Friday, August 7, 2009

I Read Twilight and Hate It: Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Port Angeles
    On the drive, they're listening to "whiny rock songs1" on the way (I find it pretty ironic that Bella would describe anything else in this book as "whiny") and chatting about boys, as Jess talks about ho well her date with Mike went.  During this conversation, Bella reveals that she's never been to a dance because (and I don't see why Stephanie Meyer thinks it's necessary to remind us of this) she's clumsy, and also because she's never had a boyfriend before (I guess none of the boys in Phoenix were sparkly enough).  Actually, she says it's because none of the boys asked her.  Jessica points out a plot hole:

        She looked skeptical. "People ask you out here," she reminded me, "and you tell them no.1

    Good point, Jess.  Are we going to get an excuse for the Sue-paradox that Bella is both wanted by every guy with a name and still playing up the whole "unlucky at love" thing?  Nope, it's just used as a segue into the fact that Tyler was telling every that he was going to the Prom with Bella.
    Anyways, their shopping trip continues, and the girls talked about boys, and "giggled while pawing through the clothes,1" and paid compliments to how each other looked in different dresses and looked at shoes, etc.  I know that Meyers actually is female, so I almost can't make this argument.  But, is it me or does she seem to write the whole "girl time" part like a middle-aged man would, like someone who has never been female and is just basing it off of stereotypes from TV and movies?  Maybe it's just my imagination.  But then again, what girls'-night-out with Bella would be complete without her bringing up Edward?  She asks Angela whether it's normal for the Cullens to be missing school a lot, and Angela rather unceremoniously reassures her: yes, yes it is.
    After they're all done with dress/shoe shopping, they decide to split up for an hour and then meet at a restaurant for dinner. 

        I wanted to go look for a bookstore.  They were both willing to come with me, but I encouraged them to go have fun - they didn't know how preoccupied I could get when surrounded by books.1

    "You two go do some stupid non-thinky thing.  Only I am allowed to enjoy books and reading."  Bella goes out walking and looking for a bookstore.  In a seemingly-pointless scene, she passes a hippie, New Age looking one and decides to forgo it and look for a "normal book-store.1"  Screw local business; I'm going to find me a Borders.   While looking, she gets lost, because her mind was busy "wrestling with despair1" about Edward.  She finds herself in sort of an industrial/warehouse district (which, inconveniently, was just one block away from the main tourist boardwalk), where she passes a group of guys who are "joking loudly among themselves, laughing raucously and punching each other's arms.1"  So, I guess it's not just girls; Meyer writes "guy-time" out as a ridiculous stereotype of male behaviour, too.
    One of the guys tries to hit on her (all the boys do), but she gets freaked out and starts walking away quickly.  As she's walking, she notices that two of the guys from the group are following her.  She keeps walking quickly down the street, trying to out-pace them, until she finds the other two guys waiting in front of her (I guess they can teleport, too).   As they close on on her, suddenly a silver car bursts through the alleyway, making the guys scramble.  A door opens, and the driver tells Bella to get in.  She does, and gets driven back to the main part of town.  The driver is Edward, obviously.  Oddly though, Meyer doesn't say it's Edward at first, just referring to him as "him1," until several paragraphs after Bella gets in the car.  Was she expecting us to be surprised that the person in the car was Edward?  Because, if so, she completely failed.
    Anyways, Edward speeds out of there with Bella, "blowing through several stop signs1."  I guess because he's worried that those guys could outrun his car if he doesn't bolt out of there.  On the way, Edward sounds really pissed off at her for almost getting raped.  After she calms him down, though, he explains that he's really pissed off at the would-be rapists, and was having trouble resisting the urge to hunt them down and slaughter them.  He drives to the Italian restaurant that Jessica and Angela are waiting out side.

        He parallel-parked against the curb in a space I would have thought much too small for the Volvo, but he slid in effortlessly in one try.1

