'86 Rabbit

A FANGirl's Forkstress of Solitude

FMCG: Chapter 10

Feminist Male College Graduate, Benjamin Wheeler, is as completed Chapter 10: Interrogations.  This was a fun one for many Twilight fans. It held scenes which many of us missed in the movie, such as when Edward shows up at Bella’s in the morning to offer her a ride and a jacket, thus showing us that he’s not only thinking of her safety, but, we can guess, her comfort. Edward and Bella sort of come out of the closet that there might be something going on between them. Go see what Benjamin has to say and then come back for some discussion, if you will.

Edward, as we know, has the ability to read minds, which, I imagine, would be pretty much the fantasy of anyone in high school. He tells Bella that he was able to “hear what every human male in this school was thinking on your first day” (210). Narratively, this sort of cuts any tension that Meyer might construct between Bella and her classmates. Instead of mystery, Edward is able to flat out tell Bella what others are thinking about her, which, of course, gives Bella the advantages of knowing what everyone wants to hear. In tha sense Bella’s social interactions have the potential to becomes little more than a performance.

See, now I think that Edward created more tension than Bella would have experienced if he’d said nothing about Jessica’s thoughts. He took care of some practicalities and had the added bonus of making Bella squirm. If he’d said nothing, Bella would have gone to class and been partially ambushed. She already knew Jessica well enough that she was wondering what exactly Jessica was going to say. Jessica would pry. There’s no fun in not sharing Jessica’s thoughts, and there’s the potential that Bella will be caught off guard and say something damaging. Edward may know what Jessica is thinking but since he doesn’t know what Bella is thinking he can’t know how prepared she is to answer any questions. So he tells Bella that Jessica wants to know if they are secretly dating, so he can tell her what to say and make sure they are safely covered. For fun he also tells Bella that Jessica wants to know how much Bella likes Edward, and that he’ll be waiting to hear that answer himself in Jessica’s thoughts. Now if that were me, I’d be so nervous I’d probably puke. Bella has to wait for her class with Jessica with mounting tension, trying to figure out what to say exactly, knowing that Edward will hear her words and see her face as she answers, in Jessica’s mind. She would then have to face him immediately afterwards when he met her for lunch. I don’t think Edward removed any tension at all. I think he created it, again while making sure some practical bases were covered.

I talked a bit in a previous post about the forbidden love notion and the symbol of the apple that appears on the front of the book. Well careful readers, that apple comes back on page 207.

Ah, the apple. Yes, it’s symbolic for temptation, which Bella and Edward are both feeling and trying to resist on some level, but it’s not as obvious a symbol as you might think. I’m surprised by how often I read online, “What’s up with that freakin’ apple? It doesn’t even appear in the book!” Well, yeah it does (as Benjamin mentions, it’s on page 207), and I’ll forgive you for not knowing that because you’re probably 13 and just learning about stuff like symbolism. We all have to learn it sometime.

While I do think the apple represents temptation, I don’t think it’s necessarily pointing to anything like Bella being a fallen woman or being a temptress. I think the apple is temptation, pure and simple. Edward and Bella need not follow Adam and Eve’s course exactly, just as they don’t have to follow Romeo and Juliet’s course exactly. If they do then they will both be cast out of Forks and then die by their own hands. Do you see the story going in that direction?

I think what most people fail to consider when the apple is used as symbolism is that it truly represents knowledge, specifically the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which some interpret as the Knowledge of All Things, in much the same way as we would say All Things Great and Small. We are not leaving out the medium sized things; we are just expressing that all things no matter the size are included. The temptation to know all things came from the serpent (some say Lilith was that serpent), not the apple directly. Knowledge is what Interrogations is all about, the exchange of information. It’s also interesting to note that immortality plays a big part in the symbolism of the apple. If Adam and Eve had not partaken of the apple, they would not have been cast out of Eden, and would have had access to the Tree of Life, immortality. So Bella’s apple can represent not only temptation, but knowledge and immortality, all themes that are wholly appropriate to this story.

If Bella must represent a temptress figure simply because she holds an apple, why not choose Lilith, the first wife of Adam, who some say came back as the serpent to tempt Eve into eating the apple? As the story goes, Lilith would not submit to being on the bottom during sex. Being made of the same clay, she considered herself Adam’s equal. Adam insisted he was stronger and therefore dominant, so he should be on top. Lilith refused and left Adam, choosing to become a demon to retain her independence. Lilith has long been connected with vampire myths, and as a Liturature major in college Stephenie Meyer could definitely have studied works pertaining to Lilith such at Goethe’s Faust, Dante Gabriel Rosetti’s sonnet Lilith, or Robert Browning’s poem Adam, Lilith, and Eve. You never know what little bits are going to stick with you when you read something.

Obviously if I’m comparing Bella to Lilith, I still believe her to be a strong woman at this stage in the story. I don’t think the fact that she needs help at the moment means she is becoming weak, either as a character or as a person. Everyone needs help now and then. She hasn’t needed much help in the last 16 years. She used to being the one helping out. I think that she is starting to rely on someone for help shows that she recognizes her situation has changed. There are forces at work, and she can’t do this one herself. No one, male or female, can to it all alone all the time. If we could there would be no need for society. We opted for division of labor long ago because working together makes us stronger than we can be on our own. This is the same lesson that Harry Potter had to learn, if you’ve read those books, only he wasn’t as sanguine about learning that particular lesson. Sometimes you are stronger for allowing others to help you or for asking for help. To refuse would be prideful.

From apples to the environment. Honestly, I don’t think that two environmental references qualifies as having “Al Gore all over my vampire romance”. That’s a bit dramatic.  🙂

The first reference about the natural resources I took to be an assy argument meant to tease Bella playfully. I thought it more funny than truly environmental, meant to be charming and funny so it would be harder for her to refuse. Now, the explanation of not over-hunting, that I really appreciated. It’s more insight into how Stephenie Meyer’s vampires work. Knowing the Cullens prefer predatory animals, and knowing there are fewer predators than prey in any ecosystem, I wondered how large their hunting grounds were because they could easily run out of their preferred food. So, piece of cake, the matter is addressed, however thinly, and I am satisfied.

May 14, 2009 - Posted by | Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Twi-blogs, Twilight, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Oddly, the apple being used a symbol is one of my favorite things about the book. Thanks for going into detail about this so people who may not have known all that can learn! I also enjoyed all the info on Lilith. Off to go check out those works about her.

    Comment by Whitley | May 15, 2009 | Reply

  2. I like the apple too. It makes for a pretty cover. I’ve often wondered what kind of apple it is, and if it’s a Washington apple.

    Comment by '86 Rabbit | May 16, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: