Bella Swan Cullen #3

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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Dovrebanen » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:19 pm

First, I want to foucs on the selflessness in Bella. I see Bella as having a lot of selfless traits. JG, you say that Bella didn't have a choice in caring for her mum and dad. And I agree with that. But I think what proves her selfless traits in this is that she did take care of her parents, and she still thought that they were the best parents in the world. She loved them with all her heart, and taking care of them was the most natural thing in the world for her. She didn't blame her mother for who she was, and the kind of mother she was. Bella loved her unconditionally. And her capacity to love like that shows what kind of person she is. She extended this love to Edward. It didn't take long for her to be unconditionally in love with him, even when she knew that he could possibly kill her. She saw him for who he truly was, and accepted him for that without any second thoughts.
I also saw her as selfless when she went to Italy. She knew that even if she managed to save Edward, she probably wouldn't get to keep him. But still she did it, because his life meant more to her than her own. She was also selfless to the extreme when she was willing to die for her daughter.

As for her selfish behavior, I agree with the two above me. For me Bella was at her lowest in Eclipse. She had just gotten Edward back. She loved him, she wanted to be with him and she wanted eternity with him. That was the choice she had made. And when she made that choice, she essentially chose not to be with Jacob. But she couldn't for the life her realize the impossibility of the situation. The time when she left on the motorcycle with Jacob showed was irresponsible. It was possibly dangerous. But most of all, it showed a complete disregard for Edward's feelings. She made Edward cut his hunting trips short. He was afraid to leave in case she wouldn't be safe. It was, in short, a horrible behavior. She went to Jacob, knowing that he loved her. She held his hand, she sat close to him...All the time, knowing that she was causing him pain and giving him some sort of hope, however small. And at the same time she had Edward waiting at home, scared and jealous, and in pain because of what she did. And I believe that no one had the power to hurt Edward emotionally like Bella could. Because she was his entire world, and he wanted nothing but the very best. He said in Eclipse that she could have any part of him she wanted or none at all...He had to watch her cry for Jacob (admittedly she cried for other things as well, but...).
And then in Breaking Dawn when she had Jacob there to watch her die, or to watch her last days of humanity. It was too painful for him. And IMO she should have asked him to leave at that point,
So I see Bella as having a lot of good sides, and I like Bella, but some of her actions were horrific.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby The Dark Knight » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:11 am

I get it in genreal how the duality of Bella comes across. Giving and selfish almost at the same time. What motivates her to do this? Why is she being selfish? What's behind it, the cause to the effect of selfishness?
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby The Dark Knight » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:13 am

Jazz Girl wrote:
The Dark Knight wrote:Thanks for chimming in Angelvamp...

IMO, "the basis of her whole personality is unselfishness," is not true. She's a caregiver and does look after others but that does not always equate to unselfishness.

I hear it often how Bella is selfish, can we explore that? How is she selfish and why?


Dark Knight~ Welcome back. Glad to hear the trip was lovely. making the pilgrimmage and all that. :D A very interesting question. There is always a lot of discussion on the Edward thread about his nature as selfish vs selfless, but this is the first time I have seen in brought here, where it more completely belongs, in my opinion. Bella does have a selfless nature. She is, in many situations, very selfless. Witness her caretaking of Renee and Charlie, her plan to sacrifice herself to save Renee and the Cullens in Twilight, or to save the Cullens in Eclipse. But, in the time when it matters most, her selfishness is beyond compare. The situation with Jacob in Eclipse and into Breaking Dawn is the epitome and peak of selfish behavior.

I will say this first. While I acknowledge that taking care of Renee and Charlie shows an unselfish nature, a willingness to give of herself, I also think she didn't really have a choice in that. Growing up with a mother like Renee, Bella could either assume the parental role or allow things to fall apart. Is that a lot for a child to handle? Absolutely. Did she give up a lot to assume that role? Absolutely. But what other choice did she have. Accordingly, by the time she moved to Forks, that role was pretty much so ingrained in her, in her personality, I don't think she made a conscious choice to assume that role. She was just reassuming what was already her niche in the family structure. She'd just switched parents.

Bella's treatment of both Edward and Jacob in Eclipse and in Breaking Dawn was essentially unforgiveable. It was the essence of selfishness. She refused to respect or even acknowledge how deeply she was hurting both of them in her drive to protect herself. I am the first person to admit that the wounds Edward inflicted on her in his leaving were deep and irreversible. But, Edward's intentions at least were true. His heart was in the right place, even if he had lost his mind temporarily. And, there in lies the different. While Edward knew Bella would grieve for him and that he would cause her pain, he considered it the lesser of two evils, so to speak, as opposed to killing her or being the person who brought what killed her into her life. But Bella refused to even acknowledge that she was hurting Edward at all. She did at least recognize that what she was doing might cause Jake pain. But, with Edward, she never even considered that he might be the least bit affected by the fact that she was continually throwing herself into another man's arms all the while insulting Edward for feeling just a little threatened.

