Imprinting

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Re: Imprinting

Postby Knives » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:14 pm

corona wrote:December, Suzan,

That theory works most of the time, and is pretty much what Jacob tells Bella when he informs her about Quil and Claire, that Quil will basically be whatever it is that Claire needs him to be. His later discussion with Leah in BD, though, tends to kind of blur what the exact nature is.


You know, I've heard this statement before (bolded for emphasis). HofJ actually said that, "If Claire would never need Quil, then he would have never imprinted on her." (quote may be mangled by lack of proper memory). I find this statement to be extremely confusing. There's no evidence, in-story or out of it, that imprinting (or shapeshifting) comes with any kind of precognitive properties. Indeed, Ms. Meyer is pretty thoroughly on record as stating that imprinting is a genetic urge aimed at procreation. So if the imprinter becomes "whatever his beloved needs" without any special knowledge, it'll probably be much closer to what that person wants, which is very, very different.

Incidentally, while Ms. Meyer says it's "hard to resist that level of devotion", personal experience from my end will tell you that such a level of devotion isn't sweet, it's extremely creepy, even if they're the same age. You don't want to get to know or date such a person, you want them to leave you alone, quit staring at you, and for the love of all that is holy, no you do not need help carrying your books home. I consider this to be a failure on Ms. Meyer's part to research or understand basic psychology.

Differing opinions?
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Re: Imprinting

Postby Openhome » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:49 pm

Recently, this thread has been busy with a very serious discussion on Imprinting. Several comments have been made on it that are both pertinent and brilliant, and some wonderful questions have arisen. I am impressed with the comments that have been made, however, to discuss this issue, we will need to set some ground rules. These will be in place so that we can continue discussing the hotter issues, such as the ones below that Knives brought up (I have edited them a bit), without a huge fight or nasty author-bashing.

Knives wrote:"Because, despite modern misconceptions, it doesn't work that way. For one thing, Claire will, in all likelihood, grow up seeing Quil as an uncle or relative figure. Family. Friend. Not lover. The reason siblings aren't attracted to each other has nothing to do with genetics - it's growing up with that person, being around them all the time, knowing them in the way that family members do. Raise a brother and sister far apart from each other and, if they're chemically/emotionally/mentally compatible, you'll have some awkwardness. Sure, Claire will love Quil - like she'd love an uncle, or a cool older brother. Left to make the choice on her own, not told about the imprint, Quil would end up a very lonely wolf, but since both he and the pack expect him to be with Claire later on, that's highly unlikely.

So, why would she want to leave? Disgust might be one reason. Lack of personal choice. And what happens if she wants to be with another man? Quil certainly isn't going to want to share. Can he swallow his obsession long enough to let her have relationships? Maybe. But if he doesn't, Claire will want to get out from under his shadow. There's all kinds of ways this can go wrong, which is why I - wait for it - don't like imprinting. It's a sick mock-up of a healthy relationship. It's not love. It's obsession, and there's a dangerous difference between the two."


I feel this quote and reply are particularly relevant to the current discussion. Regardless of whether or not Nessie can pick up super-duper grown-up wisdom in seven years, there will be a period - a significant period, actually - during which she is emotionally immature and unready for the implications of imprinting - implications which her parents seem perfectly okay with. Permitting her relationship with Jacob as it is presented in Breaking Dawn is similar to child grooming, which is illegal and abusive. Worse, it has long-term effects on the psyche that I find both unforgivable and completely horrific (note that I view the Quil/Claire relationship the exact same way).

Incidentally, most of my arguments re: child grooming are essentially parroted from my psych professor, who uses Twilight for examples of various emotional and relationship disorders. Mind, she also uses Wuthering Heights for a few.


While I don’t agree with them all, the points Knives brings up are valid concerns about imprinting and deserve to be discussed here, but we can ONLY continue if the following ground rules are followed.
(See post below)
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Re: Imprinting

Postby Openhome » Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:56 pm

Yes, it's a double post. I'm a mod. Get over it. ;)

This thread has taken on some very serious issues that arise from the moral and psychological ramifications of imprinting. For the most part, you have all discussed this very hot button issue with taste and common sense. I applaud the fact that you have been able to discuss this with the friendly tone that you have. This is a tough issue for everyone, especially me, as I was a foster mother for many years.

