward forever but in life things get in the way of our choices and nessie was an example of that. Bellas pregnancy was an accident and the way bella dealt with it totally flowed with the with the narrative of the other books, and just because she ended up becoming a vampire because of this and not freely over choice to be with edward doesnt for me lesson the fact that all through bd we can see she would have gave up humanity for edward if life hadnt thrown her this curve ball. Just because as readers we expect or think we know where a story is headed or what should have happened, doesnt make us right we can just look at the way it DID happen. Just because at the end of ec it was looking like both bella and edward had made peace with the fact she was going to become a vampire doesnt mean that it had to go that way. I feel that the characters dealt with things in bd the way I would have expected and if theyd behaved any other way then that for me would have betrayed the narrative of the other books.

Edward for example, although its true he had come to accept the fact that he would make bella immortal as it was the best way to make her happy would still have reacted to the pregnacy in the way he did. Youv got to remember they didnt know what type of monster nessie would turn out to be and bella was in a lot of physical pain and she could die before he got the chance to transform her and it was essentially his fault because against his better judgment they had slept together. How else would the self loaving and pessimistic edward respond to this. And once bella discovered she was pregnant what other choice could she have made that wouldnt go against the main characteristics we've come to know of her. Her great and powerful love for edward is there but she would never of got rid of her child just to please him.

Also I think bella the newborn is very much following on from the narrative of the last to books. If bd had folled on from tw THEN I would have expected bella to react to the transformation in the same way as the other newborns because she didnt really know what she was getting herself into and had not really given it much thought. But because of nm and ec she had spent a lot of time going thru what it would be like and had chosen this fate. Just think she didnt react in the same way as the others bcause hers was a unique case. All the other cullens and newborns went into it blind and had no idea what was happening to them so when the transformation was complete although they just responded to ther insticts. Bella was unique, she knew what to expext and all throught the painfull transformation she knew exactly what was happenning and could subconsciously prepare. Through the gift of knowledge and tiem she could to a certain extent choose how she was going to be. Its similar to carlise transformation due to his knowledge of vampires existance e had an idea what he was becoming and could choose how he was going to be, as soon as he awoke he too defied his thirst for humans and distanced himself straith away. Yes he struggled, but if he had the time and knowledge bella had I think he would have been exactly the sam ype of newborn as she. It would have been unrealistic for her to be the same savage newborn as the others if were following on from ec because had had that time to prepare and choose this fate. For me this peacefull newborn is following on from the narrativ of nm and ec rather than tw. If it had follewed on from tw then I would have questioned it. The knowledge and choice of what was happening coupled with bellas strong SHIELD mind, stubborness and the fact that she always seems to be the exception to the rule follow perfectly from the other books in the series.

I think that the mere fact that bella made a final choice at the end of eclipse and edward became resolve to it was far more important than him actally taking her mortality freely. The choice was the important bit not the action. That choice would never have wavered and she would never have gone back on it but life often doesnt play ball with our desires but that doesnt for me take away the sentament. If bella had fallen pregnant before in her cling on to life stage then maybe but it happened after she had made a final decision.
If we look at tw,nm, ec and bd as one (all be it rather long) book then it comes full circle.
Tw – love found
nm -love lost
ec – love chosen
bd -love realised

in terms of the series being one long story tw offers the care free if u will intro all about finding love, nm and ec offer the meat of the story, loosing that love and having to make sacrifices and relsolving to a choice and bd is the conclusion our happily ever after if you will and I personally think it flows beautifully and it was just what I was hoping for. I think the choice bella made to be a vampire in ec and his willingness to do it against his better judgement are the proof of how much they love each other, not having it all go wrong when it does happen and watchig them struggle and then it be ok. Their whole relashionshop has beena struggle and bella is willing to give up her family and humanity for edward and we know she would have done freely if it had not been for nesie. Its not her fault that things worked out well it, for me, doesnt lesson the fact that it could of been horrendous and she knew that but committed herself to edward anyway.

(think I got a bit excited)

rose x

just an after thort, the end of b/d is a great example of bellas choice to make what ever sacrifice nececcary tto be with edward. she, along with the rest truely believe they have no hope and because of her shield mind she could have left with nessie safe in the knowledge that the volturi could not trace them but she didnt she made arrangements for jake to take nessie and raise her even tho she loved her so much. she chose to stay with edward and face what she believed was certain death rather than live without him. once again it doest take away from her choice that it all turned ut well because when she made the decision she truely believed it would not. there could be no other story to follow on from ec becuse stephenie was always going to throw these events in there way and i cant see how the characters being who they are could have responded to them any different. stephenie will have wrote nm and ec in the full knowledge of what events lay in there future and so every line wriiten would have been written with the evnts of bd in mind and as a charater writer she wouldnt have them do things that go against there characters personalities. so i think it is the events that the characters could not control that people have the problem with not the choices the characters made in responce to them and as stephenie is in control of the evnts and situations the characters face there could not have been any follow on from eclipse but bd. the events may not have gone were we expected them to after ec but i think you must concede that the way the charaters dealt with them and the choices made most certainly do follow on the same narrative as the other books in the series. if you try to imagine them reacting differently, like bella getting rid of nessie, or edward not freaking out over the pin and danger bella is in it is then that i would see sharpe in consistancy. bd is a prime example of real life, we can decide our choices but we cannot decide our fate.
x
Last edited by english rose on Mon Feb 02, 2009 4:27 am, edited 3 times in total.
"now you know, no one's ever loved anyone as much as i love you"
"i know of just one exception"
"liar"
And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever

team edward all the way!
english rose
Wandering Through Town
 
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:30 pm

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby December » Sun Feb 01, 2009 12:47 pm

