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Picking Apart Twilight, The Novel – Chapter 8

October 15, 2011

8. PORT ANGELES


Since this blog has been talking a lot about self insertion, I’m gonna do a little bit of my own. This huge standee for Breaking Dawn Part 1 can now be seen in several movie theaters. I got a glimpse of it last night when going to see The Thing. I knew there was just one thing I could do. Hate it.

So, as the name of the chapter insinuates, this is a chapter about the girls going to Port Angeles.

We listened to whiny rock songs while Jessica jabbered on about the boys we hung out with.

Oh, she must be referring to the whiny rock playlist that Stephenie Meyer has stated she listened to while both writing and reading the novel.

The girls go shopping for dresses. They talk about Bella’s previous love life.

“I’ve never had a boyfriend or anything close. I didn’t go out much.”
“Why not?” Jessica demanded.
“No one asked me,” I answered honestly.
She looked skeptical. “People ask you out here,” she reminded me, “and you tell them no.”

Yeah! I mean, really! What’s up with that, huh!? So, are we gonna get a further explanation for that now that it’s been brought up?

…no?
…Oh. Okay. Forget I wondered anything about it, then.

Instead, we learn that Tyler has been running around saying that he’s going to be taking Bella to the prom. Wait, what? Oh, yeah! Back in chapter 4 when Bella turned down Tyler for the dance he said to her, “That’s cool. We still have prom.” She had said nothing at the time, so I guess he took that as acceptance or something…? Anyway, Bella is furious, and this is why Lauren was pissed with her a couple of chapters back ’cause she has the hots for Tyler or something. Ugh, this teenage girl gossip is something I grew out of a long time ago, so this is just a complaint from a 25-year-old woman, but it’s definitely not written for my demographic. Not missing this garbage.

“Is it normal for the… Cullens” – I kept my eyes on the shoes – “to be out of school a lot?” I failed miserably in my attempt to sound nonchalant.
“Yes, when the weather is good they go backpacking all the time – even the doctor. They’re all real outdoorsy,” she told me quietly, examining her shoes, too.

I’m glad we got more of Bella’s obsession with Edward in on this trip that has nothing to do with Edward. Anyway, that just sort of supports the fact that the Cullens never show up in public when it’s sunny. But it isn’t elaborated on here. It drops immediately. I’m not really sure why some things are even brought up at all if they aren’t going to be addressed.

Bella decides she wants to look for a bookstore and meet up with the other two girls later for dinner. There’s several pages later where the following events happen – she looks unsuccessfully for said bookstore, she sees some shady men walking through the streets, she walks away from them, she gets lost, she tries to find her way back to the dress shop, she gets cornered by the guys again.

That’s when a car pulls up to save the day.

“Get in,” a furious voice commanded.
It was amazing how instantaneously the choking fear vanished, amazing how suddenly the feeling of security washed over me – even before I was off the street – as soon as I heard his voice.

Turns out, it’s Edward. Rather than being freaked out that he’s right here, in a town an hour away from Forks, she’s comforted. The first thing she asks him?

“Are you okay?” I asked, surprised at how hoarse my voice sounded.

Are you okay…? Sure, he’s okay (though he says he isn’t in the next line), why wouldn’t he be? HE’S the one who just saved YOU. And really… Are you okay? No, “What are you doing here”? ‘Cause I know that would be MY first question to someone I hadn’t seen in days and then is suddenly right where I am right when I needed saving.

But, no, Edward’s not okay, ’cause he wants to go back and do bad things to those bad boys down in the alley.

“What’s wrong?” My voice came out in a whisper.
“Sometimes I have a problem with my temper, Bella.” He was whispering, too, and as he stared out the window, his eyes narrowed into slits. “But it wouldn’t be helpful for me to turn around and hut down those…” He didn’t finish his sentence, looking away, struggling for a moment to control his anger again. “At least,” he continued, “that’s what I’m trying to convince myself.”

Red flags! Very, very big red flags! A man with anger management issues? No, not cool. Get outta there, and get outta there now!

But she doesn’t. Of course. Because she senses he’s good or something. I dunno, it’s stupid.

Edward takes Bella to the restaurant where Jess and Angela had waited for their friend. The restaurant just happens to be called La Bella Italia. Of course. The character is so Mary Sue that she has to eat at a restaurant named after herself. The girls go home, leaving Edward and Bella to eat and talk alone.

The host was female, and I understood the look in her eyes as she assessed Edward. She welcomed him a little more warmly than necessary. I was surprised by how much that bothered me.

And you should be. It’s obvious Edward has only had eyes for you, so don’t go getting offended at some bimbo who he’s probably not even going to acknowledge. And anyway, you two aren’t even, like, a thing, so knock it off.

Bella drinks a Coke. She gets cold. Edward gives her his jacket that he’s wearing. It’s cold. OMG, HARD EVIDENCE HE’S A VAMPIRE!

“Really, I’m not going into shock,” I protested.
“You really should be – a normal person would be. You don’t even look shaken.” He seemed unsettled. He stared into my eyes, and I saw how light his eyes were, lighter than I’d ever seen them, golden butterscotch.
“I feel very safe with you,” I confessed, mesmerized into telling the truth again.

What an amazingly special little snowflake. She’s not shaken by the near assault from multiple men, and she’s not shaken from the fact that Edward has the amazing supernatural ability of Super Stalking.

He admits to following her to Port Angeles. He admits that he was keeping tabs on her friends, and then when Bella split apart from her friends he went searching through other people’s heads to see if he could get a trace of where she was. He’s sitting there admitting that he can read minds and he followed her. And Bella feels remarkably calm and safe. That seems awfully backward to me, but whatever.

