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Picking Apart Twilight, The Novel – Chapter 6

October 14, 2011

After the last chapter, it was interesting to learn that there are in fact other high schools both inside and outside the country that do indeed do the prick your finger, learn your blood type thing. I learned something today. It’s something that would have never been a thing at my high school at my time. Thanks, guys.

6. SCARY STORIES

As I sat in my room, trying to concentrate on the third act of Macbeth, I was really listening for my truck. I would have thought, even over the pounding rain, I could have heard the engine’s roar. But when I went to peek out the curtain – again – it was suddenly there.

One, girl, you’re totally nerdy. Do you do anything else other than read classic English fiction and literature? Okay, okay, I’m being picky. I knew plenty of girls at that age who were interested in that sort of thing. The only difference is that they were also interested in OTHER stuff. Bella just doesn’t appear to have any other normal interests.

Secondly, I’m actually intensely curious as to how the truck got there. How exactly did it get there so quietly? Is it possible that one of our vampire family lifted the truck all the way from school and carried it all the way over to Bella’s house? Actually, that would ALMOST make sense, considering the fact that Bella never actually gave anybody the keys to her truck. Really unrealistic, but the most likely answer.

Bella’s female friends seem to be irritable with her. This could be for one of two reasons. One, they’re perhaps all jealous or otherwise upset that Bella’s been ditching the group to go hang out with Edward (after all, she seems to be the only person other than his own family that he’s ever hung out with extensively). Two, they’re jealous of her because she so easily grabbed the attention of all of the boys they all like. Maybe they’re even bothered that all the boys like her and she simply blows them all off like it’s no big deal. This is a huge indication of a Mary Sue self-insertion character. The boys want her and the girls want to be her, and the only reason they dislike her now is most likely due to some form of jealousy. The only thing that bugs me at this point is that the book isn’t telling me why literally EVERY girl seems to be pissed with her. It’s annoying.

We’re given a brief couple of paragraphs of Bella eating with her father. She brings up the fact that she’d heard of some kids going hiking out near Mount Rainier (she neglects to mention the fact that the kids she’s talking about are the Cullens). Her dad says that that’s a stupid place to hike, that there’s bears and junk out there. Hmm, suspicious.

The next day Bella meets up with Mike and the rest of the major group to go to the beach out at La Push. The whole time, Mike is being all nice, and Jessica is being all pissed. That makes sense. I mean, after all, Jess is Mike’s date to the upcoming dance, and she’s the one who really likes Mike. But still, Bella could stand to be quite a bit nicer to Mike than she is.

“Have you ever seen a driftwood fire?” Mike asked me.

“No,” I said as he placed the blazing twig carefully against the teepee.

Gosh, Bella, don’t sound TOO excited there.

A lot of fairly uninteresting stuff happens. Lots of sitting around, a lot of talking that isn’t even important enough for the book to tell us about, a lot of walking around and stuff. Finally, a couple of pages later, a few kids from the local native American reservation have shown up to hang out with the group. This includes a character that will later become fairly prominent and important.

Meet Jacob, a kid just a little younger than the rest of the group. He seems nice enough.

His skin was beautiful, silky and russet-colored; his eyes were dark, set deep above the high planes of his cheekbones. He still had just a hint of childish roundness left around his chin. Altogether, a very pretty face. However, my positive opinion of his looks was damaged by the first words out of his mouth.
“You’re Isabella Swan, aren’t you?”
It was like the first day of school all over again.
“Bella,” I sighed.

Oh no! He soiled his good looks by opening his mouth and calling me by my full name when he couldn’t possibly know I prefer to be called by shorter nickname! Now he’s not worth my time!

It turns out that Bella had grown up knowing him somewhat, or at least the rest of his family. She was vaguely friends with his older sisters. The two sit there and go back and forth with a perfectly normal human conversation. Wow. This is just about the first time something like this has ever happened. Which is, to say, I don’t expect this normal human behavior to last very long.

“Bella,” [Lauren] called again, watching my face carefully, “I was just saying to Tyler that it was too bad none of the Cullens could come out today. Didn’t anyone think to invite them?” He expression of concern was unconvincing.
“You mean Dr. Carlisle Cullen’s family?” the tall, older boy asked before I could respond, much to Lauren’s irritation. He was really closer to a man than a boy, and his voice was very deep.
“Yes, do you know them?” she asked condescendingly, turning halfway toward him.
“The Cullens don’t come here,” he said in a tone that closed the subject, ignoring her question.