Gosh, English Rose, what a cogent account you've given of why everything in BD fell into place for you and made sense as the culmination of the earlier story! (And quite possibly why it made sense to Stephenie too...). I'll need to think more about what you've written, and how it intersects with my own sharp sense of discontinuity. And maybe how far that stems, as you've suggested, from simply having spent too much time last year constructing expectations we weren't prepared to see overtaken by events! Have to get back to this though -- out of time for this morning.

Oh, and don't apologize for getting a bit excited. Being excited about discussing these books is what this thread is for!
Image
“When did you ever promise to kill yourself falling out of Charlie’s tree?”
User avatar
December
Muse of Philosophical Discussion
 
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:09 am
Location: Putting the "Longa" into Ars Longa....

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby ReneeJ » Tue Feb 03, 2009 11:20 am

December,

I think you are really on to something here. The more I think about BD, the less happy I am with it, and you are right, It does make more sense to see BD as a sequel to T than to E.

You have given me permission to dismiss it from the T, NM, E trilogy and posit my own epilogue--engagement, wedding, Eward turns Bella on Isle Esmee with the Cullens in attendance.

I envision something like Michaelangelo's pieta with Edward sitting motionless, grieving, and Bella paralyzed and cradled in his arms for 3 days. When Bella awakes, even though she struggles to get her thirst under control, Jasper is still amazed by her will. Edward can't go back to face Charlie after taking Bella's life, so they plan a fatal car accident in which both Bella and Edward are declared dead in Brazil. Bella & Edward are shipped back to Forks in Newborn-proof coffins, Alice plans the funeral with a mountain of pink roses for Bella and gives an amazing eulogy for her, Jasper gives Edward's. Emette, Jasper, and Cullen return to the cemetery that night to dig up Edward & Bella's graves. Edward releases Bella from her coffin, they climb out of her grave, and leave Forks together hand in hand.

I can't believe I have spent so much mental energy over this, but I just couldn't be satisfied with BD.
ReneeJ
Settled in Forks
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:38 pm

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby December » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:54 pm

Hee.

Well, the beauty of fiction is that once you read it, it's yours. And you can do what you like with it. I know there are many people who will disagree with me here, but I'm personally a great believer in the ram-raid school of reading: get what you can from a story and run like hell! After all, if you go back to the days of myth-making and bards and folktales, that's how stories happened -- people dipped into a shared stock of characters and events and made what they liked out of them. Named authors and the canonical texts are only as recent as Homer and Gilgamesh -- and they don't really get a stranglehold on story-telling until the printed book, or even later. And even today....novels are constantly being reinterpreted: in comics, television serials, plays, musicals, dance-routines and above all movies. They're given new characters, new themes and of course plenty of new endings. The advent of internet fanfic has further democratized -- and accelerated -- the process. So if any of you have the time and creativity to take Stephenie's story and make what you need of it ...more power to you!

HOWEVER...I don't want the conversation to run away in this direction. This isn't really the right thread for getting together to rewrite BD. We're here to discuss the theme of choice and how it plays out in Stephenie's story. And as a site, we're basically here to engage with the story as Stephenie has given it to us. Both because things get messy if we don't stick to some subset of all the different conversations these books could generate -- and because Stephenie has been a member of the Lex from way back, and we want to keep it a place she can feel at home too.

It's obviously a fine line: my own last post skates close to the edge. And I don't want to close off constructive discussion about this, because BD is obviously a difficult book for many readers to make sense of and talking together can be helpful. If (as I've argued) the story sketched out in TW-NM-EC is unfulfilled, it's natural to ask: what would fulfill it? But let's be sure to anchor our conversation in that core project: trying to understand Stephenie's story and her characters as she gave them to us. Because we love these books.
Image
“When did you ever promise to kill yourself falling out of Charlie’s tree?”
User avatar
December
Muse of Philosophical Discussion
 
Posts: 2711
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:09 am
Location: Putting the "Longa" into Ars Longa....

Re: Choices aka Ars Longa Vita Brevis

Postby ReneeJ » Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:32 pm

Sorry, I didn't mean to get off track. I'm new around here and didn't even realize that there was one. ;~)
ReneeJ
Settled in Forks
 
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:38 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Quench Your Thirst

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests