Here we are on chapter 22. For those who need reminding, Bella is on the run from a bloodthirsty vampire who wants to eat her. Instead of going after her, he decides to go after people she loves, kidnapping her mother. Bella has decided that her mother’s life is worth more than her own, and so she will give herself up to the hunter. This is it folks. This chapter is where James makes Bella his bitch. And since everyone else has been aspiring solely to be Bella’s bitch for the past 450 pages, the role reversal is downright refreshing. But first we have to get there. I’ve made you all wait 12 weeks for this, so I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s dive right into Twilight.

Chapter 22: Hide and Seek

The first half of this chapter details Bella’s escape from the Alice and Jasper. I wouldn’t exactly call it an action sequence (basically, she tells her caretakers that she’s going to the bathroom, and makes a break for the door) but it’s better than the two previous chapters (which the characters spent waiting for a phone call). The success of Bella suicidal gambit is suspenseful only by comparison.

. It had taken much less time than I’d thought—all the terror, the despair, the shattering of my heart. The minutes were ticking by more slowly than usual. Jasper still hadn’t come back when I returned to Alice. I was afraid to be in the same room with her, afraid that she would guess… and afraid to hide from her from the same reason.

I would have thought I was far beyond the ability to be surprised, my thoughts tortured and unstable, but I was surprised when I saw Alice gripping the edge with two hands. (p. 433)

And yes, in case I forgot to mention, she’s still taking the whole imminent death thing despicably well.

After finishing her letter to Edward, Bella returns to Alice, who is yet again in a prophetic trance. Turns out, Alice has seen the ballet studio again, and it’s implied (although she tries to hide this fact) that Bella is now present. Why Jasper and Alice don’t confront Bella about this is anyone’s guess, since clearly somebody had to have just made a decision that changed the course of the future. But instead, Jasper uses his power (the telepathic equivalent of Prozac) to calm everybody down, and lets Bella leave the room.

I got ready methodically, concentrating on each little task. I left my hair down, swirling around me, covering my face. The peaceful mood Jasper created worked its way through me and helped me think clearly. Helped me plan. (p. 435)

How… awfully… convenient… Heaven forbid a character suffers consequences for the decision she made. I mean, if Bella just decided that she’s going to die, she should be a bit torn up inside. But instead she uses magic help Bella effortlessly work out her emotions. It’s a total cop out, and the story is worse because of it.

Anyway, with the help of Jasper’s power, Bella manages to spend an entire morning without arousing Alice’s suspicion. They leave for the airport to meet Edward. And then they wait. Without anything better to do (like, I don’t know, coping with imminent death) Bella falls back onto her usual passtime: pining over Edward.

It was amazing how every cell in my body seemed to know he was coming, to long for his coming. (p. 437)

Pffftahahahahahahahaha! Oh god, SMeyer, you slay me.

But yea. Bella tells us how desperately she wants him, and even considers waiting for his plane to touchdown so she could see him one more time before the end. That’s right, when facing her imminent death, her one regret is that she couldn’t see her boyfriend one last time. I am suffocating on the tragedy.

But time is running short, and Bella decides that it is now or never. So what does she do? She asks Jasper to take her to the bathroom. Little does Jasper know, however, that the nearest bathroom conveniently has two exits. Bella goes in one, comes out the other, runs for the door, and is outside before Jasper even realizes she’s gone missing. Once outside, she jumps onto one of the shuttles, which was conveniently waiting for her, and upon getting off, finds a convenient taxi, making this one of the most drama-less escape scenes ever.

Am I the only person who’s noticed that Bella never has to work for anything? Look at her track record. She wanted information about Jacob? She effortlessly seduces him. She wants to be with Edward? Turns out he was madly in love with her from the start. She wants her father to let her out of the house? She effortlessly breaks his heart. She wants to escape her super-powerful, future-seeing vampire guardians? She effortlessly loses them in an airport. Where is the suspense when the main character can do literally anything she wants without breaking a sweat?

But in any case, Bella tosses the cabbie a stack of bills, and they are off.

I exerted myself to maintain control. I was determined not to lose myself at this point, now that my plan was successfully completed. There was no point in indulging in more terror, more anxiety. My path was set. I just had to follow it.

Ok, this is just flat out lazy writing. At least when Jasper was around, it was plausible that Bella could avoid her emotion. It might not have been a strong choice from a narrative perspective, but it made sense in universe. Now, we don’t even have magic. You know what I said in the last chapter about Bella not being a robot? I take it back. Emotions like this can’t just be switched off. This girl is mechanical to the core. Her directive: to facilitate vicarious lubrication.

So, instead of panicking, I closed my eyes and spent the twenty minutes’ drive with Edward.

Oh dear Lord…

I imagined that I had stayed at the airport to meet Edward. I visualized how I would stand on my toes, the sooner to see his face. How quickly, how gracefully he would move through the crowds of people separating us. And then I would run to close those last few feet between us—reckless as always—and I would be in his marble arms, finally safe. (p. 440)

And this goes on for another paragraph and a half. Bella fantasizes about going into hiding with Edward, basking in his presence, and all that good stuff. I guess we’re supposed to feel bad because our romantic leads will never get to be together, but if Edward’s “marble arms” are truly the only thing Bella is missing, I say she should just go ahead and die.

