Bella Swan Cullen #3

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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Jazz Girl » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:35 pm

Leah Forever wrote:I have a question or two about Bella.

1. How is going into a catatonic state for a week and being a zombie for three months and three weeks an appropriate reaction to losing your high school boyfriend?

2. How could Bella possibly forget what Edward did to her, and as such why would she want to save him?

3. Why is it that Bella needs a MALE to get her out of the zombie state? Can't she get a counsellor? I mean, she could just say that's she having a lot of trouble getting over a break-up. She could say there was an argument. A counsellor will not ask what the boyfriend's species was, for goodness sake!

4. Come to think of it, why does Bella agree when referred to as the (male) Vampire Girl, and why does she call Emily the (male) Wolf Girl?


LeahForever~ I think the answers to your questions depend upon point of view. Most importantly, you cannot separate out the supernatural elements of the story. You can't simplify it to a high school romance or a teenaged break up. The intensity of the emotion involved, and therefore the intensity of the reactions involved, is base in the fact that this isn't a simple human love story. With that in mind, my opinions on your questions are as follows:

1) Edward was much more than just a "high school boyfriend" to Bella. In Bella's heart, head and soul, she already knew that they were fated to be together forever. She'd accepted it and was throwing herself headlong into it. When Edward left her, she lost her soul mate, as well as the life she'd chosen to lead, her entire future. And not only Edward. She also lost the entire family she'd chosen to be hers. To Bella, her life was quite literally over. And, add the fact that the person she believed to love her most told her he couldn't love her anymore. That kind of wound is a lot deeper than a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a weekend watching "chick flicks".

2) The simplest explanation is that, to quote Buffy, love makes you do the wacky. But, by way of a bit deeper examination, sometimes love makes total sense out of what is, to all others, complete nonsense. First, looking at why she saved him, that's the simplest explanation of all. She loves him. When you truly love someone, you don't want them hurt, period. No matter what else, Bella could not let Edward hurt, no matter what she thought his motives were. The pain you've suffered or could suffer because of that person doesn't matter. In your soul, you know that their pain will hurt you more deeply than anything else. As for forgetting what he did, I don't believe she ever forgot. More importantly, I'm willing to bet Edward would never let her. He will continue to flagellate himself for that mistake for centuries to come. But, I believe she forgave him completely. In loving Edward the way she does, Bella also grows to understand how he thinks and feels, to understand how he came to believe that leaving her was the best option. She grows to understand exactly why he did what he did, whether she agrees with it or not.

3) This one has so many layers. Bella lost the love of her life, her future, her family. It wasn't anywhere near as simple as an argument or just "a break up". It was all those very severe losses that sent Bella into the tailspin she experienced when Edward left. But, she could not share those details, the things that made everything so very bad and put her in that catatonic state. In not being able to share those specific things, counseling would have been of no help. Without complete honesty, any kind of therapy or counseling is ineffective at best. As the patient, you always know that the person does not truly understand all the circumstances and can't possibly know how to help. Which brings me directly to your contention that Bella needed a male to bring her from her state. She didn't need a male, persay. She needed someone who understood those details, knew completely the situation and exactly why she hurt so badly. It's why going out with Jessica or Angela didn't work. It wasn't that they were women and Jacob was a man. It was that she could be completely honest about her feelings, grieve her loss without hiding anything. Jacob could give her that.

4) I never saw the Vampire or Wolf girl comments as identifying themselves by the men they were with, but with the "side" they were with. Rather like during the prom, when she and Edward were joking back and forth about the vampires slaughtering the unsuspecting partiers and he asks her, "and where do you fit into that scheme?" She answers, "Oh, I'm with the vampires, of course." Remember, when she originally identifies herself as that, it's after Edward has left.

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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Susie » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:04 am

Jazz - I was going to say the same thing. Thanks for letting me go to bed early instead. ;) (Well said, as usual!)
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Leah Forever » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:34 am

I suppose.

If Bella had not chosen to go that way, though, it would have been an option. She could have gone another way, could lived an independent life, free of supernatural horror, and been normal. I cannot take her seriously for being catatonic for a week. In my head, that isn't a sign of deep love for somebody, it's a sign of some serious mental illness. The dangerous activities Bella performs, while perhaps for recreation and to hallucinate, are also slightly suicidal in my head, because Bella just wants to hear Edward, alive or not. Being suicidal, however slightly, is another sign of mental illness.