That, right there, is the essence of Bella's selfishness. Not even admitting that what she was doing could and did cause immese pain to the one person she claimed to love most in the world. I do love Bella. I identify with her in so many ways. But, that I cannot forgive her for.


Gald to be back JazzGirl. It was a fun trip in many ways. The Orca's where the highlight though.

Anything important I missed?
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby vampirenerd » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:28 am

Well, if we're going with the fact that most of her selfishness is shown during the time after Edward comes back and she's wanting to be with Jacob and Edward too, then I would say her selfishness is due to the fact she doesn't want to be alone. Edward had left her and Jacob took care of her. Now that Edward is back he is trying to keep her from seeing Jacob. She doesn't want to lose Jacob b/c he was such an important figure in keeping her alive and sane while Edward was away. She also doesn't want to give up Edward either though since he's the love of her life. She wants everyone to forget about the natural enemies part and get alone just so she can have what she wants b/c she's scared of being alone again.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Angelvamp » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:33 am

Wow, this is really great to read such well thought out opinions about this character! Reminds me of being in college. :)

And perhaps Dark Knight is right about Bella's character not hinging on unselfishness, which makes me delve more into her motivations. Just one more thing about Bella's unselfish quality before moving on the the selfish parts. Does the fact that she is willing to sacrifice her life constitute unselfishness? How does she value her own life and would it be an actual sacrifice to her? It seems that in all of the books, she is "running true to form" and willing to die for Edward, her father, her mother, Renesmee, etc. etc. It doesn't really seem to me that she feels her life is a valuable thing and because of that, she is willing to sacrifice it. Or perhaps her experiences in New Moon made her resolutions stronger about death and dying, she feels that there are worse things that could happen. Also, the Preface of Twilight sets this up pretty well in that she seems to think dying for someone she loves is a romantic notion. I could go on with this, but I'd rather hear someone else's opinion. :)

Now, the selfish motivations. Like Buffy said, "Love makes you do the crazy." Especially when it is your first love. And it is hightened by mythical danger and passion that cannot be consumated. IMO, the crazy, insane, all-consuming love she has for Edward and her young age are a big motivation for her less than stellar actions in New Moon and Eclipse. Let's not forget that Edward pretty much broke her in NM, in ways that could not be mended. Is it possible that she was unconsciously trying to avenge herself? Trying to hurt him as much as he hurt her? Of course, Jacob doesn't deserve this treatment at all, but he was a convenient means-to-an-ends if getting back at Edward was her unconscious motivation. Or does she resent Jacob? For showing her the happy life she could have had and will be missing? For being yet another mythical creature that doesn't age and having more in common with Edward than she does?

I am no psychologist (really, I'm not! ;) ) but perhaps all of her admittedly inexcusable actions could just be the result of self preservation in the wake of the crushing despair of NM. She was totally right about love giving someone power over you. I believe that love is a much stronger motivator than fear or pain, whether it is conscious or unconscious or to someone's benefit or not.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Dovrebanen » Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:04 pm

Angelvamp wrote:And perhaps Dark Knight is right about Bella's character not hinging on unselfishness, which makes me delve more into her motivations. Just one more thing about Bella's unselfish quality before moving on the the selfish parts. Does the fact that she is willing to sacrifice her life constitute unselfishness? How does she value her own life and would it be an actual sacrifice to her?

In relation to Edward: Her life meant nothing if he wasn't alive, just like he couldn't live in a world where she didn't exist. And if Edward died, she really didn't care what happened to her. She actually wanted to die if that happened. But still, there is some sort of selflessness in that. Because we have to remember that she would also die for him, not just with him. And she was also fully aware that he might not want her even if she managed to save him, but she did it anyway. And that is selfless. I think that Bella valued her own life. It just had no meaning if Edward wasn't in it. But she was not consciously seeking to die. So, I still her willingness to sacrifice herself as unselfish behavior, because she doesn't do it with regard for herself. I will also extend this to Renesmee and Renee. She did it not for herself, but for them. But of course, this is an area where there are many shades of grey.
Angelvamp wrote:IMO, the crazy, insane, all-consuming love she has for Edward and her young age are a big motivation for her less than stellar actions in New Moon and Eclipse. Let's not forget that Edward pretty much broke her in NM, in ways that could not be mended. Is it possible that she was unconsciously trying to avenge herself? Trying to hurt him as much as he hurt her?