It wouldn’t matter how long we had to hide. To be trapped in a hotel room with him would be a kind of heaven. So many questions I still had for him. I could talk to him forever, never sleeping, never leaving his side. (p. 440)

See, this is what I’m getting at. Meyer wants us to believe that Bella loves her family so much that she’s willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their safety, but after this, I have a hard time believing that Bella truly cares for anybody aside from her designated love interest. I mean, look at her track record. She’s barely shown any regret for hurting her father. Her “friends”, Mike, Jessica, and Angela, have not been mentioned since their romantic subplots were tied up in chapter 14, and Bella had always treated them like an annoyance in any case. We haven’t heard from Renee since she and Bella exchanged emails back in chapter 3. And to top it all off, as Bella marches towards her untimely end, she fantasizes about ditching them all so she can spend every waking moment with Edward.

What casts Bella’s motivations even further into question is her total lack of doubt and apprehension. If the situation has not been made clear enough, SHE IS GOING TO DIE!. She should be filled with questions about whether this action is right, whether there are any alternatives, whether it will hurt. You know, things that a psychologically healthy person should worry about. The fact that she’s able to march to her death with perfect confidence is flat out ridiculous. Hell, even Jesus had doubts.

In fact, if I may open up a can of worms, I’d like to talk for a minute about Jesus. Without speaking on religious truth, of course, the story of Jesus is an example of a heroic sacrifice done correctly. In general sacrifices are powerful because they are, in some sense, unnatural, playing upon the conflict between the sacrificee’s vitality, on one hand, his love for whatever he is sacrificing himself for, on the other. By emphasizing the former, you prove the strength of the latter. The Christian story takes this to its logical limit, by presenting the sacrificee as God himself. If you’ll pardon a broad overgeneralization of a doctrine many hold sacred, it’s basically saying that the love of humanity trumps the sanctity of god. Powerful, right?

Now, what does this have to do with Bella? A lot, actually. The protagonist may not embody the sanctity of god or anything like this, but we find the death of a person full of strength, charisma, and vitality moving for essentially the same reasons. The problem is that that Bella is a weak character. In place of vitality and charisma, her character is defined by passiveness and self-loathing. She just decided that her life is not worth protecting, and without any kind of resistance or doubt, ran off to die, assuming that everybody who cared about her would happily return to their lives after she’s gone. This isn’t compelling; it’s pathetic.

At best, the conflict is between Bella’s desire to be with Edward and her love for her mother. Unfortunately, the first of these desires is ridiculously shallow, and the second has only existed for two chapters. It throws into sharp relief the fact that this girl has literally nothing in her life besides her sparkly boyfriend-of-two-weeks.

I wish I could put this book down now. Wave the white flag and leave the ending unabridged. But I’ve already come so far. And plus, I’ve gotta see James beat this girl around a little.

“Hey, what was the number?”

The cabbie’s question punctured my fantasy, letting all the colors run out of my lovely delusions. Fear, bleak and hard, was waiting to fill the empty space they left behind.

Hey, that was actually kinda poetic.

“Fifty-eight twenty-one” My voice sounded strangled. The cabbie looked at me, nervous that I was having an episode or something.

“Here we are then.” He was anxious to get me out of the cab, probably hoping I wouldn’t ask for change. (p.441)

When facing death, who the hell would notice something like that?

Anyway, Bella goes to her house and uses the key under the eve to get in. I’m not sure who leaves a key under the eve when they’re going out of town, but whatever. Inside she finds a note by the phone with a number for her to call. She calls it, and James answers, telling her to go to (surprise, surprise!) the ballet studio down the street. She runs from the house, skinning her hands on the pavement as she trips.

Long story short, she reaches the ballet studio. Upon entering, she hears her mother calling to her. But there’s something wrong with her mother’s voice. It seems to be coming from nowhere. Her mother is laughing now. And then Bella notices the TV screen. Uh oh… looks like James didn’t have Bella’s mother at all. He was just using one of the old family videos. And then, our Villain shows up to gloat.

“You don’t sound angry that I tricked you.”

“I’m not.” My sudden high made me brave. What did it matter now? It would soon be over. Charlie and Mom would never be harmed, would never have to fear. I felt almost giddy. Some analytical part of my mind warned me that I was dangerously close to snapping from the stress.

“How odd. You really mean it.” His dark eyes assessed me with interest. The irises were nearly black, with just a hint of ruby around the edges. Thirsty. “I will give your strange coven this much, you humans can be quite interesting. I guess I can see the draw of observing you. It’s amazing—some of you seem to have no sense of your own self-interest at all. (p.445)

GAH! Even the villain thinks this girl is a special snowflake! I am so sick of this. Bella is not interesting. She has self-esteem issues and an inflated sense of personal tragedy… Exactly like every other teenager on the planet! Plenty of people have no sense of their self-interest. Hopefully, they get psychological help. Stephenie Meyer, STOP TRYING TO PASS OFF SELF-LOATHING AS A VIRTUE!!!

And why the hell isn’t she angry? If I had just found out that I was about to die a pointless death, I’d be majorly pissed off. Even if you buy this notion that Bella is a compassionate, selfless soul, her parents and her boyfriend are still going to suffer a great deal because of her death, and she doesn’t give a flying fuck. How are we supposed to root for this girl? The villain has won, and she just doesn’t care. She has given up, thrown in the towel. I can’t believe that Meyer wants us to take this as the ideal female hero, but she just doesn’t leave us any room to doubt her intention.