But true love means you can let go of someone if they need to be away from you - Harry and Ginny are a perfect example. Bella just couldn't let go of Edward. That, her constantly clinging to him = in my head, possessiveness, not love.

Jessica had experienced a break-up, though, and while it wasn't as severe as Bella's, she would have known what to do.

And after a couple of hallucinations as well. Emily was from the Mapuche tribe - where they don't have legends of wolves, as far as I'm aware - so she would identify herself with Sam in my head. But that's me.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Jazz Girl » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:31 pm

Leah Forever~ Normal is a matter of opinion. What is normal for one person is wrong for another. As for calling Bella's grief a sign of mental illness, I would ask you to please be careful using that term. Every person grieves in their own way, and Bella was grieving the loss of an awful lot. I went through a similar period of depression when my husband deployed with the military. Yes, prolonged depression can be a sign of a more serious condition. But, it is also a very typical part of the grieving process. Her danger-seeking behaviors should have caused great concern. They weren't a healthy way for her to deal with her feelings. I don't think anyone, even the most staunch of fans, will say that they are. But Bella wasn't suicidal. She did not want to die. Yes, the things she was doing were not the safest activities, but they were not active attempts to die.

I will agree with you that Bella struggled to let Edward go. I don't think you can honestly compare Bella & Edward to Ginny & Harry. Even if everything else were equal (which it really isn't), the situations in which Harry left Ginny and Edward left Bella were polar opposites. Harry left Ginny with the understanding that he loved her, but for the greater good, had to leave her behind. He also left her with the understanding that he would be coming back to her if he survived. Edward lied to Bella, telling her he no longer wanted her and that she would never see him or his family ever again. He turned every truth she thought she could count on on it's head. Also, remember, letting go is a process, not an event. By the end of New Moon, when they are in Italy, Bella was, in my opinion, ready to let Edward go. Yes, she still loved him and always would. Yes, it was going to hurt like hell to walk away from him again. But, she was also ready to accept his decision. That he finally put both of them out of their misery in coming clean and admitting he was a total jacka$$ and that he loved her more that day than ever is neither here nor there.

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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Fighting fate » Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:16 am

new around here and thought i would just dive right in :D

im not sure exactly who said it, i believe it was charlie. he had said something like: to her(bella) its not even like he just left, its as if someone died, Apologies!! it something like that i dont have my book on me. but i can see how bella would fall in to her catatonic state, because it wasnt just that her boyfriend left her, it was the ultimate love of her life telling her he didnt WANT her. and that to bella was the equivalent to a death. a piece of her was taken with him when he was gone, just like when someone close to you passes on, you can never be the same again. they have left a mark on your life, that to me doesnt seem like it can be fixed unless enough time goes by, until you can grieve properly, and we all grieve differently. Bellas way of dealing with things may not be similar to the way i would go about it, but i can understand why she did what she did under her circumstances.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby corona » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:39 pm

Jazz Girl wrote:LeahForever~ I think the answers to your questions depend upon point of view. Most importantly, you cannot separate out the supernatural elements of the story. You can't simplify it to a high school romance or a teenaged break up. The intensity of the emotion involved, and therefore the intensity of the reactions involved, is base in the fact that this isn't a simple human love story...


JazzGirl, as always, you get right to the point, one that you have made numerous times concerning the supernatural elements of the story. Let me inject a few thoughts as well, specifically regarding Bella’s reaction.

Bella speaks of her supernatural connection to Edward in EC when she considers her relationship to Jacob near the end of the book: “He was my soul mate in that world–would have been my soul mate still if his claim had not been overshadowed by something stronger, something so strong that it could not exist in a rational world”. I think a lot of critics grossly misinterpret this supernatural connection between Bella and Edward, as if Edward nefariously dazzles Bella and casts some magical spell over her that removes any possibility of choice (and which Bella willingly submits to). Edward dazzles Bella because she loves him and has completely opened her heart to him. The connection that Bella has to Edward is not the result of an overpowering outside force but Bella’s own response within herself, a sort of sympathetic resonance to Edward, like identical tuning forks placed together and vibrating to the same harmonic chord. Bella is ideally designed for Edward (and vice versa), not just as Edward’s mate, but also as the very rare individual who is ideally suited for the vampire life. Her commitment to Edward while still a human being is very similar Edward’s commitment to her as a vampire, which is something he never really grasps until the end of BD.

