Knives wrote:These vampires are still intelligent. They have feelings, desires, and wishes, just like humans do. They have families and share the same religions - many of them still vote the way they used to vote. And yet, they feel - they resonate - more with mythic vampires than I feel the Twilight vampires do or ever could. Why? Part of it is the Cullens themselves. By defining them as main characters, they are the poster children upon which the entire archetype is hung. No matter that, in-universe, they are the exceptions to the rule; the reader interacts with the Cullens, which makes all the other examples feel like inferior or incorrect specimens. Another part of it is the subject of immortality vs. undeath; one a curse, the other a blessing. Aside from a struggle to not kill - one which, if the Cullens are any example, eventually becomes automatic if not necessarily easy - there is no cost for being a vampire. You do not give up your emotions or empathy. You do not lose part of your soul to a raging, bloodlusting, animalistic force. You don't age, grow feeble, or change physically. You do still change mentally, being able to learn, take advantage of new facts, and even grow. Where's the downside? I don't see one.
That's all the time I have left - more later!
I think you make a key point. Those vampires you referenced, those in Requiem, feel more like vampires to you. You clearly have a very specifically defined notion of what a vampire can and can't be, do, think or feel. You are, for lack of a better term, a purist who wishes vampires to remain in the established realm. I make no bones with that. There are many out there who feel the same way. However, there are millions out there who look at SM's version of the vampire as a possibility just as likely as the next. There is no rule of law that says she can't change the mythology or the story a little. Make Carlisle the first to really attempt and succeed at living sans human blood. Afterall, the biology could make sense. Humans are, after all, mammals. We are animals. The difference is form and function. At the most base level, we all have warm, oxygenated blood that disperses chemicals and substances to our cells.
I absolutely, however, have to challenge your notion that there isn't a downside to being a Twilight vampire. I think the Cullens most of all would agree with me. I'll take first your assertion that resisting the urge to kill becomes automatic. It is a constant struggle for all of them. We know this from all manner of references in the text of all four novels, as well as Midnight Sun. Resisting is a constant battle of control, of conscious mind contradicting and overcoming utter instinct, of physical ability to conquer pain and suffering. Again, the analogy of lighting ones hand on fire and resisting the urge to immediately dunk it in the bucket of icewater. Yes, Carlisle becomes so proficient at it that he can be exposed to blood without outwardly belying his temptation. But, even he is the first to acknowledge that the impulse, the thirst is always there. And, that thirst only serves as a reminder of a vampire's true nature, which is where the struggle originates. For ones such as the Cullens, who choose to retain their humanity through strength of will alone, the mere reminder of what they struggle against is a torment. It is the basis for Edward's constant battle with himself. His nature is to take and to kill. But, to even have to struggle with that impulse where the woman he loves more than his life is concerned, that's the definition of torture. Add to that the constant question that there is truly no way to answer, the existence of their soul. For that to be a question, particularly for one such as Carlisle, a true man of faith and of God, I don't think I would find that easy at all.
As for surrendering emotions and empathy, I think you have to separate them as we know them. Yes, absolutely, vampires feel all emotions. And, they feel them much more intensely than humans do or, in my opinion, can really truly understand. But, empathy is another thing entirely. Just because you can understand another beings emotions does not mean you take them into consideration, does not mean you identify with them and can act accordingly. To the contrary, we are told that it is really only due to the Cullen's unique diet that they are able to hold on to their empathy and act upon it. Even Jasper, who's gift is to have the emotions of others foisted on him, does not react on those emotions until such time as he stops feeding on human blood. So again, we come back to that downside, that price. The price for holding on to one's empathy, to their ability to act and react humanely comes at the sacrifice of one's true nature and instincts.
You assert that one " do[es] not lose part of your soul to a raging, bloodlusting, animalistic force" And yet, that is how Edward constantly describes himself. That is really how we are shown other vampires who do not make the "vegetarian" choice. Edward is constantly comparing his two sides, his dualities. He talks about seeing himself almost as...TwoFace of Batman fame, if you will pardon the reference. On the one side is the dutiful son of Carlisle, constantly struggling to make himself a better man and worthy (in his eyes) of his father-figure's belief in him, a man worthy of the love and trust placed in him by a beautiful innocent. On the other side is the red-eyed soulless monster who would drain that innocent and any other that stood between him and her for a bare moments satisfaction. Or (in his eyes) worse! Take the life of that woman in a most selfish act so that he doesn't have to worry about killing her or losing her. The line between the two is razor thin and Edward tapdances back and forth along it until he no longer has a choice.
Again, it all boils down to choice. What I see here is you believe vampires shouldn't have the choice, or be able to make it without wasting away. What I see is that the ability and struggle to make that choice and to keep making it, torturous encounter after torturous encounter, does not make them less vampire, just more human.