And yes, I say “female hero” for a reason. Why? Because don’t I believe there is any way in Bella’s actions could possibly have passed for heroism if the hero was a boy. We expect boys to be heroic, valiant, and strong, and we expect girls to be passive, weak, and self-sacrificing. In a story about a boy, we want heroism. In a story about a girl, we want somebody like Bella.

We just suck, don’t we?

But it’s true. Take, for example, the other modern icon of YA literature: Harry Potter. How would he behave in a situation like Bella’s? Well, fortunately, the climax of the Order of the Phoenix, is a easily comparable to Bella’s current predicament. For those who don’t remember (or didn’t read) this is where Voldemort manages to convince Harry that his Godfather has been captured by death eaters and is being held in Department of Mysteries, and Harry, being the reckless, self-important teenager that he is, charges heedlessly to the rescue. Like in Twilight, the whole situation turns out to be a ruse, and when the death eaters pounce, Harry must himself be rescued by stronger, more competent adults.

These similarities throw in the sharp relief the differences between the characters. While both Bella and Harry seem to have a “saving people thing”, Harry goes to the ministry with the intent to fight through the death eaters and rescue his godfather. Bella goes in with the intent to die. When Harry realizes that Voldemort tricked him, he continues to fight to save himself and his friends. Bella is still intent on dying. The point I am trying to make here is that Harry was fighting. He did not go to Volemort and say, “Ok, here I am, all yours, you win, now please let go of Sirius and stop killing people”. Even in Deathly Hallows, when Harry actually does offer his life to Voldemort, it is part of a larger plan to make the villain mortal. It was still an act of defiance. Bella, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to have a defiant bone in her body. Dying, for her, is the ultimate act of compliance. Her struggle against James ended the instant she heard his voice on the phone, and she began to do everything in her power to appease him.

Now really, what about femininity makes surrendering to evil acceptable? Does Meyer expect us to applaud Bella’s surrender, and think, “This is what a heroine does”? Sadly, it seems that large swaths of our culture answer “yes”, that a heroine is supposed to be demure, passive, and compliant, and hold out just long enough for the real (see: male) hero of the story to swoop in and save the day.

God, sometimes it hurts to be a feminist.

But back to the story. For the time being, at least, Edward is nowhere to be seen, and our antagonist has Bella at his mercy. So what does he do? Well, he talks. A lot. For over three pages. First he quips about how quick and easy it was to trick Bella. He then explains, at length, exactly how he was able to track her down.

“I’d heard you say you were going home. At first, I’d never dreamed you meant it. But then I wondered. Humans can be very predictable; they like to be somewhere familiar, somewhere safe. And wouldn’t it be the perfect ploy, to go to the last place you should be when you’re hiding—the place you said you’d be.” (p.446)

Yeah, that’s why going to Phoenix was retarded. But, of course what really gave the game up was when Edward got on a plane to Phoenix.

I’m not kidding. Our vampires are that stupid. Literally, all of this could have been avoided if Edward had just scheduled a connection somewhere, rather than taking a direct flight from Seattle to Phoenix. The fuck.

Anyway, James explains that all he really wants is to fight Edward, so he’s going to murder Bella in the grizzliest way possible, film it, and leave it where Sparkles Glorious is sure to find it. Unfortunately, we already know this will never happen, because that would require Meyer to write an action sequence. It was a valiant effort on James’s part, though.

But before he actually gets down to business, he stops again to tell the story of the one victim who escaped him. Turns out it was Alice, who was transformed into a vampire before James could reach her.

“And she did smell so delicious. I still regret that I never got to taste… she smelled even better than you do. Sorry—I don’t mean to be offensive. You have a very nice smell. Floral, somehow…” (p.448)

I think I speak for readers everywhere when I say:GET ON WITH IT!!!

A crushing blow struck my chest—I felt myself flying backward, and then heard the crunch as my head bashed into the mirrors.

That’s better.

“That’s a very nice effect,” he said, examining the mess of glass, his voice friendly again. “I thought this room would be visually dramatic for my little film. That why I picked this place to meet you. It’s perfect, isn’t it?”

Ugh… less talking, more killing.

Ok, I’ll admit the killing scene is pretty well done. I mean, it’s actually gory. James stomps on Bella’s leg, snapping the bone, smacks her skull against a mirror, lacerating her skin with broken glass. After five pages of the villain acting affable and impotent, this is surprisingly intense. That, combined with the fact that, by now, half of the book’s fans are probably hopping to see this girl get smacked around, makes this scene worthy of my endorsement. Good job, author.

Anyway, Bella lasts for about ten seconds before she loses consciousness. And that, my friends, is the end of the book. It’s over, guys! There is no more. No longer will I have to deal with this protagonist and her freaking lust or her ridiculous whining. Ding dong the witch is dead.

Well, that’s all folks. I hope you had as much fun reading these articles as I had writing them. We all can take some valuable lessons about our culture, and perhaps lost a little faith in humanity along the way. But you know, guys, knowing is half the battle and…

Oh wait… There’s more…

………

Chapter 23: The Angel

All right, all right, as you probably already knew, Bella is still alive. She’s just unconscious.

Where I floated, under the dark water, I heard the happiest sound my mind could conjure up—as beautiful, as uplifting, as it was ghastly. It was another snarl; a deeper, wilder roar that rang with fury.