When Edward leaves Bella, she not only loses her one true love, her very identity is crushed, and she has no one that can understand and support and comfort her in her misery. Edward’s forbidding of Alice to see Bella is especially cruel. Alice is Bella’s only remaining connection to Edward, and this removes the last shred of hope she has to somehow find a way back to him. Alice is also Bella’s best friend and only person in her life that could understand, sympathize, offer a shoulder to cry on, and commiserate with her in her misery, but Bella is denied even this. And not allowing Alice to even say goodbye also unintentionally reinforces the message that Bella means absolutely nothing outside of her relationship with Edward. Is it any wonder that Bella’s nightmares are about being worthless and nothing herself?

I think Bella’s reactions are more understandable in that light. She is not quite the same human being after bonding with Edward, but more of a “vampire-to-be”, with one foot in the world of humans and one in the world of vampires. No one considers her actions to be appropriate, just…understandable. Her bonding is the source of her vivid hallucinations and the reason for her inability to let go and move on. Her humanity, though, still gives her the ability to eventually heal (to a point), and open up that fateful window to Jacob when she finally understands that her recklessness cannot continue.

Fighting fate wrote:im not sure exactly who said it, i believe it was charlie. he had said something like: to her(bella) its not even like he just left, its as if someone died, Apologies!! it something like that i dont have my book on me. but i can see how bella would fall in to her catatonic state, because it wasnt just that her boyfriend left her, it was the ultimate love of her life telling her he didnt WANT her. and that to bella was the equivalent to a death...


Yes, like it was Edward or even herself that died, something that really has no difference in the world of vampires between bonded mates, which is another clue to Bella’s unusual nature.
"It will take an amazing amount of control,” she mused. “More even than Carlisle has. He may be just strong enough…the only thing he’s not strong enough to do is stay away from her. That’s a lost cause.”
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Jazz Girl » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:06 pm

corona wrote:Yes, like it was Edward or even herself that died, something that really has no difference in the world of vampires between bonded mates, which is another clue to Bella’s unusual nature.


I always think that this is such a hugely important part of the equation when looking at Bella & Edward and how they feel, think and act, and yet it is one that almost everyone overlooks. Bella... she's almost more vampire than human from the beginning of The Saga. She was truly fated to be a part of that world. And, ironically, it's also one of the reasons that Edward fought so hard against her joining it. She is so perfectly suited to become a Cullen specifically that it's nigh on ridiculous that Edward fought so hard to prevent it, that he always underestimated how strong her emotions were.

I always felt like that was the piece of the puzzle that Edward never saw. He always underestimated the strength and degree of Bella's love for him because she was human, because he thought that, by default, he had to love her more because he was a vampire. In that, he underestimated exactly how devastating his loss would be to her, how she would react to it. I think we, as readers, make the same exact mistake. We hear very little about mated couples in the actual text, only that the connection between them, the emotion, is very very intense, even in vampires who live traditionally. But, we know that the Cullens, as veggies, feel things more intensely than traditional vampires. It follows naturally that the Cullens would feel even more intensely connected to their mates and I always felt that Bella, as someone more vampire than human and more Cullen than vampire, would fit that mold exactly. Her connection to Edward specifically but the entire family as well would be emotionally intense and strongly so, already rivaling that of Edward's to her. So, it absolutely follows that Bella's reaction to losing Edward AND the family would mirror Edward's reaction in losing her, going beyond what we might see as normal human grief to something preternatural.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Fighting fate » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:39 pm

YESS!! exactly what i was thinking but said much more eloquently then i ever could. This being said, do you think that the strength of Bella's love surpassed Edward's? Because if a vampire's feelings are intensified in the transformation, and the cullens being veggie vamps making their emotions even more prodominant, but even still, Bella's feelings fell right in line with what Edward's were. If humans were supposedly incabable of feeling the intensified emotions of a vampire (or so Edward thought) does that mean that Bella's love was so strong that it kept up with the intense love of a vampire. Or do you think she is a special case of her own, having nothing to do with vampires or humans, and thats why she is able to love Edward so strongly?

