Posted in Reviews

Twilight: Chapter Seven

I told Charlie I had a lot of homework to do, and that I didn’t want anything to eat.

            Alright, to be fair she’s just discovered some shocking news and maybe her appetite’s gone elsewhere until she calms down. It’s not unreasonable to assume, since stress can steal your appetite. However, Charlie really shouldn’t have taken it at face value.

According to later descriptions of Bella, she’s about 110 lbs and 5’4. I’m not a fan of the BMI scale, but a lot of doctors’ use it was a measure for healthy body weight. Bella hits at 18.9. If she loses even five more pounds, she’s underweight. Why would Charlie, who we see is observant of his daughter’s behavior later on, let her skip a meal? I would have thought he’d insist she have a snack or that she eat later, not let her skip meals altogether.

Back in the text Bella disparages Phil’s taste in music, since Bella turns her nose up at things that are less than a hundred years old. She has a reputation for pretention that she must uphold after all.

She’s apparently so freaked out by the possibility that Edward is a vampire that she has to calm herself down by listening to music.

Alright, I admit that this part I like. Even though the story wasn’t scary at all the way Meyer told it to us, I appreciate that Bella at least here Bella reacts reasonably. You don’t have to be superstitious to find elements of the monstrous in vampire lore.

This is where we really could have benefited from the creepy atmosphere. Right now vampire only sounds plausible because we have not been given any other red herrings. Also it says that he’s a vampire straight away in the blurb on the back of the book.

Anyways we get another dream sequence that Meyer will directly copy and paste into New Moon, and only slightly modify for Eclipse.

The dream is a page and a half long, so I’m not transcribing it here. I’ll just summarize the dream for you. Bella is lost in the woods, and Mike is trying to get her to run because she is in danger. She makes her way towards First Beach, and suddenly Jacob is there, trying to drag her into the woods. Jacob then turns into a wolf. Edward emerges from the woods and beckons Bella towards him. Jacob attacks Edward, and Bella, who is an awful friend, is concerned for Edward.

This is so subtle people. I simply cannot bear the subtle artistry of this scene. If only we had someone to tell us what it means.

We run into some problems with pacing in this chapter. By the time Bella wakes up its early morning, maybe five or six, and Charlie has gone fishing. Honestly this is a bit of a nitpick, but the dream was so short and simple that without the purple prose to sustain it for a couple of pages it would have seemed like only an hour had passed. Bella went to bed early, so I assume she’s been out awhile if she’s reached five in the morning.

Bella decides to do some research, and I gotta give props to Meyer for making me smile, even though it’s not intentional. Nostalgia strikes again, as I remember a time before ad block where pop ups were a pretty big problem on our browser. Not to mention when pages took so long to load you could make yourself a meal and be back before it was fully loaded.

Bella chooses a site called Vampires A-Z.

Finally the screen was finished—simple white background with black text, academic looking.

            Um, do you mean this site? http://vampiresathruz.com/ Because this is barely more than a wiki, not an official archived site of all vampire myths. The internet is not a reliable way of doing your research at any time, but back when this book was written you’d have been better off to have gone to a Barnes and Nobles or your local library to do your vampire research.

Bella correctly surmises that the majority of vampire myths were created to explain away infidelity, child mortality rates and the like. This is really the only point of logic in this book.

She then destroys the tiny burning ember of logic with this;

And then another problem, one that I’d remembered from the small number of scary movies that I’d seen and was backed up by today’s reading—vampires couldn’t come out in daytime, the sun would burn them to a cinder. They slept in coffins all day and came out only at night.

            Um, no. You can’t really generalize all vampire myths like this. Even in Vampires A-Z, most myths don’t expressly say that a vampire cannot go into the sun. Even if we exclude all the vampire myths of other cultures and focus solely on the European vampire that this story most closely relates to, you’d still be wrong.

Hollywood’s earliest vampire influences were black and white horror films. The first time we see this idea that vampires burn in the sun is in Nosferatu. This film actually came about because early movie makers were trying and failed to get the rights to the Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The book wasn’t in the public domain yet, and the Stoker estate wouldn’t hand over the book rights to the film.