Ugh… Even while struggling for consciousness, delirious with pain, and convinced she’s dead, Bella still is drooling over Edward’s voice. So, yeah. Edward has come to rescue her. The narration is a bit disjointed (and understandably so) but, we hear Edward and Carlisle talk about how badly she’s been injured. She’s broken a few ribs, and Carlisle has his medicine bag. Apparently James bit her hand, and it’s causing her a ridiculous amount of pain. In the background we hear the villain get dispatched, and Edward has to suck the venom from Bella’s hand…

Wait a minute… In the background we hear the villain get dispatched?

Beyond the longed-for sound was another noise—an awful tumult that my mind shied away from. A vicious bass growling, as shocking snapping sound, and a high keening, suddenly breaking off…

THE FUCK? This is all we get for the epic showdown between the good and bad vamps? A two lousy sentences describing the sound he made? What happened to the violence? At least in the movie they had to have a few shots of vampire-on-vampire fisticuffs to trick boys into the theatre. Here, we don’t even get that much. I mean, really, the one practical upshot of having super-powered, weakness-free, Mary Sue vampires is that when they fight each other, it’s sure to be epic. But noooo, we don’t want to have an exciting climax. We want to hear Edward angst about sucking Bella’s blood. Just like the past 200 pages.

Carlisle, I…” Edward hesitated. “I don’t know if I can do that.” There was agony in his beautiful voice again.

“It’s your decision, Edward, either way. I can’t help you.”

Just… Just get it over with already. Do I even need to tell you how the scene goes? Edward is hesitant at first, but then determination blazes in his eyes, and he is able to control himself long enough to suck the venom from Bella’s hand and save her humanity. I’m not sure how he manages this, since his mouth is dripping with venom, and you can’t suck venom out of a wound can’t in any case (imagine trying to suck food coloring out of a wet sponge). But hey, what’s logic compared to true love?

But the plot holes don’t stop there. It seems that Carlisle has her on a morphine drip. I’m not sure how he got ahold of said morphine after getting off an airplane on a sunny day, and I’m pretty sure doctors don’t just carry around morphine with them wherever they go. Wouldn’t that have taken that away from him as he passed through airport security in any case? And it’s not like they were anticipating a medical emergency in any case. And once they realized what was going on, they almost certainly would delay Bella’s rescue in order to ransack a hospital. But hey, little details like that don’t matter, so long as Edward can prove that he loves Bella by conquering his lust, and all the little teeny boppers can imagine falling asleep cradled in his marble arms.

And, I guess If you were interested in how they defeated James, that too bad for you. Meyer dispatched him in two sentences, despite the fact that he was the closest thing this book has to an antagonist. Basically, he became just another excuse to make Edward look chaste and heroic. And what’s even worse, is that this leaves several plot holes unanswered, some of which don’t become apparent until next chapter.

Chapter 24: Impasse.

So Bella wakes up in a hospital, IVs pumping, and a cast on her leg. She’s about to rip out one of her IV drips, but Edward appears beside her bed to comfort her. Aww. Anyway, there are some pretty gaping gaps in Bella’s memory, so Edward tries to explain what the hell just happened, transforming memory gaps into plot holes. But first, he has to tell Bella how tormented with guilt he is because he cares so damn much about her.

“I was almost too late. I could have been too late,” he whispered, his voice tormented. (p. 450)

Yes, yes, you’re tormented. I suppose I should also point out that basically any mention of Edward will still inevitably include and adjective like “exquisite” or “perfect”.

Anyway, Bella is suddenly worried about contacting Charlie and Renee. Why she wasn’t worried about that before she flung herself onto a vampire’s fangs is anybody’s guess, but regardless of Bella’s ridiculously inconsistent character, the plot will fall apart if they don’t find some way to explain Bella’s horrible injuries. Fortunately, the Cullens already called her parents, and gave Bella a plausible alibi. Guess what it is.

“You fell down two flights of stairs and through a window.” He paused. “You have to admit, it could happen.” (p. 459)

Fell down stairs? I mean… do I even have to explain how horribly implausible this is? I’m trying to imagine the architecture of a building that would make this possible. And the fact that her parents buy it is just… just… nobody is that clumsy. I mean, nowhere is the book has her alleged clumsiness caused her injury, unless you count that incident with a tennis racket. Couldn’t you have come up with a better alibi? Like a car accident. Or a Jaguar attack.

Next item for examination is how Edward was able to stop sucking Bella’s blood. Of course, the answer is simply sheer force of will, and the power of love. On a related note, it’s remarkable how blatantly this book is willing to state its own theme, though I guess subtlety was never Meyer’s strong suit.

“He sighed, without returning my gaze, “It was impossible… to stop,” he whispered. “Impossible. But I did.” He looked up finally, with half a smile. “I must love you.” (p. 460)

Yes, yes, abstinence equals love. We get it. Also, I’d like to point out that the word “impossible” is meant to describe what cannot be done. So really, Edward is just being a melodramatic prick when he uses it to describe things that he Just. Freaking. DID! It’s like, Meyer realized that if she didn’t hype Edward’s bloodlust up to impossible levels, the entire story would fall flat. I mean, it’s not like there is any other conflict in the book. Just look what happens to the actual antagonist.

“After I pulled him off you, Emmett and Jasper took care of him.” (p. 461)

…. And that’s all Edward has to say on the subject. In other words, this big bad antagonist, this indomitable tracker who never let a single kill get away from him, this vampire who is so beastly that Laurent wasn’t willing to oppose him in an eight-on-two fight, this guy was quietly dispatched offstage, by two of the Cullens, without any apparent struggle. THE FUCK?

At this rate, they could have simply taken the bad vampires on in the clearing, and ignored all the running across the country nonsense, as the good vamps would have outnumbered the bad vamps two-to-one, with one Cullen left over to escort Bella to safety. And that’s assuming Laurent fought alongside James. Simple math, folks. The trouble is, up till this point, Meyer’s plot has been based on the premise that James is too badass to be confronted head-on, and that it would require the combined effort of the entire family to bring him down. If this is the antagonist you’ve set up, you can’t just have two of the good guys “take care of him” off-screen. It is disrespectful to the reader to string us along on the promise of an epic struggle, only to hand-wave it at the last minute.

But then again, when has Meyer ever let her protagonists struggle for anything? The defeat of James is simply another effortless victory in a long string of effortless victories designed to give Bella everything she ever wanted. Of course, as a wish-fulfillment fantasy, this makes perfect sense. After all, who wants to struggle? Wouldn’t you rather rely on your perfect boyfriend and his perfect family to sort out all of your problems, without any apparent trouble? Just fall back and let them take care of everything. Don’t try to do anything for yourself; that’s sure to lead to trouble. Your only job is to live in blissful indulgence with a perfect man.

Anyway, back at the story. Our leads banter for a while, on such topics as Bella’s irrational (but endearing!) fear of needles, and how much fun Alice had fabricating the evidence of Bella’s “accident”. Eventually, however, their conversation leads to what the fans truly want: kissing. But when Edward leans in for a kiss Bella’s heart literally stops. Literally. I know many people nowadays have taken to using the word “literally” ironically, so let me be perfectly clear: the hospital literally has Bella hooked up to a cardiograph, and she literally flatlines.

I wasn’t so lost in the fog of medicine that I didn’t respond to his touch. The beeping of the monitor jumped around erratically—now he wasn’t the only one who could hear my hear misbehave. […] He leaned in slowly, and the beeping noise accelerated wildly before his lips even touched me. But when they did, though with the most gentle of pressure, they stopped altogether. (p. 463)

So Bella dies of cardiac arrest, bringing this dreary tale to a close. The moral of the story is that love is its own worst enemy.

Ok, I’m overusing this joke. But you’d think that after Bella’s seventeenth brush with heart failure she’d stop bouncing back as if it wasn’t a serious medical condition. Anyway, the heart-attack inducing make out session is interrupted by Bella’s mom. Edward is about to give them some privacy, but the thought of him leaving fills Bella with “irrational panic”, so he feigns sleep instead. Bella still feels zero guilt for nearly getting herself killed, and all Renee wants to talk about is how beautiful the Cullens are. So that’s what they talk about for about a page. But then, Renee breaks some important news: Phil got signed, so the family will move to Jacksonville. Bella doesn’t have to live in Forks anymore!

But of course, now that our protagonist has a boyfriend, she doesn’t want to leave. Bella tries to hide her real reason from her mother, which is really strange, considering how close they supposedly are.

I opened my mouth to lie, but her eyes were scrutinizing my face, and I knew she would see through that.

Isn’t that endearing? She’d totally lie her ass off if she thought she could get away with it.

“He’s part of it,” I admitted. No need to confess how big a part. “Have you had a chance to talk with Edward?” (p. 467)

Well, as it turns out, Renee has had a chance to talk to Edward. From her conversations, she’s come to the conclusion that he is hopelessly in love with Bella. Sigh… I guess it’s a bit late for subtlety.

“And how do you feel about him?” She only poorly concealed the raging curiosity in her voice.

I sighed, looking away. As much as I loved my mom, this was not a conversation I wanted to have with her. “I’m pretty crazy about him.” There—that sounded like something a teenager with her first boyfriend might say.

“Well, he seems very nice, and my goodness, he’s incredibly good-looing, but you’re so young… Bella…” Her voice was unsure; as far as I could remember, this was the first time since I was eight that she’d come close to trying to sound like a parental authority. I recognized the resolute-but-firm tone of voice from talks I’d had with her about men.

“I know that, Mom. Don’t worry about it. It’s just a crush,” I soothed her.

“That’s right,” she agreed, easily pleased. (p. 468)

I don’t get it. How is it that, in one scene, Bella is willing to die to save her mother, and in the next she’s telling her to mind her own business and stay out of her life? At the beginning of the book, she described her mother as her best friend. You’d think Bella would want to be open with her, and have issues with lying to her beyond “she’d see right through me”. I mean, it’s understandable that an average teenager would be shy about sharing his/her romantic exploits with her parents, but Bella isn’t supposed to be an average teenager; she’s supposed to be a pure, selfless soul, whose love for others takes precedence over her own life. Her mother should be something more to her than another person to be “easily pleased”. But on the other hand, if Edward shows his love by stalking and kidnapping, I guess it only makes sense that Bella would show love by manipulating and deceiving. I guess they are a perfect match for each other.

Anyway, the conversation drags its way to a close, but not before a grin from Edward causes Bella’s heart to spaz again, bringing in a nurse to investigate. Once Renee leaves, Bella and Edward go back to their conversation. They joke about the fact that the Cullens had to steal a car in order to reach the dance studio in time (which they subsequently burned down), which still doesn’t quite answer how they made it across Phoenix in the early afternoon without revealing themselves in all their sparkling glory. But then Edward drops a bombshell. Apparently he was surprised by the fact that Bella wanted to stay in Forks.

