Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Read Twilight and Hate It: Chapter 7

    Bella is distressed.  She doesn't want to think about the idea the Edward is a vampire, so she tries to drown it out by going up to her room and emoing out to some music.  I don't know why she's giving that much thought, since the only reason she really has to think this is that she heard it from a 15-year-old kid that she'd just met.  Oddly enough, though, she doesn't pick up to the thought that Jacob is a werewolf, probably because it would require her to think of something other than Edward. The strain of thinking tires her out and she falls asleep, where she actually has a dream where Jacob turns into a wolf (still, without getting a clue), and then Edward is a vampire and he goes the bite her and she wakes up.

        "I groaned, fell back, and rolled over onto my face, kicking off my boots. I was too uncomfortable to get anywhere near sleep, though.  I rolled back over and unbuttoned my jeans, yanking them off awkwardly as I tried to stay horizontal."1

    Yes!  Finally, something for the gynophilic readers to enjoy.  Except not, because the narrative strip-tease starts and ends in one sentence.  Each one of Edward's eyelashes has a sonnet written to it; you think we'd at least get a little more detail about Bella, if she was stripping anyways, at least the colour of her panties.  But no, nothing.  She just gets up and takes a shower (with a complete lack of titillating detail) then putters around doing some boring chores for awhile.
    Next, Bella decides that if she's going to be stalking a vampire, she may as well know what one is so she Googles it, and Meyer demonstrates her lack of understanding of how computers work.  "...I turned my computer on.  Naturally, the screen was covered in pop-up ads."1  Wrong, pop-up ads appear when you go to a website that utilizes them for revenue; they don't just appear when you turn on the computer, unless you were an idiot and set your internet browser to launch at start-up and your homepage to some kind of pop-up launch pad.  "I made my way to my favorite search engine.  I shot down a few more pop-up ads and then typed in one word.  Vampire."1  I guess that Google is resorting to pop-up ads now, too.  Actually, she doesn't specify which search engine she uses, just that it's her "favorite search engine."  Also, it's pretty stupid to just type in "Vampire" and hope it will come up with what you want.  Try searching for it yourself.  You’ll get the Wikipedia entry (which is pretty useful, and it’s a wonder that Bella didn’t use that), but besides that all you usually see are stupid fansites made by fangirls and fanboys who gush uncontrollably over anything “dark,” as well as websites to sell useless crap to the above mentioned people.
    Fortunately, Bella is punished for her stupidity.  "It took an infuriatingly long time.  When the results came up, there was a lot to sift through."1  "Like, oh my god, the internet is so stupid. I hate it."  Also, what were you expecting; that there would only be 15 hits in a search for "vampire." Use more keywords to narrow your search.  She says she eventually found a "promising site - Vampires A-Z."1  Which sounds like the kind of page you would find hosted on Geocities, that someone made back in junior high and has forgotten about years ago.  The website tells Bella that, contrary to what anyone living in modern society can tell without doing any research, vampire lore focuses mostly on female vampires and doesn't have a lot to do with blood-drinking.  She was trying to find a vampire lore that "sounded familiar"1 to Edward.  If she wanted to do that, though, she should have just saved herself some time by searching for "Anne Rice." 
    Doing this research also causes Bella to finally board the obvious train: "one [myth] that I'd remembered from the small number of scary movies that I've seen and was backed up by today's readings - vampires couldn't come out in the daytime, the sun would burn them to a cinder."1 Duh!  It's not until 7 chapters into the book that Meyer finally acknowledges this plot hole, but still doesn't fill it.  I eagerly await what will no doubt be aneurism-inducingly stupid explanation for why Edward can walk around in the daylight without bursting into flames, or turning to ash, or otherwise dyeing some horrible undeath.
    Bella becomes frustrated with Meyer's poor, unfaithful storytelling and turns off her computer.  Then she explains to the audience how things that are happening are everyone's fault but her own:
        "What was wrong with me?  I decided that most of the blame belonged on the doorstep of the town of Forks - and the entire sodden Olympic Peninsula, for that matter."1
    Like I said, everyone's fault but her own.  I'd hate to see how much she complains when there's actually something wrong with her life.  Also, “sodden”?  What, is she British now? After deciding that she wasn't having enough of a tantrum yet, Bella "stomped out the door"1 and into the woods behind her house to do some more ruminating and complaining.  She kept walking into the woods "as long as my anger at myself pushed me forward."1  Conveniently, her anger pushed her just far enough to where "a recently fallen tree - I knew it was recently fallen because it wasn't entirely carpeted in moss - rested against the trunk of one of her sisters, creating a sheltered little bench just a few feet off the trail."1  First of all, assigning genders to genderless objects tends to be deep within the territory of idiocy, especially when you're inconsistent about it, and refer to something as a "she" in the same sentence that you called it an "it."  Second, we get it; you're supposed to be good at science.  We don't need this fact re-established every chapter.  Neither do we need to be reminded that you are un-coordinated, every guy is jealous of you, and that Edward is so gosh-dang gorgeous.  If we weren't reminded of these little tidbits over and over, it would make the book a much more bearable read.  It would also make it about half as long.
    Bella sits on her pondering log for awhile and continues to ponder about whether Edward is really a vampire, citing such evidence to herself as his "inhuman beauty," and also the fact that "he seemed to know what everyone around him was thinking... except me."1  Am I the only one that really thinks that Edward was simply humouring Bella when he said she was hard to read?  I mean, by her own description of her actions, she seems to broadcast her thoughts pretty well.  It's never going to be hard to guess what she's thinking about (hint: Edward). 
    After plenty of recapping the story so far, Bella finally decides that maybe he's a vampire.  It's not a satisfactory conclusion for you or me, but apparently it is for her.  Now faced with the decision of how to act knowing he might be a vampire, Bella quickly (very quickly) rejects the idea of simply avoiding him for her own safety, because "I was gripped in a sudden agony of despair as I considered that alternative.  My mind rejected the pain..."1  Wow, they're not even dating and she's already emotionally dependent on him.  That's... kind of scary. 