They leave the restaurant. They get into the car and drive off and keep talking. End of chapter.

Huh. Okay.

There’s a lot of demonstration that Bella just does what she’s told by Edward for no particular reason. He demands she gets in his car, even when it’s strange that he’s even there, and she does it. He demands she puts on a seatbelt, and she does it. He demands that she eats, even when she says she isn’t hungry, and she does it. She starts to find herself admitting out loud that she’s dazzled by Edward, when she’d never admit something like that out loud to even herself. Edward is showing signs of violence and obsession, yet Bella feels safe and does anything Edward asks just because he’s the one asking.

Really, it feels like Bella is being manipulated into enjoying this relationship. If it really works the way the book appears to make you think it works, it’s that Edward and the other vampires are so gorgeous and perfect that everything about them draws you in. Edward gets exactly what he wants, and Bella doesn’t even have a clue that she’s being manipulated by his supernatural beauty and creepiness. It’s quite sickening, really.

The conversation between Bella and Edward continues in the next chapter, Chapter 9, Theory.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2011 8:04 PM

    And yet, I have friends who are between our ages that WANT this kind of relationship or even see this relationship as anywhere NEAR romantic! o.O

  2. October 15, 2011 8:18 PM

    This relationship is my single, deathly objection to the entire series. Not the incredibly dull, awkward writing, not even the whole sparkling thing (*gag*, but as long as you keep your story straight through the whole series I’ll deal). The idea that these books are presumably for young teen girls who are likely to see this as both romantic and desirable. If I knew for a fact that every single person who picked up these books was going to also get a detailed explanation of how stalking =/= love, it might be ok. Given the number of Twilight moms I’ve seen though, I don’t think we can count on the older generation either.

    Also, Kaylyn, you are a stronger soul than I. I tried to read this; I got about five pages in and tried suicide by papercut. Not very effective, but less painful than reading further.

  3. October 15, 2011 9:17 PM

    You know whenever I have children, especially little girls, I’m not going to let them anywhere near these books. If when they’re adults they want to read them, then fine. But if I have my way, they definitely will not read these when they’re young girls because this is too ridiculous for me.

  4. October 16, 2011 2:15 AM

    Y’know, the more I read these summaries, the more I think this could have been passable if the book tried to go some kind of horror route. Vampires have almost always had hypnotic abilities, so a change where this girl is so completely enthralled because he IS manipulating her and the book plays all the stalking and creepy behavior straight, possibly escalating to terrible actions. Like all her friends and stuff see that he’s this terrible person or something but she’s completely gone. It basically does this kind of thing anyway, but instead it’s “romantic.” May not have been good, but it would have at least made some more sense.

    Anyway, I’m gonna cuddle up with my lovely classic lit and leatherbound Hitchhiker’s Guide to remind me that books can be good.

  5. October 16, 2011 9:18 PM

    The songs on that list are either meh to me, or I don’t know them. There are a couple I like. However that list just screams “mid life crisis and unhappy with my marriage” to me. It’s a MASSIVE assumption on my part and I admit that.

    @Taarkir Wynjara Your comment reminded me of this funny picture: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_zNnqH9km2FI/SxBdnmvo5xI/AAAAAAAABrA/uqdnkK1WVUw/s1600/Twilight+Moms.jpg

  6. October 16, 2011 11:22 PM

    It *is* possible for a girl to be so obsessed about a boy that she completely ignores the bad/scary things. Especially a girl who’s never experienced dating/relationships before. I obsessed over Conan O’Brian when I was 14 (I was not your typical teen). Weird dreams, watching every show I could, etc. If that were applied to a real-life fellow, I could totally see how weird/scary things would just be added to the “OMG! He’s SOOOOooo Fantastic!” category.

    • October 16, 2011 11:35 PM

      A-ha-ha… I can COMPLETELY relate to the whole obsessing over Conan O’Brien at the age of 14 thing, ’cause that was me, too. But the thing is, I knew that I loved him, but I was not IN love with him… you know? Surely people know the difference. You would think, anyway. Yeah, I was, like, spellbound by how funny and cool and attractive I thought Conan was. But I wasn’t irrevocably in love with him.

  7. Creature SH permalink
    October 17, 2011 1:36 PM

    Man, that book really lets us know a whole lot about how fucked-up the Author is. If this is her idea of love, she’s never had a happy relationship in her life.
    In kind, this blog reveals about its writer that she is a very capable and intelligent woman who knows crap when she sees it… And won’t take any.

  8. enchanted_hats permalink
    November 26, 2011 12:05 PM

    See, it’s this kind of fascination with this “ideal” relationship that makes me worry for the author of this series. Usually writers write what they know. Those things that appear in their stories, characters, morals, decisions are mirrored from their life. So this makes me think that at some point in StephEnie’s life she had a relationship like this. Either from her father, brother, husband or previous boyfriend and she liked it. Or maybe she had it but it fell apart but she still liked it so she wrote it as “working”.

    I may be totally wrong about this but this is just what I thought while reading.

    • enchanted_hats permalink
      November 26, 2011 12:13 PM

      And I do know that she has a controlling brother… so it’s very possible that Edward comes from him. The brother has repeatedly sheltered and “protected” StephEnie from her demanding fans by basically yelling at them and telling them that they are horrible to be so demanding of his sister. That she’s a special little snowflake who should just be left alone… unless you want to tell her how awesome her book series is, in which case go right ahead.

  9. OWSR permalink
    July 25, 2012 8:16 PM

    Why Twilight playlist why!? I like some of those songs, my dad used to sing Lullaby to me when I was little, you have ruined my precious memory Twilight!!! ; _ ; Imma go listen to that song now and try NOT to think of this book while doing it.

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