So they got the idea to include enough of Stoker’s tropes to make it recognizable as being inspired by his work, while also adding certain twists of their own. The biggest being that the vampire burned in the sun at the end of the film. The Stoker estate was righteously pissed over the whole affair and sued the company.

Even after Dracula had entered the public domain and movies could be made about it without any legal consequences, the idea of vampires burning in the sun was ingrained into public consciousness. Most vampire movies you see will include this trope unless they are trying to adhere to Our Vampires Are Different. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OurVampiresAreDifferent

In short, vampires fell victim to fanon.

Bella tells herself she’s being stupid, and at this point I’d agree with her. You listened to a ghost story that was not at all scary, freaked out, and did some half assed research. You haven’t done any real investigation and are just grasping at straws. Where’s the wacky hijinks? The fun?

Oh right. Fun makes Bella break out.

She goes into the woods near her house to mope. She sits down next to a fallen tree and leans her head against a tree while she thinks. Showing us how little Meyer has been in actual deep woods. That action is guaranteed to get ticks in your hair, hoodie or not. They’re persistent little buggers.

Speaking of another annoying blood-sucking pest, Bella is thinking about Edward again.

If Edward was a vampire—I could hardly make myself think the words—then what should I do? Involving someone else was definitely out. I couldn’t even believe myself; anyone I told would have me committed.

            Except Jacob. Just saying. I mean I’m sure he’d think you were crazy at first too, but it would actually be fun to read.

Bella finally decides that she has two options. Option A, she can ignore Edward and stop their creepy co-dependent relationship in its tracks.

I was gripped in a sudden agony of despair as I considered that alternative. My mind rejected the pain, quickly skipping on to the next option.

            I could do nothing different. After all, if he was something…sinister, he’d done nothing to hurt me so far.

            No, no no. Bella, what the hell is wrong with you?

Agony is not the right word in this context. Sadness? Regret? Maybe. I understand why Bella has latched on to Edward. He presents an enigma, a mystery to by solved, a challenge to conquer. This drive I can understand and respect. She’s projecting a lot of emotion onto her choice to selfishly pursue someone who doesn’t want to be pursued. That emotion being her own anger and depression at exiling herself in Forks unnecessarily. Bella has barely even had a civil conversation with Edward thus far. This attachment to him at this point is creepy and telling.

Which would be fine, if it were intentional. (I’d totally be up for seeing a complex, manipulative, neurotic, mentally unstable Bella if it were portrayed that way from the beginning.) Sadly, it’s not.

Bella finally has to spell it out for Mike at school that Jessica L-I-K-E-S him. Jessica plans for all the girls in their group to go out to look at dresses. Bella waffles back and forth on whether to go because the evil Lauren will be there.

And to make Bella’s day worse she doesn’t even get to ogle Edward. What a poor deprived thing she is.

Jessica reschedules the night out and Bella mopes about the house. Grow up Bella.

Meyer then tries to hammer home how mature and sophisticated Bella is by having her read Jane Austen in her off time. I dunno about all of you but when I was seventeen I was reading mostly YA stuff. Artemis Fowl, Pendragon, Animorphs anything by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, and all sorts of smutty vampire fictions. Why doesn’t Bella read anything that someone her age might have interest in? Or hell if you want to get across the point that she enjoys sophisticated literature why don’t you have her reading things like Lord of the Rings? Sherlock Holmes?

Or something creepy that would add to your atmosphere and maybe account for why Bella has less trouble swallowing the idea of the supernatural? Poe? He’s a classic, and he’s creepy. Shelly? Stoker? Wilde? Irving? Lovecraft? There are a lot of options without even leaving the classics.

Meyer, your English degree is really showing here. Whilst I was getting my degree I was frustrated with my lit professors and indeed my peers treating Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf as the second coming. In my opinion there are other books that are just as good, dare I say even better.

Bella departs for Port Angeles the next day after school. I am really not looking forward to this next chapter, as I am sure to go on a long ass tangent about a certain event which takes place.

Anyways, thank you for reading and join me next review on my soapbox of rage.

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