        "I could do nothing different.  After all, if he was something...sinister, he'd done nothing to hurt me so far.  In act, I would be a dent in Tyler's fender if he hadn't acted so quickly.  So quickly, I argued with myself, that it might have been sheer reflexes.  But if it was a reflex to save lives, how bad could he be? I retorted." 1

    Actually, dear, it's spelled "retarded," not “retorted.”  And you forgot to include "am" before it.   

        "I knew that I had my answer.  I didn't know if there ever was a choice, really.  I was already in too deep.Now that  knew – if  I knew - I could do nothing about my frightening secret.  Because when I thought of him, of his voice, his hypnotic eyes, the magnetic force of his personality, I wanted nothing more than to be with him."1

    So, Bella has made a decision, which could realistically lead to the harm of herself and others, based solely on her attraction for this guy. This is what we call "thinking with your vagina," and it is generally to be avoided.  Satisfied with her stupid decision, Bella makes her way back home.  She has little remorse for what she decided, except to note that "the decision was ridiculously easy to live with.  Dangerously easy."1  Isabella Swan: Dangerously easy.
    Bella gets home and does some studying.  Her dad gets home with some fish and Bella makes "a mental note to pick up a book of recipes for fish while I was in Seattle next week."1 Forks may be a small town and not have a lot in the way of book stores, but I'm sure that "fish recipes" is not something so exotic that they wouldn't have something available without driving to the nearest big city. 
    After dinner, the amazingly uneventful and over-narrated day ends and Bella goes to sleep ("dreamlessly,"1 thank god).  The next morning, it's sunny out.  Bella's mood is invariably linked to the weather (almost as much as it's linked to whether or not she's staring at Edward) so she's in a good mood.  Or, as she puts it, "my blood was electric in my veins."1
    She heads to school and realizes that she got their early.  After some lame excuse to the reader for Bella not knowing what the time was, Bella decided to "industrially"1 take out her Trigonometry book.  I guess that's why I was never as good in school as Bella; I would only take my books out normally.  Of course, she's only rechecking some answers, because she'd already completed the assignment, "the product of a slow social life."1  How fast of a social life was she expecting? She moved there less than a month ago and she's already the most popular girl in school, she's been embraced by the entire student body, and has been asked out by every guy to look at her.  And she's complaining about a slow social life?  I guess she just thinks she's so good that she deserves even more, or something.  Anyways, her work quickly breaks down into daydreaming about (surprise surprise) Edward.  She's eventually brought back into reality when Mike shows up.
    They chit chat a little, and Mike asks Bella "'What did you do, yesterday?' His tone was just a bit too proprietary."1  I'd love to hear Stephanie Meyer try to demonstrate exactly what a "proprietary tone" sounded like.  Bella says she was working on her essay and Mike asks:

        "What are you writing yours on?"
        "Whether Shakespeare's treatment of female characters is misogynistic."
        He stared at me like I had just spoken pig Latin.1