I stared at him uncomprehendingly. “But you’d be stuck inside all day in Florida. You’d only be able to come out at night, just like a real vampire.”

He almost smiled, but not quite. And then his face was grave. “I would stay in Forks, Bella. Or somewhere like it,” he explained. “Someplace where I couldn’t hurt you anymore.” (p. 470)

Of course, Bella freaks out at the thought of Mr. Sparkles leaving her, and has what I can only describe as a panic attack. Gasping, chest pain, the works, made worse by her broken rib.

Don’t leave me,” I begged in a broken voice.

“I won’t,” he promised. “Now relax before I call the nurse back to sedate you.”

But my heart couldn’t slow.

“Bella.” He stroked my face anxiously.” I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be right here as long as you need me.”

(p. 471)

Then why did you say you were leaving her, you giant douche? Edward goes off on a tormented tirade about how everything is his fault, that Bella is in danger, and how he would not have been able to live with himself if he had drained Bella dry. Each day he is in perpetual agony, knowing that his presence puts her in danger. Bla bla bla…

Ok, so Bella is quick to retort that he also saved her life on several other occasions that he wasn’t responsible for, but Edward is too filled with anguish to listen. But Bella presses on, demanding to know why Edward sucked the venom from her, preventing her for becoming a vampire like him.

“It just seems logical… a man and woman have to be somewhat equal… as in, one of them can’t always be swooping in and saving the other one. They have to save each other equally ” (p. 474)

No. I’m sorry, but it’s too late to pull this equality bullcrap. Two sentences doesn’t excuse 470 pages spent indulgently reveling in the land of rescue romance.

“You have saved me,” he said quietly. (p. 474)

Saved him from what? His super strength, eternal youth, and unlimited wealth? Yeah, I bet he was really miserable. Clearly one cannot be happy without a whiny teenage girl to dote on.

“You are my life. You’re the only thing it would hurt me to lose.” I was getting better at this. It was easy to admit how much I needed him. (p. 474)

Well, there you have it. Bella doesn’t give two shits about anybody besides her sparkly boyfriend. She’s even subtle about it. They argue some more, Bella demanding to be turned, Edward trying to find reasons that she should be. Eventually, he manages to find a reason that sticks.

“Charlie?” he asked curtly. “Renee?”

Minutes passed in silence as I struggled to answer his question. I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. I closed it again. He waited, and his expression became triumphant because he knew I had no true answer.

“Look, that’s not an issue either,” I finally muttered; my voice was as unconvincing as it always was when I lied. “Renee has always made the choices that work for her—she’d want me to do the same. And Charlie’s resilient, he’s used to being on his own. I can’t take care of them forever. I have my own life to live.” (p. 475)

But… what… I just… GAHH!!!

I am past anger. Twenty pages ago, Bella was willing to die for her mother. And now Edward has to remind her that her parents exist. This is absurd. I don’t care how hot her boyfriend is. Wanting to live forever is one thing, but if it comes at the cost of every meaningful relationship you’ve ever had… apparently, these are just not important to our protagonist, who thinks only about her shot at sparkle peen.

Ok… I’m better…

Anyway, they argue some more, Bella bringing up the fact that she’s going to age, and that if she really wanted to, she could go to Alice for some venom. Edward eventually grows weary of the conversation, and calls the nurse to give Bella more pain medication (against her will, I might add). However, this blatant disregard for Bella’s autonomy is ok, because he kisses her and promises to stay with her. And have I mentioned recently how pretty he is?

The story is winding down, and is looks like they are done arguing. They still love each other. But as the meds soothe Bella to sleep, her last words reaffirm her desire to become a vampire, hinting at drama to come.

And that, my friends, is the end of the book proper. There’s still an epilogue to be abridged, which catches up on Bella and Edward a few months later at their junior prom. So here’s to the penultimate chapter of Twilight Abridged and annotated.

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Comment

  1. Snow White Queen on 28 December 2010, 01:41 said:

    Oh. My. God.

    That was horrible. (Not your annotation, that was awesome. Just the original stuff…)

  2. Det on 28 December 2010, 03:16 said:

    What makes the “fell down the stairs” bit even worse is that it sounds like something a victim of domestic abuse would say. I mean, my God, does Meyer even realize what she’s writing?

  3. fffan on 28 December 2010, 09:16 said:

    “You fell down two flights of stairs and through a window.”

    HOW? What sort of hotels place random windows at the bottom of staircases!?

  4. No One on 28 December 2010, 09:39 said:

    Artimaeus, I applaud you for your perseverance in reading this load of bloody crap awful book.

    No, seriously, good job with the unbearable story! My eyes are literally tearing up and burning from reading the parts of Twilight.

  5. dragonarya on 28 December 2010, 14:03 said:

    Yaaay, Arty, you’re back! I’ve been looking forward to this.

    Heaven forbid a character suffers consequences for the decision she made. I mean, if Bella just decided that she’s going to die, she should be a bit torn up inside.

    Hell, she should be crying inside! Thinking about all the things she’d like to do, places she’d like to go, people she won’t have a chance to say goodbye to, her lost future, the visions of herself someday that will never come true… come on!

    It’s like, Meyer realized that if she didn’t hype Edward’s bloodlust up to impossible levels, the entire story would fall flat.

