'86 Rabbit

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FMCG: Chapter 12

It is perhaps fitting that my old friend Benjamin Wheeler begins his thoughts on Chapter 12: Balancing with, “Oh, Twilight, I’ve missed you. Since our last time together I’ve thought about you a lot, watched the movie based on you, cringed at the movie based on you, made fun of the movie based on you. And all of this made my more excited to get back to you, and finally, this windy afternoon, I have.” Benjamin was away for a while when real life called. I have been away too. My brain was too crammed with my new job and new schedule that I haven’t had time to ponder much. Lately, if I’ve had any blog time I’ve spent it over at Letters To Twilight, for the laughs. I have missed Twilight.

I’m sure that anyone who was following this thread is long gone, but I’ll continue on at whatever pace I can manage. My apologies to anyone who is annoyed that I could not keep up. In case you have forgotten the rules, go read his article and then come back for some discussion with me.

I’m with you on the movie, Benjamin. We could spend a lot of blog time on the various levels of horrible there.

We get some suggestion that Edward is comfortable, both ethically and practically, with breaking in Bella’s house. Instead of Bella walking home, Edward tells her (not offers to, mind you) that he will go to her house and retrieve her truck, which will be in the parking lot when she gets out of school. Bella notes that the key “was in the pocket of a pair of jeans I wore Wednesday, under a pile of clothes in the laundry room” (243). This is followed with a rather nonchalant, “Even if he broke into my house, or whatever he was planning, he’d never find it” (243). Have we actually reached so quickly the point in the story at which Bella is okay with Edward breaking into her house without her permission? It seems so.

I didn’t consider it B & E by this point either. Edward had been doing it for months, and Bella and I had had time to adjust to that. Besides, to me it was more like Edward trying to make up for inconveniencing Bella and showing off for her, at the same time. It made Edward more of a mystery to Bella, so win for him.

What really disturbed me about this was that Bella never refers to “keys”. She only ever says her “key”. She carries around her single car key and uses a house key kept under the eave. She never mentions a key ring or a keychain. I wondered why Stephenie Meyer wrote it like this. It’s like Bella considers herself a guest in Charlie’s house even though she comes in an takes charge. I suppose coming in part way through Junior year with, presumably, no intention of staying much past graduation, she must have considered herself a houseguest and endeavored to make her presence minimal.

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June 24, 2009 Posted by | Stephenie Meyer, Twi-blogs, Twilight | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the Twilight Widowers and Unicorns out there who also happen to be Dads. And of course to Charlie, Carlisle and Edward!

June 21, 2009 Posted by | Edward Cullen, Twi-blogs, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FMCG: Chapter 11

I don’t know how much of Chapter 11: Complications I’m going to be able to talk about.  Things are still frustrating and unexplained in Benjamin Wheeler’s Twi-verse. For lack of a more tactful way of saying this, it seems to me that he’s miserable reading this book, but somehow can’t put it down. He seems hell bent on his analysis, and is beating his head against the “this isn’t love” wall. I don’t understand the love of every couple I meet. It’s different for everyone. I think this might be one of those moments for Benjamin that he might benefit from saying, “I’m happy if you’re happy,” to his new friends Bella and Edward, so he can move on to happier parts of the book and stop with the nit-picking. I’m just sayin’.

Now go see what he’s talking about, or you won’t know what I’m talking about.

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May 16, 2009 Posted by | Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Twilight, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 8

I think I should probably hold my tongue for Chapter 8. I don’t think I’ll be able to though. What do you all think about his remarks? Port Angeles is a pretty important scene for Bella and Edward.

But at a discourse level, I’m not sure I like the implication that a woman can’t walk down the street without getting stalked by these kinds of people. Meyer presents this as something Bella has worried about before, but apparently not enough to remember to bring her pepper spray, which Bella has not unpacked yet.

Maybe this is a gender difference showing here. Women are taught to be wary, especially when walking by themselves. I can’t tell you how many talks and seminars we had about this on my all-girls floor in the dorms Freshman year. The bigger the city, the more wary you should be. Bella is from a pretty big city. It would have been drilled into her head. The seemingly slow, country feel of Forks seems to have lulled her into a false sense of security and she has an error in judgement in Port Angeles.

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May 8, 2009 Posted by | Bella Swan, Edward Cullen, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-blogs, Twilight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 7

Our Feminist Male College Graduate, Benjamin Wheeler, is back with his next installment of Twilight. Next up is Chapter 7: Nightmare. I don’t think it’s going well. What do you think? I almost think he’s reading it because he has to, and I almost want to tell him he can stop reading any time he wants…or can he? Admit it, Benjamin, you’re becoming a little bit obsessed with dumb Edward.

As always, check out what he has to say first, and then come back for my commentary.