As you can imagine, this is the one and only topic that comes up the entire day that piques Bella’s interests. She just has to have more information. And she knows she has an in with Jacob. So what does she do? She turns up the charm and starts flirting with Jacob. Not because she’s particularly interested in him romantically, but because she needs to get more information about Edward. She couldn’t, you know, just ask him without playing with him. I mean, it’s not like they were already being fairly friendly with one another without being terribly flirty or anything, sheesh.

“Do you want to walk down the beach with me?” I asked, trying to imitate that way Edward had of looking up from underneath his eyelashes.

“So you’re, what, sixteen? I asked, trying not to look like an idiot as I fluttered my eyelids the way I’d seen girls do on TV.
“I just turned fifteen,” he confessed, flattered.
“Really?” My face was full of false surprise.

It goes on and on like this, as Bella continues to inflate Jacob’s ego before asking him more about what the other guy meant about the Cullens not coming to La Push. Jacob tells stories that he may or may not actually believe, about how generations ago his people made a pact with a group of “Cold Ones” to stay off their land, and in return they wouldn’t tell the white man about who the Cold Ones really were. This is the first time the terms “werewolves” and “vampires” actually come up. It’s insinuated that this tribe was descended from wolves and are therefore werewolves, and that the Cullens are vampires – the very same vampires who made the very same pact from generations ago. Bella seems to be taking this information shockingly well. Of course, he’s also not actually saying that any of this is real.

It’s awful that Jacob falls for all of this fake flirting and gives away all of this information, because by telling her this he’s broken what is probably the biggest rule set by the tribe. But then, maybe I should be complaining that Jacob was such a simple guy that he would give away that much information so quickly. But… no, you know what? He’s a fifteen-year-old boy, and he’s feeling pretty good about his interaction with a girl. He’s young and naive, but that sounds fairly realistic. It’s Bella who’s the awful person.

“So when I get my license…,” he began.
“You should come see me in Forks. We could hang out sometime.” I felt guilty as I said this, knowing that I’d used him. But I really did like Jacob. He was someone I could easily be friends with.

This is what gets me. She knows exactly what she did. She SAYS she feels guilty, but she obviously doesn’t feel guilty enough to keep her from doing what she did. She likes him, sure, but obviously in a purely friendly sort of way, nothing past that. Though, frankly, if it weren’t for the age difference (or, maybe even despite the age difference, maybe your age comforts are different than mine) I’d be thinking that Jacob should be the one she’s pursuing if only because she’s obviously most comfortable conversing with him like a normal person, having normal conversations with him. But unfortunately, when it comes to Edward, Jacob is nothing more than a tool, a stepping stone, and she plays him like a harp.

And so the chapter ends with the tribe kids and the Forks High kids going their own separate ways, with Bella closing her eyes and ignoring any potential social interaction with all the people she came here with. Thus continues the awful tale of the awful leading character who treats all of her friends and acquaintances like dirt and only has attention enough to hear about things that apply to Edward, a young man of whom she’s unhealthily crushing on hard.

Now that Bella has heard the information that Jacob may be a werewolf and Edward may be a vampire, will she take that information and do anything intelligent with it? Am I the only one here expecting no? Find out in the next entry about Chapter 7, Nightmare.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Creature SH permalink
    October 15, 2011 5:11 PM

    How is it that Stephanie Meyer does not realize how incredibly awful her protagonist is? I mean, this is a much more convincing portrayal of a villain in the making than anything I’ve seen George Lucas do with Anakin Skywalker.

  2. October 16, 2011 8:58 PM

    I only know this chapter from your recap. However, from what I can tell I agree with you 100% Jacob is just naive. He is being played and she didn’t do it by accident. She wanted information and used the fact she is a supposedly attractive female to do it. It happens. Not saying it’s right, but that does happen in reality.

    However, VAMPIRES and WEREWOLVES. That should at the very least, make you go “huh, wait what?” It can be passed off as a joke, but a reaction is called for.

    I have jokingly said to friends, I murdered a hobo on my way to their house. Even though they know it’s just a joke, they still take a second to realize it and move on. Human’s react to odd things.

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