    I wrote a vampire story once, before SMeyer’s piece of nauseous filth came out, and I have to say, even if it was my first story, I did damn well make sure the vampires were believable. Even now I’m fiddling with the concept, but if you have vampires, you’ve got to show the bloodlust instead of harping and angsting on and on about it!
    I want to see loss of control. I want to see a vampire going so crazy from thirst from trying to abstain (what with SM’s stupid abstinence theme) that they attack someone (maybe even a close friend) and have to deal with the consequences. I want to see actual blood, dammit!

    Wouldn’t you rather rely on your perfect boyfriend and his perfect family to sort out all of your problems, without any apparent trouble?

    There’s another problem! Why are they SO. PERFECT. There’s got to be some trade-off! They get perfect physical characteristics, but maybe have screwed up personalities! Something!

    Yeah, I bet he was really miserable. Clearly one cannot be happy without a whiny teenage girl to dote on.

    I know. Has Meyer never heard of artistic calling (like all of us)? Hobbies? Interests? Geez.

    I still don’t know what is wrong with this woman. It frightens me, it does. And thanks so much for ruining the vampire name for the next few years at least, SMeyer. Really. (sarcasm)

  6. Kitty on 29 December 2010, 05:50 said:

    You managed to annotate the entire thing and make it a lot more readable than the actual book. Well done.

  7. Klutor the Ninth on 29 December 2010, 15:19 said:

    What makes the “fell down the stairs” bit even worse is that it sounds like something a victim of domestic abuse would say.

    Yes. Yes, it does.
    Couple of guys on tvtropes noticed that too.

    Hell, even Jesus had doubts.

    Why, yes… I almost think He did. Arti, you’re a genius. Very good point.

    It was amazing how every cell in my body seemed to know he was coming, to long for his coming. (p. 437)

    Yeah, I bet this situation is very hard for him, too….
    Sorry, but I just had to.;-)

    I’ve gotta see James beat this girl around a little.

    Does anyone know where I can watch this scene from the movie again? No, seriously – I need to.

    After five pages of the villain acting affable and impotent, this is surprisingly intense. That, combined with the fact that, by now, half of the book’s fans are probably hopping to see this girl get smacked around, makes this scene worthy of my endorsement. Good job, author.

    Agreed.
    I’m not near that scene in Bad Apple yet, but I swear by the beard of Zeus… I will give it my best shot.

    In the background we hear the villain get dispatched?

    Hey, does SM know what it’s like for a villain to get dispatched? What it feels like from his point of view?
    Of course not.

    a man and woman have to be somewhat equal

    Best phrase in the entire damn book.
    Too bad the rest does absolutely nothing to support gender equality.

    I want to see actual blood, dammit!

    There will be, dragonarya. There will be…;-)

    screwed up personalities

    Don’t worry, she already covered that.
    Especially with Ed.

    Yeah, I bet he was really miserable.

    You don’t understaaaaaaaaaand!
    No, you don’t know what it’s like!
    When nothing feels all right!
    ends sarcasm

    In Meyerland, no single person is allowed to be happy and fulfilled. Apparently we are all empty and worthless without a “better half”.

    And yes, I did, in fact, just shamelessly promote my own fic up there. Please read it if you have the time – the link is on the discussion page, in the Bad Apple-thread.
    Thank you.:-D

  8. WiseWillow on 29 December 2010, 18:57 said:

    Also, a nurse will not give medication to a patient at the request of her BOYFRIEND. BAD book, BAD. Excellent job Artimaeus.

  9. RandomX2 on 29 December 2010, 21:18 said:

    A couple of typos:

    For those whe need remingind, Bella is on the run…

    (That’s only on the summary that links to the article, not in the article itself).
    + A random period at the beginning of the first quotation in the article.

    “I’m pretty crazy about him.” There—that sounded like something a teenager with her first boyfriend might say.

    She is a teenager with her first boyfriend. Crazy Bella.

    It’s a total cop out, and the story is worse because of it.

    Seriously. Not once in a story about vampires (and therefore imminent death?) does Bella have to feel any emotion other than twu wuv.

    ‘There was no point in indulging in more terror, more anxiety. My path was set. I just had to follow it.’

    … You know, she could actually be a robot. It would explain so many things: clumsiness (poor ability to detect ground/ weak AI), the lack of emotion and the fact that her mind can’t be read. And the way that she can’t consider anything other than Edward. She’s been programmed to moon after him, I tells ya.

    Nice analysis, regardless.

  10. swenson on 30 December 2010, 00:43 said:

    But who would have programmed her? Did Edward’s creepy stalkerishness actually extend to building a robot to fall in love with him? That would just be too creepy.

    On the other hand, what a great fanfic that would make!!

  11. dragonarya on 30 December 2010, 13:41 said:

    @ Klutor:

    screwed up personalities
    Don’t worry, she already covered that.
    Especially with Ed.

    Yeah, but it’s not presented that way. Sparkleson is presented as the paragon of selfless abstinence instead of the controlling stalker he is.

    And if I do have the time I will read your fic. :)

  12. Klutor the Ninth on 30 December 2010, 17:15 said:

    at the request of her BOYFRIEND

    Well, Willow, said boyfriend is Edward, who has more unnatural hotness than any of the other unnaturally hot meyerpires… and he always gets what he wants, anyway. Cause he’s a Stu.