The dream is interesting, though. Bella can hear Mike ahead of her, urging her on. And who are they all running from? Edward? Why is Jacob suddenly protective of Bella?

When I first read it, I imagined that Jacob was telling Bella to run from Edward. Interpreting the dream further, Mike was furthest away, being only a voice. That seemed in keeping with my thoughts that Bella didn’t relate well to your average human. I chalked that up to her somewhat unusual childhood, but as she was the one who made her childhood unusual by being so responsible and self-reliant, I thought maybe it meant there was something more to Bella than met the eye. She was closest to Jacob in the dream but had eyes only for Edward. Also Jacob was trying to pull Bella into the darkness, while Edward was approaching her from the light. I thought on some level she must be trying to choose between them and, being that I love Edward, I chose to see that Bella saw that Edward was the right choice. It remains to be seen, for you, if I was right.

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May 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Feminist Male College Graduate: Chapter 2

This is fun. Mr. Benjamin Wheeler has finished Chapter 2 of Twilight and has graciously blogged about it already.  I don’t know if there will be much room for discussion on my part this chapter as I agree with just about everything here. Let’s see how it goes. Sometimes I surprise myself. I am a wordy girl after all.

I think a tempting way to read this is with Charlie filling the role of the undomesticated male, and Bella filling the role of the domesticated woman, but I think that’s unnecessarily reductive.

I agree with you here; it is tempting. I think that is a huge reason why so many people are so willing to label The Twilight Saga as sexist, or as having set the feminist movement back decades. The sad part about that for me is that these people seem to think that being a housewife or stay-at-home mom is a bad thing. Personally, I think the feminist movement is about having choices, options. If it’s your choice to stay at home, then great. You have weighed the options for yourself and your family, and presumably came to the conclusion that staying home was the best choice. It was not having a choice that was the problem that started the movement, I believe. In other words, it wasn’t the belief that every woman should be in the workplace with men, but rather the belief that women should be allowed to work on equal footing with men.

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April 30, 2009 Posted by | Bella Swan, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-blogs, Twilight, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is Twilight a Bad Influence?

I don’t believe it is. Do strange, creepy things that people should be on the lookout for in real life happen? Yes, but I think a more important question to ask is: Should parents monitor what their children are reading and give feedback to ensure their children are learning from both positive and negative behaviors in books? You know they should. We have ratings for movies, television, and music. I’m not saying we should rush out and create a rating system for books now, but I am suggesting that parents use some common sense. Know what your kids are reading, like I hope you know what they are watching and getting into online. Don’t assume that just because your kids are reading, and reading is a wholesome pastime, that they are comprehending the themes of the story or that they understand that just because the heroes are the good guys that they always do the right thing. One of the things I love best about Twilight is that the characters are flawed. By that I mean that the characters are flawed, not the writing. Their flaws make them more believable, more relatable. Readers in their formative years need to learn how to spot when a good person is doing a bad thing. It’s the parent’s job to teach this, not the book’s.

The following is a list of things I’ve read over the last several months about how Twilight is bad for young readers, and my feelings of course.

Bella is weak. One day I’ll write a whole essay about why she is not weak. For now I’ll just say this. Bella knows what she wants, she goes after it, and she won’t take No for an answer. She has the second largest coven of vampires on Earth ready to sacrifice their lives for her. Ultimately the largest coven on Earth is powerless against her. Bella is not weak.

It’s Lust not Love. This sets a bad example for our youth. It’s Romeo and Juliet. The star-crossed lovers met, fell in love, and died for each other in the span of, what, five days? We consider this one of the greatest love stories of all time. The name Romeo has become synonymous with a great lover. The Twilight Saga takes place over approximately two years. Edward and Bella are together for approximately a year and a half of that time, in which they spend most of their time together. In that time they battle evil and jealousy, they learn to cope with each others’ strengths and weaknesses, and maturely negotiate sex and marriage. Lust does not survive such tribulations. This is Love if you ask me. But for argument’s sake, suppose it is Lust. It is ridiculous to assume that only people who live perfectly can be good role-models. There are no perfect people, so we must learn our lessons where we can, make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak. When you were a child, did you not once say, “When I am a parent, I’ll never…”? Yes, sometimes it’s just something petty, but not always. In that case you learned to do something positive by watching a negative behavior. Fiction would be so boring if all the heroes were perfect paragons of virtue. That’s why our fiction has evolved away from the good guys wearing white hats. It’s not realistic. Instead we can look at Bella and Edward and say, “Look, they’re confused about their attraction for each other. They know that this might not be the healthiest thing, but they are communicating. They are sharing their fears, and they are working it out.”