I am anxious to see the conversation continue. However, this issue must be discussed in the right tone and with the right intentions. Because the Lex is not going to allow a few things, we need to set up some ground rules. These can be found in Pel’s Site Philosophy here. Basically, we can all continue to discuss imprinting so long as it is kept in perspective and respectful.

Again, I am not trying to stop the discussion in any way. As I said, as a foster mother, I have issues with how Stephenie Meyer fulfilled her HEA for Jacob -- both literarily and philosophically. I often wonder if Stephenie herself would like a do-over on that one.

Here are some ground rules for the continued discussions:

1. This is a discussion of a FANTASY world and it’s workings. This is not a discussion of REAL LIFE. Please keep the two separate.

2. Be clear on what you are arguing. Is it imprinting itself that you detest? Say so. Is it only on children? State it clearly. (For myself, I have no issue with adult imprinting as a part of a fantasy world. Other series have imprinting as a key component of the love stories.)

3. Do not bash the author. If that is why you are here, go somewhere else. Stephenie intended for imprinting to give her two most worthy characters a perfect HEA. She loved Renesme and Jacob, and wanted them to have their own perfect piece of forever. At no point in time did Stephenie intend for the imprinting to mimic pedophelia. Never.

4. This one is important. You may not call the character a pedophile. Period. You may not call them groomers. Period. You may say that the way it is presented acts like grooming or that it is unhealthy or whatever, but do not call people names. Argue the point, do not attack the person or the fictional character.

5. Finally, please keep this in perspective. This is an intellectual discussion. It makes no difference in the real world and isn’t worth getting upset over.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on this very controversial but very interesting issue.
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Re: Imprinting

Postby Knives » Fri Jan 28, 2011 7:48 pm

(For myself, I have no issue with adult imprinting as a part of a fantasy world. Other series have imprinting as a key component of the love stories.)


I've read some of those stories, and I really must object; both the context and reality of imprinting is different than how it's presented in Twilight. Let us take, say, Elfquest as an example. Two elves may form a bond upon seeing each other for the first time; this bond is a reciprocal feeling of overwhelming lust and desire powerful enough to lead to self-destructive behavior if denied too long. It is similar to, but not synonymous with love, and while traces of this bond may linger after consummation (and, indeed, may form the foundation of a relationship) they are not all-consuming nor all-important. In fact, over the course of the main Elfquest story, there is at least one bond that forms between enemies that hate each other and attempt to deny it; after consummation, they have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

That has significant differences from the Twilight version of imprinting, including putting power over the relationship equally into the hands of both bonded individuals.

Aside from that, I do have objections to imprinting from one adult wolf onto a female human, mainly because imprinting has the various sticky connotations that I've discussed before. What if the imprintee wants nothing to do with the wolf? What if she's married? Lesbian? In a relationship? Emotionally damaged? All of these are situations where the imprint creates problems, several of these problems significant. Is the wolf going to be able to restrain himself? Will he care? And if the person the wolf imprints on isn't part of the tribe itself, good luck wooing that individual; the obsession and constant need to be near the object of the wolf's affection will be difficult to mask and, if not concealed, will come across as creepy and unnerving, not flattering or sexy. If she is part of the tribe, well, we've seen in the series how conformity with the imprint is a cultural expectation, but such peer pressure is far from right.

No, I don't agree with Ms. Meyer's vision of imprinting at all. It's...bad. And it reminds me rather uncomfortably of both incidents in my life and of problems my relatives and friends have had in their love lives. It's not "true love", it's an obsession.
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Re: Imprinting

Postby December » Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:09 pm

Knives wrote:I consider this to be a failure on Ms. Meyer's part to research or understand basic psychology.

Heh. How funny, I've just been writing something about precisely this question of psychological plausibility. But I think I need to finish my post in the morning -- it's around the time of night I stop making sense! To be continued....
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Re: Imprinting

Postby corona » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:22 pm

Aaargh! Here I am trying to figure out Nessie’s current apparent age, and I’m off by a whole year. Nessie isn’t closing in on 3 1/2, she is almost 4 1/2, so it is this year, not next, that she just might be able to sync into public school. I see her as appearing to be somewhere between 14 and 15 right now, still growing faster than normal but much slower than her first few years.

Openhome, I’m actually not for or against imprinting per se, I’m still trying to understand exactly what it is. This is prompted due to Jacob and Nessie, and I never gave the whole idea much though until it was brought center stage and spotlighted in BD. And, yes, it is the idea of a child being imprinted on that causes concern and starts the mental wheels and cogs turning, trying to construct a theory for how it all works and trying to shoehorn it into wherever we believe that SM is leading us to. A lack of clarity leads to making assumptions, which lead to potential misinterpretations. For example, I naturally lean to some element of the “soul-mate” theory based on my own desire to have some controls in play, a belief that SM would also see that as desirable, and the additional evidence that all known adult imprints lead to romantic relationships. That helps to resolve a lot of potential problems for me, in that both partners have a high degree of consideration for each other and would tend to avoid taking destructive paths. That may very well be a mistake on my part, SM may have had a simpler, primal genetic kind of force behind the whole imprinting thing, and it just so happened that the adult couples were very lucky in their compatibility personality-wise. I don’t know. Maybe the Illustrated Guide coming out in April will provide more details.

Knives, your observation about Claire and Quil remaining in little sister / big brother mode is apt. Once Claire bonds with Quil in that manner, that is the way that relationship will stay and she will be unable to see him any differently. If Quil is incapable of pursuing or even thinking of a romantic relationship with Claire until she flips that switch herself, then the odds are heavily against them ever becoming a couple. She will never reject a romantic relationship, because she will never even consider it in the first place. And that is the almost certain outcome, regardless of whether you accept the genetic theory or soul-mate theory or some combination of the two. In this case, the imprinting misfires and ironically provides the best assurance that romance never develops between the two. That doesn’t prevent SM from making it happen in future stories, but I’ve always considered the possibility that whenever she does write them that Quil and Claire’s relationship do not morph into romance.

As an interesting parallel, take the fanfic Emancipation Proclamation. Bella and Edward meet in their teens and form a romantic relationship. The primary plot, however, deals with the now-defunct possibility that years ago Bella could have been adopted into Edward’s family, and then Edward and Bella would have become siblings, not lovers. When Edward discovers this it is pretty mind-blowing to him, as he just cannot wrap his mind around the concept of Bella as being his adopted sister and, thus, not attracted to her physically, but he knows that if that had happened then their relationship would have been different.
"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: Imprinting

Postby Openhome » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:40 am

Corona, as far as imprinting goes, there have been many authors that have utilized it in many different scenarios. For some it works (Nalini Singh's books come to mind) and for some it doesn't (the Quill Claire relationship). I think your point is excellently made, that loving the one you consider your bother (or even a cousin) has a MASSIVE ewwwww factor (this statement really needs a puking smilie!).

And Knives, I believe that..
wait for it...
you are right in that SM didn't think the process through clearly. I believe she tried to find a reason for an unreasonable happy ending for characters that didn't deserve one yet. While imprinting could have given us that, it did so too quickly in the timeline. It was a bad plot choice, nice idea, but bad plot choice.

Imprinting is a natural phenomena that occurs in some species for periods of time or their whole lives. It is a way in which the chemical in the brain are altered so that the animal is drawn to it's mother, pack or mate. Normally, it occurs when the animal is a newborn. Geese are well known for imprinting, and here is an excellent article on it. There has even been some speculation that humans can imprint somewhat (this article.)

With this in mind, many stories that have humans mixed with animal (changeling and werewolf) can usually use imprinting as a way to find and keep a mate. Even the Black Dagger Brotherhood series has its vampires imprinting. For these, however, it is a slower process, though equally as strong when completed. It is also ALWAYS between adults. It is a form of soul mate bonding in them, though the probability that the couples are the best genetic choices for each other is also brought out.