    "What is this word you speak of?  Miss aw gin histic? I have never heard such a thing before. I am but a mere Forks bumpkin, and I have not learned any words over three syllables."  Also, I find it supremely ironic that a character in a Stephanie Meyer book would be writing about misogynistic treatment of female characters, when Bella has already proven to be a damsel in distress who just isn't complete without her man who makes all her decisions for her. 
    Anyways, Mike asks Bella out (again) and Bella worms out of it by giving an excuse instead of just being honest and telling him she's not interested (again).  This time, she says that she can't go out with him because she feels she would hurt Jessica's feelings.  This is of course hypocritical and two-faced of her, because she has no problem lusting after Edward, despite the fact that she also noticed that Jessica likes him back in chapter one (page 22). 
    Anyways, Mike becomes "clearly dazed"1 by the painfully obvious fact that Jessica was interested in him, and Bella runs off to class, were-in she's invited to go to Port Angeles to go dress shopping with Jessica, and a few other girls.  She gives them a maybe.
    At lunch, she immediately starts looking for Edward, but feels a "shiver of panic tremble in my stomach"1 as she realized that Cullens' usual table was empty.  Upon further looking and not seeing Edward "desolation hit me with crippling strength."1  And when he wasn't in her Biology class either, she "felt a new wave of disappointment."1  Protip, everyone: you will never be happy in a relationship if you can't learn to be happy by yourself.  It's pretty bad if you're this utterly dependent on another person for happiness if you're dating them.  But if you're this dependent only shortly after meeting them, then you need help.  And by "help," I don't mean that you need to start dating them;  I mean you need to stop obsessing over them and go see a psychologist.  Oh yeah, and at lunch Bella turns her maybe into a yes, and agrees to go to Port Angeles with the girls, "grasping at anything to distract myself."1
    In gym class, they were starting badminton, "the next torture they had lined up for me,"1 but they spent the entire class explaining the rules and apparently it went long so they were going to do the same thing the next day.  "What's that coach?  You hit the birdie over the net?  With a racket?  This is all so complicated.  Maybe you should slow down and take another day to explain it."  After that class, Bella headed home where she would "be free to pout and mope,"1 as though she ever let being at school stop her.  When she gets there, she finds that Jess had moved the Port Angeles plans to the next day (in order to go on a date with Mike), complains about it, gets some emails from her mom, complains about them, looks through her book collection, complains about it, then grabs a Jane Austin compilation and goes outside to read on the lawn (which she complains about).
    She begins into Sense and Sensibility only to remember that (oh noes!) the protagonists name is Edward.  She then starts on Mansfield Park only to remember that *gasp* the main character in that is named Edmund, which is kind of close to Edward.  It's like the whole universe, include a great author that lived and died over a hundred years ago, are all conspiring to make her fall in lust with a guy she barely knows.  She gives up on the whole reading thing and decides to just lay in the sun.

        I pulled all my hair over my head, letting it fan out on the quilt above me, and focused again on the heat that touched my eyelids, my cheekbones, my nose, my lips, my forearms, my neck,soaked through my light shirt...1

    Ho ho, what's this?  It sounds like it's going to be followed with "absent-mindedly, I slid my hand down my stomach and unbuttoned my jeans" or some similar lead-in to a masturbation scene, but no; it just leads to Bella falling asleep.  This chapter keeps faking me out.  The next thing after that quote is her waking up to the sound of her dad's car pulling into the driveway
    She asks her dad for permission to go to Port Angeles the next night.  After he agrees, she then patronizes him about his ability to feed himself, and then goes to bed.
    The next morning (god, this chapter just doesn't want to end), she goes to school find that Edward is still absent and starts panicking at the thought of not going to Seattle with him that weekend.  She also finds out that the trip to Port Angeles that night is still on and also that one of the girls (who had been rude to her earlier) wasn't going.  Bonus.  After school, she drops her truck and school stuff off at her house, then her and Jess pick up the other girl that's going ("Angela") and they hit the road, as Bella notes that her "excitement increased exponentially as we actually drove out of the town limits."1  So ends chapter seven.
    I know this has been a long one, but I want to introduce a little extra bit at the end.  It occurs to me that, despite the fact that I said that I would give Twilight a fair shake, I've been writing nothing (without any exception that come to mind) but negative commentary about the book.  So, I'm going to try every now and then to include something positive about Stephanie Meyer or her writing.  Right now, I have this to say: she has avoided (at least so far) making any horrible puns with the name "Forks."  For this, I am grateful.
    Stay tuned for eight.


1Meyer, Stephanie Twilight. “Chapter 7: Nightmare” Little, Brown and Co., 2005

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I skipped to the end of this blog. Seriously Luke, who wants to read your negative criticism? Turn of the PC and just finish reading the damn good book! :P