Just some random thoughts of mine :D
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby Jazz Girl » Sat Jan 22, 2011 7:08 pm

I think that, anytime you try to rank one person's feelings compared to the other, you are doing both of them a disservice. That being said, the idea that Bella's feelings, already as intense as a Cullens as a human, would be intensified even more by the transformation kind of makes sense. My thoughts of this are kind of jumbled, so I beg your forgiveness while I kind of unjumble them. Yes, I absolutely believe that Bella's feelings, even as "just a human", matched Edward's. They both loved each other beyond reason. Edward's assumption that he loved Bella more because he was a vampire, was exactly that, an assumption. He underestimated Bella's feelings and her reactions to and expressions of them because he always believed that everything about vampires was superior to that of humans. I don't know that I agree with his assumption. Yes, we know that vampires ability to process things, their intellect, is enhanced. But, I always saw that as a product of their enhanced physical capabilities. Thoughts, mental processes, are the product of synapses firing in the brain, chemical compounds crossing receptors etc. It stands to reason that, just like their physical abilities are enhanced by the transformation, so too are those other physical processes. Emotions, many believe, are very different things. Yes, there is a physiological component to them. But they are a phenomenon all their own. The movie Untamed Heart always captured it best for me, when Christian Slater's character asks, "if I don't actually love you with my heart, why does it hurt so bad right here when you're not with me?" Emotions cannot be understood solely through physiological processes.

Where am I going with this? Yes, Edward always assumed (and we as readers took his word for it) that vampire emotions are stronger than humans. But, where he underestimated Bella so many times, I think he did here as well. I think Bella, already so much more Cullen than human, already had that emotional intensity, that level of love. So, she and Edward shared that same level of love to start out with. When the transformation came, I think both Bella and Edward's feelings intensified again. Bella was being transformed into a vampire, intensifying everything about her. But, Edward experienced that intensifying as well. Edward watched Bella, the love of his life, suffer and die and suffer again so that she could bring his child into the world, and then join him in eternity. Edward, who always thought himself a monster unworthy of love, watched the only person he would ever love, experience those things because of her love for him. If there was ever anything that could make him love her more, I think it would be that. So, when she awoke after her transformation, having given Edward everything he ever wanted and even things he didn't know to ask for... Both of them mad "regular" vampire love look like a sad human imitation in comparison.
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Re: Bella Swan Cullen #3

Postby StellaBlueBella » Sat Jan 22, 2011 11:40 pm

Leah Forever wrote:I have a question or two about Bella.

1. How is going into a catatonic state for a week and being a zombie for three months and three weeks an appropriate reaction to losing your high school boyfriend?

2. How could Bella possibly forget what Edward did to her, and as such why would she want to save him?

3. Why is it that Bella needs a MALE to get her out of the zombie state? Can't she get a counsellor? I mean, she could just say that's she having a lot of trouble getting over a break-up. She could say there was an argument. A counsellor will not ask what the boyfriend's species was, for goodness sake!

4. Come to think of it, why does Bella agree when referred to as the (male) Vampire Girl, and why does she call Emily the (male) Wolf Girl?


I don't really know what to say about #4 but, I think #'s 1-3 are all symptoms of one root cause. First, I don't think we should expect the characters of any book to be perfect or icons of emotional stability... That would make for a rather boring read. And of course, this is a story about a girl falling in love with a vampire so there is the whole supernatural connection thing going on but still, that doesn't explain away why Bella so easily lost herself. I'll give my best attempt at a little layman's psychoanalysis just for the heck of it...

Bella saw her father all of two weeks a year and her relationship with her mother was inverted, Bella playing the role of parent and Rene the role of child, which in my mind makes for a neglectful mother and an absent father. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say Bella probably had some abandonment issues and father figure issues before she ever even met Edward. It is highly likely without the proper love and support from either of her parents Bella also has issues with her own self-worth, like not having nearly enough. Just for the record, I do not mean to be critical of Bella, I think she is described as almost unbelievably well adjusted considering her circumstances. So anyway, she meets Edward and soaks his love up like its water and she's been lost in the desert for the last 17 years. And when its ripped away from her outta the blue, she totally freaks out and she doesn't have the love and comfort of a great relationship with ANYONE to fall back on for support. She gets that eventually from Jacob but he wasn't in the picture when Edward first left her. Add in all the supernatural love aspects with all her issues and of course she is more than willing to take him back with open arms. At least imho.
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