'86 Rabbit

A FANGirl's Forkstress of Solitude

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 6

Brace yourselves. Benjamin wasn’t a fan of Chapter 6: Scary Stories. He does include a disclaimer about language, but really his post is quite funny. You should check it out and then come back for my commentary.

You know, even if this book is 498 pages long, I still would expect more to happen in the first hundred pages plot-wise. Bella moves to Forks. Bella goes to high school. Bella almost dies, is saved by uncannily beautiful boy who is obsessed with her. That’s it.

Yeah, a lot of people complain about that. I think Stephenie Meyer even said that the beginning isn’t the strongest. Still, I like it. It’s sort of like real life in that it just kind of goes along.  It’s especially like high school life. You go to class. You go to lunch. Someone makes you uncomfortable in the cafeteria. Crap it’s time for gym. You you go home. Repeat. Interwoven into all of that is the drama. Staring at the boy across the room, and trying not to get caught. Almost getting flattened by a van. Fainting in the blood lab (someone’s gotta do it, might as well be Bella).  You know, the day to day stuff. It’s about to pick up from here, don’t worry. At least it did for me. For all I know you’re already in the grips of it and will not find time to blog until you finish the book.

Chapter Six finds our heroine going on a camping trip, which is pretty damn boring until Stephenie Meyer waves the IMPORTANT SECONDARY CHARACTER flag and we get our introduction to Jacob Black.

You said waving the flag as if that’s a bad thing. If you have an important secondary character, I say wave that flag with pride. We should have an Important Secondary Character Day. There should be a parade, and we should all wave flags.

Oh dear god. She’s not going to bring ‘ancient tribal mythology’ into this book is she? … Ah fuck. She is.

LOL! I took a slightly more positive approach to this scene. I thought, “Cool! Local Native Americans! We’re about to learn everything about everything!” I was pleased that Jacob didn’t really know what he was saying. I thought it was a nice little twist.

A fucking spider. The traditional Native American symbol for the tricksters and storytellers.

I can’t believe I didn’t even catch that. I love picking out symbolism in stories, and I missed this one completely. Spider is usually a woman and a creator, so maybe that’s why I didn’t pick up on it, but yes, the symbolism fits. Wisdom, protector from evil, and sometime Trickster. Well done!

Awkward and a little contrived? Sure, but someone had to explicate the mythology, because Edward sure isn’t talking–he’s too busy physically abusing Bella and making inane comments about the nature of heroes and villains.

Ouch! I like to give writers the benefit of the doubt. I’ll say awkward because they are teenagers, and contrived because Bella is trying her hand at using her feminine wiles. Now don’t go calling Edward an abuser. Everyone has a different tolerance. Between Edward and Bella, it’s only abuse if Bella says it is (or vice versa if Bella were to take up the “abuser” role). When Bella feels abused she pushes back.

But, compared to the other principal male characters in the text, I like Jacob.

I like Jacob, too, but I’m still Team Edward. It’s really sounding like you’re on Team Jacob. I don’t think we can be friends anymore. 🙂

I’d be very interested to know later is female readers tend to prefer Jacob over Edward or vice versa.

Twilight fans, both before and after the movie came out, break down to about 90% on Team Edward and 10% on Team Jacob. If you have seen any recent pictures of Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black) you might agree that Jacob’s numbers may go up when the New Moon movie comes out. I’d be interested to know how many significant others of Twilight fans would be on what team.

Best Use of Uncommon Verb Senses: ‘”I love them,’ I entused, making an effort to smolder at him” (123,).

Yeah, I didn’t know what that entused what all about either. I chalked it up to a typo, because I found a number of them in the books, but I don’t know really.

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May 4, 2009 - Posted by | Actors, Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-blogs, Twilight | , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Spider tricksters are actually primarily male in Native and African Traditions (Iktomi and Anansi, for example). The spider trickster is not usually associated with creation (though Coyote is, and Anansi can be, but we’re not talking about the African tradition given Jacob’s background…but it’s kind of interesting to wonder why Meyer would mash the Spider and the Coyote together (werewolf, shapeshifter, etc.) if she intended it at all) Iktomi’s–I use him as an example because I have the most experience with him as the Spider trickster/storyteller–purpose as storyteller was to teach lessons to Lakota youth. He usually served to show morals and the difference between right and wrong because he often got into trouble. Now, I don’t see Jacob necessarily fitting the second part (The boy is much too awkward and shy to touch trouble in the first book), but he certainly falls into the storyteller aspect. Just a little heavy handedly.

    Comment by katrinafloyd | May 5, 2009 | Reply

  2. Spider is not necessarily a trickster. If you are only referring to the trickster aspect of Spider, then yes, a trickster spider is primarily male in Native American tradition. Most other references for Spider I find are in relation to Spider Woman, who represents creation and wisdom, specifically the sharing of wisdom. I’m going on memory and internet searches here, because I can’t be bothered to get my books just now. Regardless, what you have learned and what I have learned seem to differ. No big thing.

    It’s possible that this is just imagery, and not meant to be symbolic at all. If it is not meant to be symbolic, I admit it is a huge coincidence. Jacob clearly is sharing wisdom. It will remain to be seen how much of the Trickster there is in him, or how much of the wolf.

    While all of this is fun discussion I think it’s important not to get too carried away with Native American traditions. Stephenie Meyer is creating her own mythology in which vampires are not only up during the day but can walk in the sun, after all.

    Comment by '86 Rabbit | May 6, 2009 | Reply

  3. I would disagree; I think it’s very important to think critically about the choices Meyer is making. It would be a pretty ridiculous coincidence if she didn’t have some sort of knowledge or background to make that choice. While yes, she is creating her own mythology, what Meyer is doing here is very specific with a particular group-a real tribe, even, if I’m following your tag correctly (I was unaware of that, but it only reinforces my argument). This appears to be an instance where Meyer is inviting deeper thought.

    Regardless of intent, people will read a text critically–it’s the nature of scholars, English majors, and just plain engaged readers. Doesn’t matter the source material, it happens.

    As for Spider Woman, I agree with you there, but I still think he represents the storytelling figure. I do /not/ believe he fits the trickster aspect, but certainly falls into the purveyor of story portion.

    Comment by katrinafloyd | May 6, 2009 | Reply

  4. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s important to think critically as well. Most of the time I’m the one being told to calm down, “it’s just a story.” Not that I’m telling you to calm down in any way. I love that you’re taking a serious look at the writing. I just wanted to make sure the “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” camp was represented, play devil’s advocate, so to speak.

    Looking at the description of the tree Bella and Jacob use as their bench, it’s really just an uprooted tree. The only other imagery I can think of to describe what that must look like and set the mood would be an amoeba or an anemone. These are not creepy. Spiders, now they are creepy, and perfect imagery for the telling of Scary Stories. We won’t know unless Stephenie drops by my site and answers the question, but if it was just imagery a spider made the most sense.

    Personally, I’m impressed by the nice catch. The Spider as symbolism is wonderful. I don’t think it’s heavy handed at all, but that’s probably because it slipped right by me (Chagrin, party of one!). The Native American storytelling thing seems completely natural to me. I live in Phoenix and have been to many Native American events and exhibits of various kinds. Storytelling is always such a huge part of it, that it would seem strange to me to have a Native American character who is connected to his or her roots that didn’t have a profound respect for storyteling.

    Then again, I’ve read the entire saga four times. I know what’s coming very well. Things may or may not be as they seem to you now. It’s hard for me to have conversations like this without giving spoilers either way.

    Comment by '86 Rabbit | May 6, 2009 | Reply


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