But Edward is a stalker! How can Bella love him? There is a fine line between stalking and courting. Basically, it’s the difference between whether the object of affection is receptive. If the answer is Yes, then the suitor’s behavior is considered romantic. If the answer is No, then the suitor is labeled a stalker. Bella is concerned about this behavior but her gut tells her she is gut tells her she is not in trouble. More importantly, her heart tells her she want Edward there with her. So the answer is Yes, and Edward can stop beating himself up for stalking Bella. She has moved him into the Suitor column. Again, I refer back to Romeo and Juliet. Romeo, our favorite lover, is also a stalker until Juliet considers him otherwise. Perhaps you are confused by the pretty language: “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East, and Juliet is the sun! Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon who is already sick and pale with grief…See how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, that I were a glove upon that hand, That I might touch that cheek!” Romeo is a Peeping Tom. He has stalked her to her home, and is standing outside her bedroom window, watching her, and fantasizing about touching her. Yet, we consider it romantic because Juliet ultimately said Yes.

Twilight sets the Feminism back decades! Do you mean, that movement that says a woman shouldn’t rely on any man, should go out and get an education and a job, and should live her life before giving it up for children? That movement never really existed. The Feminist Movement was about a woman’s right to choose. We fought for the right to vote and be equal to men. We fought for a voice. What we choose to say with that voice is up to the individual. Bella chose to be a wife and mother first. She has an eternity to be a career woman, if she chooses.

Twilight bashes parents. I can see why people would think that, but instead why not look at it as a sign of the times? Parents are somewhat absentee now compared to past generations, especially when both parents need to work to make ends meet. There’s no shame in it. I think the pressure to raise perfect people is insane. You keep your kid as safe as possible. You love them and provide for them. You teach them right and wrong, and hope they stay out of trouble. You can’t raise a kid that has no problems to work through as an adult. Not only is it impossible, but that’s just not what life is about. Life is about your own personal struggle, about learning from mistakes–either your own or others’. If you’re an absentee parent your kid might grow up to resent it. If you’re a soccer mom who schedules every minute of your kid’s day, your kid might resent it. It doesn’t just depend on the parent. It depends on the kid, too. Ask two kids who grew up with the same parents, same rules. They’ll have different issues because they have different personalities, and will see their upbringing differently. At no time during Twilight does Bella bash her parents, Charlie Swan and Renee Dwyer. She loves them both dearly. She feels protective of them. Better yet, she recognizes their faults and loves them anyway. She appreciates what they have both done for her, and doesn’t waste time whining about how she’s in this mess because of her upbringing. She has learned from both their faults and their virtues. The end result is an adult who accepts responsiblity for her own actions.

I may revisit this topic at a later date, as I read more criticisms online. For now I hope I have made my point known: everyone is a role-model, whether positive or negative, and it’s up to individuals, not books, to decide which is which. I think Stephenie Meyer has done a fine job of giving us wonderfully flawed characters to get to know, and root for, and show us possibilities to ponder.

February 15, 2009 Posted by | Essays, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-Media | , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Names of Twilight

I’m moving some stuff from my old blog to this new one. Here’s an old post and the comments to go with it.

**Spoilers ahoy**

Bella’s the narrator, usually, so let’s start with her. First I want to say, how could anyone have ever thought that she would not become a vampire? That she would not end up with Edward? Ok, so when Edward and Bella say their I Dos on page 49 of Breaking Dawn, I was momentarily concerned that Edward might not make it to the end of the book. I thought maybe they were getting their happiness in the beginning, and that later the dog might actually have his day. But I braced myself and read on hoping otherwise. I put my faith in the fact that there was more foreshadowing in favor of Edward and Bella’s happiness. I moved on to Bella getting her wish. So on page 354, when Edward shares yet more bodily fluid with Bella, I thought, “My god, it’s only halfway into the book. They’re married. She’s a vampire. Oh man, this could get ugly.” And it did, and maybe I’ll talk about that later. For now let’s talk about Isabella Swan.

Isabella is a form of Isabel, which is a form of Elizabeth. It means God Is My Oath, or Devoted To God. How many times does she describe Edward as a god? The short form, Bella, which she prefers to go by, is the Italian word for Beautiful. It’s interesting to note that while she didn’t consider herself beautiful, many others did, and that it was the Italian vampires, the Volturi, who set Bella on the path to realizing beauty in her own eyes when they mandated she be made a vampire or die. Also interesting to note is that historical figure Isabella of France married Edward II. Isabella is the White Queen featured on the cover of Breaking Dawn, and Edward is indeed Edward II, having been named after is father. Maybe I’ll write more on that later. Back to Bella.

Swan, if you’ve read The Ugly Duckling, tells you all you need to know about the Bella’s future. She considers herself plain and feels bad at times, as if she weren’t good enough to stand next to Edward. But she is a Swan. She will blossom. She will become. And much like the Ugly Duckling of Hans Christian Anderson, she will not be proud, for a good heart is never proud. She can truly appreciate her beauty.

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February 8, 2009 Posted by | Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer, Twi-Media, Twilight, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment