corona wrote:I'm posting mainly to bump this up for the active topics. I'll post more in-depth later.
Jazz Girl, I'm going to pay you what I hope you consider to be a compliment. Your outlook sometimes is very Edwardian.
Oh, believe me, Corona, I consider that the highest of compliments.
Tornado wrote:The choice of accepting Edward, with all the stuff that goes with being a vampire, would be an extraordinarily difficult decision to make. I wouldn't think less of SM, or of her feelings for Edward, if she honestly said she wasn't brave enough to do it, especially since that makes it an issue of the difficulty involved in that choice (in giving up family, etc), rather than that Jacob is preferable as a person. I don't think it devalues Edward or gives Jake a superior position. In fact, I think it's telling that she let Bella make the opposite decision. She's honest in saying she wouldn't be brave enough for that, if this was a real situation, but she makes Bella brave enough for it, because she believes Edward deserves her. She is his reward. She makes Bella do what she probably wishes she was brave enough to do.
December mentioned that this is a close parallel to the Explorations thread. And this is an issue I raised there as well. And, I may be the only person who has this hang up, but it goes along with what I mentioned before about the main conflict of the love story. Yes, I recognize that I may be dealing with semantics here. But, to my mind, Bella does not actually get to make that choice. Yes, she makes a choice that she knows will lead to her transformation. She knows Edward, and she knows that when it comes down to watching her die or changing her, he will choose to change her and give her the life he has. But, it's not the same as Bella and Edward freely choosing together to move forward with her change. No other pressures. No outside dynamics playing a part. No threat hanging over their head that amounts to, "let her die or change her." They are never allowed to say, "I love you and us more than I fear anything else."
As I said, I think that this is the one central issue that Stephenie could not reconcile to her personal beliefs. I am by no means a religious scholar. But, I don't think you have to be to understand that protecting one's immortal soul is done by living a moral life. Most moral codes are dictated by what most believers see as living by God's commandments. Given all the questions Edward raised about the loss of his soul and taking Bella's soul if he transformed her, for him to then change his belief 180 degrees would essentially be saying that he loved his wife more than he loved God and valued their love more than he valued their souls. To most believers, that is an unacceptable decision.
However, even though so many have a severe moral disagreement with the idea of killing as an act of mercy, if Edward was forced to take her life as a way to save her, and if Bella gave her life in order to bring a life into the world, then the issue becomes much less black and white, doesn't it? How does Bella choose to die and leave her child motherless? Easy, she accepts that her transformation at least protects her child and gives her the opportunity to redeem her soul through further goodness. How does Edward stand by and refuse to prevent the death of his wife and daughter (who is at this point free from any sin)? In my mind, the dilemma of protecting Ness muddies the waters just enough to at least make the choice an acceptable one.
Is this a conscious consideration in SM's writing process? That I don't know. While I don't know Stephenie's writing process, I rather doubt it. But the reality of the writing process in general is that we write what we feel and our spiritual beliefs certainly play into what we feel. I'm not maintaining at all that Stephenie said to herself, "I can't just let them choose X. That would be morally wrong." What I'm saying is that, in her story development process, she might have seen having a mitigating factor to necessitate the final choice as just what had to happen.