Edward did break her in the worst way possibly in NM. But I don't think Bella ever blamed him for it. At first she just accepted the fact that he didn't love her, because that was so expected for her. And after he came back, she was convinced that he only left for her safety. And I do believe she even said it somewhere that she didn't blame him for leaving. So I don't think she was trying to avenge herself. I think that she didn't even notice just how much she was hurting Edward. She just couldn't understand his position. And I think she needed to remember that Edward had the power to break her, but she also had the power to break him. Maybe even more than she knew, because he would never show his pain. So I'm leaning against the explanation that Bella was young, and she had some naive views on the world. She wanted everyone to co-exist like some happy little family with her in the middle and the pack and vampires around her. I don't think she realized that implications of what she was doing. On some level she must have seen that pain she was inflicting on the two guys, but she wasn't able to deal with it.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Angelvamp » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:39 pm

Dovrebanen wrote:In relation to Edward: Her life meant nothing if he wasn't alive, just like he couldn't live in a world where she didn't exist. And if Edward died, she really didn't care what happened to her. She actually wanted to die if that happened. But still, there is some sort of selflessness in that. Because we have to remember that she would also die for him, not just with him. And she was also fully aware that he might not want her even if she managed to save him, but she did it anyway. And that is selfless. I think that Bella valued her own life. It just had no meaning if Edward wasn't in it. But she was not consciously seeking to die. So, I still her willingness to sacrifice herself as unselfish behavior, because she doesn't do it with regard for herself. I will also extend this to Renesmee and Renee. She did it not for herself, but for them. But of course, this is an area where there are many shades of grey.


You bring up some really good points. I don't believe that Bella regards her life as expendable, by any means. And I do see some selflessness in sacrificing her life. It's just that a precedence of life sacrifice was established and recognized in every single book, almost to the point of hilarity. To me, that lessens Bella's value of her life. Of course, it wouldn't make for very good story-telling if everything was safe and easy. ;) And not only would her life have no meaning if Edward wasn't alive, it would have no meaning if they weren't together. You know, I think the only thing that kept her alive in NM was hoping Edward might return, not even Jacob was enough IMO.
Angelvamp wrote:IMO, the crazy, insane, all-consuming love she has for Edward and her young age are a big motivation for her less than stellar actions in New Moon and Eclipse. Let's not forget that Edward pretty much broke her in NM, in ways that could not be mended. Is it possible that she was unconsciously trying to avenge herself? Trying to hurt him as much as he hurt her?


Dovrebanen wrote:At first she just accepted the fact that he didn't love her, because that was so expected for her.

That is an excellent point!

Dovrebanen wrote:And after he came back, she was convinced that he only left for her safety. And I do believe she even said it somewhere that she didn't blame him for leaving. So I don't think she was trying to avenge herself. I think that she didn't even notice just how much she was hurting Edward. She just couldn't understand his position. And I think she needed to remember that Edward had the power to break her, but she also had the power to break him. Maybe even more than she knew, because he would never show his pain.

I'm not saying she blamed him consciously, but when someone is hurt that badly they tend to strike back, whether or not it is justified. At least, that's been my experience (on both ends and as an objective party). I don't think she cared why he came back, just that he did. I don't think she realized that she had the power to break him, good call. But to assume she is not aware of his pain just because he didn't show it, well, I don't think that is giving her enough credit.

Dovrebanen wrote: She wanted everyone to co-exist like some happy little family with her in the middle and the pack and vampires around her. I don't think she realized that implications of what she was doing. On some level she must have seen that pain she was inflicting on the two guys, but she wasn't able to deal with it.

This proves my point about her youth and naivety. She has never had an intimate relationship with the opposite sex before, not to mention any close friends outside of her immediate family. So I believe she is pretty inept when it comes to dealing with such heavy emotions and situations with new people. She made mistakes and tried to fix them and ended up making even bigger mistakes. It happens all the time. The best people can hope for is to learn from them, thus gaining maturity and wisdom, as it applies to relationships.

Thanks so much for your insights! This is great! :D
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Dovrebanen » Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:04 pm

Angelvamp wrote: You know, I think the only thing that kept her alive in NM was hoping Edward might return, not even Jacob was enough IMO.

