September 7, 2010

Twilight: Non-Action

Twilight, pp. 68-70

Lots of bad on these two-and-one-half pages.

In my dream it was very dark....

Ha! Don't worry, we're not going to bother with Bella's dream of Edward. The description of it is so flat and lifeless I wonder why Meyer included it at all. I'll only note that the following

After that, he was in my dreams nearly every night...

is pretty creepy, maybe pathological. Instead, we'll look at the ludicrous aftermath of Edward's Superman save. The driver of the van involved in the incident, one Tyler Crowley*, continues to apologise over the course of the next month, and Bella picks up on the signals from this unsurprising new suitor.

Tyler Crowley was impossible, following me around, obsessed with making amends to me somehow....He followed me between classes and sat at our now-crowded lunch table. Mike and Eric were even less friendly toward him than they were to each other, which made me worry that I'd gained another unwelcome fan.

I think this is way past 'making amends', and that last part lets us know that Bella think so, too. This is where, if she had any concern for her so-called friends or even just for other human beings, she would tell Tyler (and, really, the other two boys as well) that she's not interested and that he can either be her friend or be nothing. But of course, as we've seen, Bella likes being the object of boys' desire, even though she has no intention of ever reciprocating. She doesn't want to be bothered by their attention, so she does 'tr[y] to convince [Tyler that] what I wanted more than anything else was for him to forget all about it', but she stops short of telling him to leave her alone entirely because, well, then she wouldn't be flattered by his attention.

This is another area in which the Twilight film manages to make the teeniest of improvements over the book. With Meyer having final approval over what goes into the film and the danger of Twihards howling over any deviation from the source, improving on the novel must have been a Herculean task. (I don't feel bad for the screenwriter, though, since she was handsomely paid for her effort and apparently considered it sufficient reward to return for the sequel.)

In the film, there is no indication that Eric--Hollywoodised into an Asian**--has any interest in Bella. Nor does Tyler, who in my recollection does not appear after apologising in the hospital. (He does appear very early to sexually harass her, but the scene makes it appear he's more into Mike than Bella.) I'm sure the filmmakers explained to Meyer that these flirtations had to be cut for time, but I like to think they were as put-off by the Bella character as I am and tried to trim at least some of these obnoxious moments.

Meyer then proceeds yet again to beat the reader over the head with the 'he moved so fast' business. Here we have confirmation that, not only did bystanders not see what happened, they buy Bella's lies about happened, even though what she says flatly contradicts what at least some of them must have seen. She claims he pulled her out of the way, and none of the dozens of eyewitnesses refutes this. They simply Stepford-chorus that they didn't see Edward at all until it was over.

'You didn't see him push the van away?' she asked incredulously.

Actually, no, she didn't ask that. But I bet with the unnecessary adverb there, you were fooled, if only for a second.

Instead, she wonders 'why no one else had seen him standing so far away'. Her conclusion?

With chagrin, I realised the probable cause--no-one else was as aware of Edward as I always was. No-one else watched him the way I did. How pitiful.

I've read this paragraph a few times, in context, and I can't tell whether Meyer means Bella is pitiful for paying too much attention to Edward or everyone else is pitiful for not paying enough. Context leans towards the former, but the wording strongly implies the latter, and Bella has certainly shown contempt for all the non-Edward people around her (and even Edward gets some contempt on occasion). So I'm going with Bella thinking it's pitiful that everyone doesn't constantly keep track of Edward's location.

That's our Bella.

And so the 'girls have cooties' grade-school boy-girl interaction continues, as Edward resumes sitting next to Bella in biology class

as far away from me as the table would allow, [and] he seemed totally unaware of my presence. Only now and then, when his fists would suddenly ball up--skin stretched even whiter over the bones--did I wonder if he wasn't quite as oblivious as he appeared.

The bloodless corpse turns paler with exertion. Edward comes off more like a creepy guy LARPing a vampire than a genuine creature of the night. I'm also very put off by the 'wasn't' in that last clause. I suppose it's still correct, but man, it goes over as smoothly as a Che Guevera t-shirt at an American Legion meeting.

He wished he hadn't pulled me from the path of Tyler's van--there was no other conclusion I could come to.

I suppose that's true, when you think only of yourself as Bella does. There's 'no other conclusion'; it must have something to do with you.

I wanted very much to talk to him, and the day after the accident I tried. The last time I'd seen him, outside the ER, we'd both been so furious. I still was angry that he wouldn't trust me with the truth, even though I was keeping my part of the bargain flawlessly. But he had in fact saved my life, no matter how he'd done it. And, overnight, the heat of my anger faded into awed gratitude.

Hmm...I'm thinking he might not trust you with the truth because he has no reason to do so. Maybe I'm no longer hip or with-it like the hepcats in high school these days, but I don't reveal intimate details to people with whom I've had precisely one conversation, no matter how angry they might get about it.

He was already seated when I got to Biology, looking straight ahead. I sat down, expecting him to turn toward me. He showed no sign that he realised I was there.

'Hello, Edward,' I said pleasantly, to show him I was going to behave myself.

He turned his head a fraction toward me without meeting my gaze, nodding once, and then looked the other way.

And that was the last contact I'd had with him.

No, you didn't miss anything, and I promise I cut nothing from this page so far. Bella really considers saying 'Hello, Edward' to be trying to talk to him. For someone she dreams about and obsesses over (her words!), that's a pretty limp effort, but apparently it took all the energy she could muster to take any initiative at all. Spent from this exertion, she

...gave no more notice that he existed than he showed toward me. I was miserable.

Here's a thought for how to deal with your misery at not being able to talk to Edward: Talk to Edward. It's worth a shot, I think.

But no, our fauxtagonist has to remain inert while things happen to her. Remember, ladies, there's no need to do stuff when there are males around. They'll do all the stuff. You just sit and look pretty and be all emotional.

Despite my outright lies, the tenor of my e-mails alerted Renee [her mother!] to my depression, and she called a few times, worried.

Five pages ago, Bella doesn't like to lie. Now 'outright lies' are the order of the day. '[T]here'd better be a good reason why I'm doing it,' she told us then.

Well, she can't very well let her mother know she's sad that a boy she won't talk to won't talk to her, can she? I mean, if this got out, where would the trail of bodies end?

*If Meyer showed any awareness at all of the genre she's working in, I'd wonder if this were a 'clever' reference to Aleister Crowley.
**Why, yes, Eric the Asian does end up romantically involved with the only ethnic-looking girl evident in the film. What are the odds of that?

1 comment:

  1. I clearly understand . Bella spoke with Tyler a lot more words thus telling him she is uninterested and two words to Edward, the magic "I love you words " and I plan to stark ya.maybe this is a really dumb town or the other people are depressed that they didn't get to see Bella crushed. Sad to say but I think today's high school girl loves the boys attention and to them that's one of the best parts but to us normal hormone people it's stupid. I enjoy your comments for what you're saying, I would be thinking only on a less educated level