    Bow-chika-wow wow.  You know how Bella is constantly thinking that all the guys around her are jealous over her?  Well, in the restaurant she does the same thing the whole time, except with thinking that the hostess and waitress are jealous over Edward.  You could tell the hostess would be trying to steel her man, because of her "unnatural blondness1."  Curse you bleach-blondes and your inherent evil!
    After they get seated, Bella gets jealous an tells Edward that she doesn't want him being all sparkle-sexy in front of other girl.  After that the waitress comes out, and Bella is actually thinking, when she sees her, that she was gossiping with the hostess in the kitchen about how smoking hot Edward is.  This is what she's thinking about.  She's so paranoid about other girls getting Edward, that she's actually imagining that they're conspiring together to steel him away.  Not to mention the fact that she was almost just raped, and probably has more to be shaken up about than possible competition for Edward.  Actually, I should note that the word "rape" or "rapist" is never actually used in this chapter.  It's always just replaced with a phrase like "do something horrible1" or the character trailing off before finishing their sentence.  Why Meyer decides this is beyond me.  Maybe they just didn't want this book to be too adult, so they could put it in the "teen" section at bookstores.  Although, if you ask me, having a chapter about rape is going to make the book just as mature whether you use the word or not. 
    Anyways, Edward makes Bella drink a couple Cokes (the word "Coke" is actually mentioned five times in this chapter.  Sponsorship?) and eat some pasta and bread, the whole time his eyes "golden butterscotch.1"  He asks her if she's feeling okay after the whole rape thing, but she just keeps turning the conversation back to him.  She mentions about his eyes changing colour again, and says she has some theories.  He asks to hear them, but she says she wants some information out of him first, and he agrees.  Um, that's not really a good deal for Edward; I mean, it's not like Bella's theories are going to reveal any terribly useful information about him; they're just facts about him which may or may not be true.  But, I guess the story has to move forward somehow.
    The fist question, "why are you in Port Angeles?1" Edward passes on.  The second question, "how can you read minds?" he's oddly open about.  Actually, before he answers it, it sort of evolves into "how did you know I was in trouble?"  Edward responds by saying "Only you could get into trouble in a town this small.  You would have devastated their crime rate statistics for a decade, you know1."  Okay, so he’s actually saying that it is her fault that she almost got gang-raped.  Also, it did seem really unrealistic that Bella would fall victim to street crime in a town as small as Port Angeles, but now that I've read Edward's explanation... it still seems really unrealistic.  He further elaborates the point:

        "I was wrong about you.. You're not a magnet for accidents - that's not a broad enough classification. You are a magnet for trouble.  If there is anything dangerous within a ten-mile radius, it will invariably find you1"

    He also says that he would fall into this whole trouble category, "unequivocally1."  He then goes back on his previous decision to past on her first question and announces that "I followed you to Port Angeles,1" apparently because he was trying to keep her alive.  How would he know that she'd be in danger, though?  They give the wishy-washy excuse that it's because he knew that she was a "magnet for trouble," based on her clumsiness, but there's no sound logic-track that leads from someone being clumsy to you knowing they'll be raped at a certain time and place, no matter how much you think about it.  It seems like another instance of "I know, because the author told me so." 
    Bella notes that this is the second time he's saved her life and/or virginity, and he says that it's actually the third time; saying that "your number was up the first time I met you,1" presumably because he was so tempted to kill her to drain her blood when they first met (or just kill her because she was so annoying).  Saving someone's life and refraining from murdering them are hardly the moral equivalent, though. 
    He then gives her some more information regarding her second question and lets her know that he knew she was in danger, because he could tell that she wasn't with Jessica and Angela by reading their minds, and then later was able to read the rapists' minds and see her face and what they planned on doing to her.   Wait, what?  You mean, when he was talking about reading people, he didn't mean just estimating what they were thinking by reading their body language, he actually meant looking into their heads and seeing what they were thinking.  How stupid is that?  Stephanie Meyer, apparently, was sitting in front of her computer thinking, "Well, he's already got super-strength, super-speed, super-hotness, and immortality... but maybe, that's not quite enough powers.  I'll make him psychic, too."    Protip, writers: it is your hero's weaknesses, not their strengths, that makes them great.  He also makes it clear that Bella's mind is the only one he can't read.  Maybe she lacks the delta brainwave from doing the nasty in the pasty at some point2.
    Edward laments again, how hard it was for him not to kill the would-be rapists (awww, poor Edward).  He then suggests that they leave and asks for the check, in a voice that's "quiet, rougher, still reflecting the strain of our conversation.1"  He let her into his car, and as he was walking around to the driver's side, Bella was "amazed, yet again by how graceful he was.1"  Umm... okay.  Walking to the other side of the car isn't an act that usually requires a lot of grace; but who knows, maybe he was doing some spins and pliés along the way.  They drive off, and Edward lets Bella know it's her turn to answer questions.  So ends chapter 8.
    Nice thing: it is sort of refreshing that Meyer decided to give Edward a Volvo as a car.  Given that the rest of his character design seemed like she was trying to build the "perfect man," one would guess that she'd give him some kind of sexy car, like a Charger or a Corvette, or a roadster, or at least a Beamer..  But instead, she chose to gave him a rather non-descript vehicle from a company that's known for making cars that are reliable but boring.  Kudos.  Stay tuned for Chapter 9.


1Meyer, Stephanie Twilight. “Chapter 8: Port Angeles” Little, Brown and Co., 2005
2Futurama episode 3ACV07 "The Day the Earth Stood Stupid," Which incidentally pre-dates Twilight by four years.

No comments:

Post a Comment