Jacob wasn't enough at all for her. I think it was enough for her to stay alive, though. I think she would have stayed alive even if Edward had never come back. First and foremost for her parent's sake. But also because she made a promise to Edward. But I don't think she ever would have been happy without him. Content maybe, never truly happy. She needed him to have a meaningful life. But I sort of got the impression that Bella believed that Edward was never coming back. I guess the hope came back when she saw Carlisle's car, but even then she wouldn't allow herself to think that it was Edward. And even in Italy she believed that he didn't want her, so I think she had more or less accepted that he wasn't coming back.
Angelvamp wrote:
Dovrebanen wrote:At first she just accepted the fact that he didn't love her, because that was so expected for her.

That is an excellent point!

That was one of the things that was most striking for me in NM. How she just believed him and accepted what he said in the forest. It made complete sense for her, because he was always too good to be true for her. Her fairytale was over...

Angelvamp wrote: But to assume she is not aware of his pain just because he didn't show it, well, I don't think that is giving her enough credit.

I agree. She does on some level see his pain. But I don't think she fully realized the extent of it. If she did, she couldn't possibly do some of the things that she did. Not saying that Edward was flawless or that he did everything right. But everything he did was for her, on some level. And I can't say the same for Bella. Once you commit to a person the way she did with Edward, you have to take that person's feelings into consideration. And I just can't blame Edward for not wanting his girlfriend to hang out with his enemy.
Angelvamp wrote: She made mistakes and tried to fix them and ended up making even bigger mistakes. It happens all the time. The best people can hope for is to learn from them, thus gaining maturity and wisdom, as it applies to relationships.

I agree with you here. It is all part of growing up. And I think Bella did that towards the end of BD. She was brave when she stood up to everyone to keep her baby. And she clearly proved that all she wanted was Edward, because what mattered to her was that it was his baby. And against the Volturi she proved herself as a strong and brave woman, and not a girl.

I have some difficulties explaining what Bella did wrong concerning Jacob actually. Because I don't feel it is right to say that she should choose her boyfriend and dump her best friend in general. Relationships aren't like that. But the way the situation was, with Edward and Jacob being enemies and Jacob in love with Bella, I see no other option. When she chose to be with Edward for eternity, she should have let Jacob go. It would have hurt for a while, but in the end it would have been the best for Jacob. It was nothing but selfish of her to keep him there all that time.


Angelvamp wrote:Thanks so much for your insights!

Thank you for contributing to this discussion. I have enjoyed reading your posts :)
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby The Dark Knight » Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:38 am

Well done, well done indeed,

Depth and strong well thought out comments from everyone. Truly you bless all who take the time to read them. I think we are doing well at peeling back the layers of the onion that is Bella. We still have many layers to go. Let's keep the motivation discussion going. We have seen a few of them, Why does she keep Jacob around? She cares for him, as a best freind, but not as the love of her life. She know he's hurting because of her actions, but she keeps opening that wound, Why?

We are focusing on Edward and Jacob, but we also have to look at Charlie, Rosalie and and the rest. She also does things to them as well.

Her motives for Rosalie in BD are interesting to say the least. Why her?

What about Charlie, he is forever changed by her decisions and not in a good way? How does this play into this?
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Angelvamp » Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:45 am

Dovrebanen wrote:Jacob wasn't enough at all for her. I think it was enough for her to stay alive, though. I think she would have stayed alive even if Edward had never come back. First and foremost for her parent's sake. But also because she made a promise to Edward. But I don't think she ever would have been happy without him. Content maybe, never truly happy. She needed him to have a meaningful life. But I sort of got the impression that Bella believed that Edward was never coming back. I guess the hope came back when she saw Carlisle's car, but even then she wouldn't allow herself to think that it was Edward. And even in Italy she believed that he didn't want her, so I think she had more or less accepted that he wasn't coming back.


I agree with you here. I didn't even factor in her parents. :oops: You're right about Jacob being enough to keep her alive, with or without her promise to Edward. In fact, didn't she say something about going to Jacob TO stay alive? And I'm not sure if it is entirely her choice to keep Jacob around. He should be responsible for his actions as well, we can't just lay it all on Bella. But that's another thread, I'm sure. :)

I wonder how much the hope of seeing Edward again had to do with her still ticking. And I was wondering, if Edward never came back and Bella never saw him again, would she still feel like her life was worth living? This seems like the whole "If a tree falls in the forest..." thing. I mean, if she never sees him again, isn't that the same thing as him dying? How would she know if he did?

I really appreciate the chance to prattle on and on in this forum and I'm so grateful to be privy to everyone's interesting and insightful posts! You guys totally make my day! :D Especially you, Dovrebanen, I gotta be honest. :)
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