I think that SM meant for the bond to be for both reasons. The person is the best soul mate choice (which would allow for younger imprinting) but also the best genetic choice. However, as you have both pointed out, genetic imprinting should have only occurred with sexually functioning adults. There is no reason to imprint on a sterile child, and the possibility of successful mating is much lower rather than with an adult.
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Re: Imprinting

Postby Knives » Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:58 am

Openhome wrote:Knives, I believe that..
wait for it...
you are right.


Sigg'd. For. The. Win.
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Re: Imprinting

Postby Suzan » Wed Feb 09, 2011 11:20 am

This has indeed become an interesting discussion. I am afraid that some of it might be going over my head though, so correct me if I understand anything wrong.

Knives wrote:Indeed, Ms. Meyer is pretty thoroughly on record as stating that imprinting is a genetic urge aimed at procreation.

I did not know that actually. Do you know where you heard, read or seen that? I’ve only been a fan for little over half a year now (don’t know which rock I’ve been living under before) and there is probably a lot of stuff that I haven’t seen yet. :blush:
Where you referring to the conversation between Leah and Jacob in BD? I’ve always thought of that as pure speculation on Leah’s part. Jacob says that they don’t know why they imprint, they just have their theories. Leah is bitter about her femininity problems, the fact that she hasn’t imprinted and her heartbreak over Sam so she tends to believe in the genetics theory. However, she is the first female werewolf so they have no way of knowing that she is a ‘genetic dead end’. She has only been a wolf for half a year at the end of BD so who is to say that she will never imprint?
There are other wolfs in the pack that haven’t imprinted and considering it was always seen as a rare phenomenon, it is safe to say that some wolfs never imprint. Going by the theory that imprinting is a genetic urge aimed at procreation and that it happens to ensure the best chances to pas on the wolf-gene aren’t all wolves destined to imprint? Imprinting would actually be very inefficient in passing on the gene. Basic evolution tells us that the best way for a species to survive is to create as much offspring as possible. (For example, look at panda’s who have very difficult reproduction and are nearly extinct. Or have you ever wondered why humans like ‘procreation’ so much?) If the werewolf species were to survive the best way possible, they shouldn’t imprint at all or imprint on multiple people.

Knives wrote: we've seen in the series how conformity with the imprint is a cultural expectation, but such peer pressure is far from right.

corona wrote:A lack of clarity leads to making assumptions, which lead to potential misinterpretations…the additional evidence that all known adult imprints lead to romantic relationships.

I think the expectations of both the Quileute’s and the readers are part of the problem here, while not nearly enough is known about the nature of imprinting. All we have are suggestions, theories and assumptions. As far as I remember Quil was the first ever to imprint on a child and we don’t know what their relationship will be, just as much as the Quileute’s don’t know what will happen. Since all adult imprints naturally developed in a romantic relationship, the Quileute’s (and the readers) always assumed they end up together. However, if Quil and Clair (as well as Jacob and Renesmee) start their relationship as feeling like siblings it will not develop in a romance as long as they don’t want that, as corona and I wrote before. And while I also agree that peer pressure is very wrong, I don’t think they will be forced to be romantic towards each other if they feel like brother and sister.

Openhome wrote:And Knives, I believe that..
wait for it...
you are right in that SM didn't think the process through clearly. I believe she tried to find a reason for an unreasonable happy ending for characters that didn't deserve one yet. While imprinting could have given us that, it did so too quickly in the timeline. It was a bad plot choice, nice idea, but bad plot choice.

I second that statement. This is basically my problem with BD, not the imprinting itself. Don’t get me wrong, I love the basic plot and (as you probably know by now) I have nothing against imprinting. It is just that BD is not my favorite book because I felt it was rushed. The storytelling went way faster than especially Twilight and New Moon, while I actually expected it to slow down because of Bella’s new super-human vampire thinking abilities. But I guess that is something for another topic...

One last comment: I’m really enjoying this discussion as well as your comments and opinions, but I want to tell you upfront that I will very stubbornly hold on to my believe that imprinting is a good thing, for my own reading pleasure. Hope you don’t mind :wink:
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Re: Imprinting

Postby Snowstone » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:13 pm

I'm writing a little one-shot of Leah, post Breaking Dawn. I have a question about imprinting, If she imprinted on a human and then he was turned to vampire would the imprinting be maintained, or would it disappear?
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