Fantastic post, Heart_in_Hand. I agree with you 100%. I really attribute both Jasper's and Edward's natures much to the fact that they have such a unique experience of the world. They are, in a way, so much more vulnerable to it than those of us who walk blindly through it. Between the two of them they get a fuller, more visceral experience of what is going on the world round. And, because of their tendency to turn all things inward, to see them as a reflection of themselves, they are effected by it so much more deeply. I really see this as the root cause of why both of them are so hyperprotective of their partners. For Jasper, he's experienced the evil first hand and has finally found hope in Alice. Loosing that, loosing her, is incomprehensible to him. But, at least he has the comfort of knowing that, even where the most vile of things lurk, she isn't in all that much danger.Heart_in_Hand wrote:First off I want to say that you are absolutely right. Edward and Jasper had quite different backgrounds, and they aren't entirely the same person to be sure. However, I do think they are very similar and I just wanted to add one little thing to your assessment here. Edward can read Jasper's mind. I know Jasper said in MS that that just reading his mind about it isn't the same as living it, and that is true, but there's more to it. Edward may not have lived the wars, but he sees them in Jasper's mind, and anyone else's mind who happens to be thinking about them. Now, Edward is perhaps the most compassionate and introspective character I have ever encountered in a novel and I do not think we should discount how these illustrations would affect him. Nobody knows the cruelness and corruption that dwells in the minds of humans and vampires alike better than Edward. How could he not be wary and pessimistic with the constant reminder of how horrid people can be being drilled into his mind day in and day out? That is why I feel that Edward is at least on the same level as Jasper in that respect and why I think they have a lot more in common than just their quiet and pensive nature.
However, Edward is just doomed. It's almost a reverse of why I think Jasper was so overcome with bloodlust at the birthday party (not only was he dealing with his own cravings, but also the emotional reactions of 5 other vampires all desiring Bella's blood). Edward not only experiences his own thoughts and reactions and horrors at the world around him, but those of everyone else around him. It has to have a kind of magnifying power on the way even his massive vampire mind can process the information. He even says it does in the first pages of MS (talking about feeling double the thirst for another student because Jasper is dwelling on it so much). How then can he not take to heart all of those things two, or five, or ten, or one hundred fold?
As for Edward's strengths and weaknesses, honestly not as easy a question as I thought. It really starts with how you define those terms. If, as Malaz seems to have defined weakness, at least, as the thing that makes him most vulnerable, than Bella would absolutely qualify as #1. It's funny. There was a post on the movie thread about the fact that Rob wasn't in tune with Edward because he hunched his shoulders a lot and Edward, as the strong and confident man he is just wouldn't do that. But, this is precisely why he did that. Yes, Edward is strong and confident. But, Bella can bring him to his knees in a heartbeat and without even trying. And he will gladly stay there for the rest of time, if that's what she needs. That being said, I love your argument, Ariadnee, that she can be/is his greatest strength. It's amazing what love can teach you, isn't it?
Using the same type of definition then, strengths being those things that make him most impervious, the answer there is being a vampire, and all of the gifts that come with it. But, I don't dilute myself into thinking that's what Mrs.Edward_Cullen<3 meant. So, expanding the definition to include best and worst character traits, still not as easy as I would think. As far as weaknesses, Edward is an insufferable know-it-all with no concept of gray areas, he blames himself for everything (even things he couldn't possibly have had in a hand in or that just plain didn't happen...Honeymoon anyone?), and he's stubborn as all get out. The list for strengths could go on for a long time. The key is, as LeahRoseLover says, that Edward is, to his core, a good man who will always choose what is right. And, that feeds so naturally into the rest of those things that we love about him; gentility, overwhelming loving and devoted, intelligent, cultured, courageous, with just a hint of mischief hidden in there somewher. ~sigh~