    She is a teenager with her first boyfriend. Crazy Bella.

    Exactly.

    On the other hand, what a great fanfic that would make!!

    You know, swenson, a local writer in my country once wrote something a lot like that, years before we were even born. The unreliable narrator was unbelieveably creepy… but it was still one of the best short stories I’ve ever read.

    Yeah, but it’s not presented that way. Sparkleson is presented as the paragon of selfless abstinence instead of the controlling stalker he is.

    Of course. Because SM dreamed him up as the Ideal Man ™, which all single girls must aspire to get married to. Sickening, really.

    And if I do have the time I will read your fic. :)

    Thank you very much.:-D
    I’m looking forward to your review.

  13. Danielle on 30 December 2010, 19:02 said:

    I think Bella suffers from short-term memory loss. Like Dory in Finding Nemo, only less funny, more creepy. That’s why she’s so attracted to Edward, because he’s constantly telling her what to do, how to do it, who to hang out with and even where to go. To someone with such severe memory issues, a bossy person like Edward who also seems to care deeply about her welfare would be a great comfort. This would also explain her childlike dependency on him. He literally functions as her brain for most of the series.

  14. Loni on 31 December 2010, 05:06 said:

    You know what I don’t get? Why it was necessary for Edward to be the one to suck the venom out of Bella’s wound.

    It’s already been established that Carlisle has superhuman selfcontrol and has actually managed to hold off sucking people dry before. So why did they risk Edward when Carlisle was right there?

  15. That Chick on 31 December 2010, 15:44 said:

    I love this whole series, and bringing up Jesus made my day. After knowing the plan was for him to die for millenia, the night he knew he was going to be arrested, he spent it praying to God, asking if there was any other way humanity could be saved without his death. And he knew he could come back later, he just didn’t want to go through all of the suffering.

    (Yeah, I’m a preacher’s kid. But even looking at it from a purely secular point of view, it is an example of sacrifice done right.)

    You know what I don’t get? Why it was necessary for Edward to be the one to suck the venom out of Bella’s wound.

    It’s already been established that Carlisle has superhuman selfcontrol and has actually managed to hold off sucking people dry before. So why did they risk Edward when Carlisle was right there?

    (Don’t know how to do the quotes.) I never understood that either! Even when I was nine and thought Edward was the sweetest guy ever, I always thought it was weird that Carlisle never sucked the venom out, instead of Edward.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next installment. The prom scene made me laugh out loud, it was so ridiculous.

  16. Snow White Queen on 31 December 2010, 16:17 said:

    You know what I don’t get? Why it was necessary for Edward to be the one to suck the venom out of Bella’s wound.It’s already been established that Carlisle has superhuman selfcontrol and has actually managed to hold off sucking people dry before. So why did they risk Edward when Carlisle was right there?

    Drama, derrrrrr. And as an excuse for Bella to cream herself.

  17. Artimaeus on 1 January 2011, 02:45 said:

    What makes the “fell down the stairs” bit even worse is that it sounds like something a victim of domestic abuse would say. I mean, my God, does Meyer even realize what she’s writing?

    Gah, that is so true. Bella is lying to cover up suspicious injuries. I didn’t even think about that.

    Best phrase in the entire damn book. Too bad the rest does absolutely nothing to support gender equality.

    I swear, sometimes I can picture an editor frantically ripping through one of Meyer’s drafts, looking for places to add “equality phrases” so the book isn’t a complete misogynistic nightmare.

    I love this whole series, and bringing up Jesus made my day. After knowing the plan was for him to die for millenia, the night he knew he was going to be arrested, he spent it praying to God, asking if there was any other way humanity could be saved without his death. And he knew he could come back later, he just didn’t want to go through all of the suffering.

    Indeed. Without getting too tangled in the the theology, I think that the power of the Christian story comes, in large part, from the perverseness of the idea of god dying. Clearly, the wrongness of the whole scenario was not lost on Jesus; it’s natural to have doubts about something that is fundamentally contrary to your nature. The same thing goes for less divine characters. If they doubt, it shows that they have something to live for, which gives their ultimate decision to die that much more gravity.

    You know what I don’t get? Why it was necessary for Edward to be the one to suck the venom out of Bella’s wound. It’s already been established that Carlisle has superhuman selfcontrol and has actually managed to hold off sucking people dry before. So why did they risk Edward when Carlisle was right there?

    This Meyer handwaved because Carlisle had to stop Bella from bleeding to death from her other injuries. I have no idea what first aid skill could possibly be so complex that only Carlisle could manage it. It seems like Bella would have had a better chance at surviving if Edward had handled the stitches and Carlisle had sucked out the venom.

  18. Snow White Queen on 1 January 2011, 17:10 said:

    Plus, I thought that Edward went to Harvard or Yale or some really prestigious college and got a PhD. I think he could handle it.

    Which brings up the question of why ANYONE with a PhD (or multiple- I can’t remember exactly) would want to be in high school.

  19. Nate Winchester on 4 January 2011, 10:28 said:

    HOW? What sort of hotels place random windows at the bottom of staircases!?

    I like the line the rifftrax guys said: “Remember that time I fell off the empire state building when I walked by it?”

    I think Bella suffers from short-term memory loss. Like Dory in Finding Nemo, only less funny, more creepy. That’s why she’s so attracted to Edward, because he’s constantly telling her what to do, how to do it, who to hang out with and even where to go. To someone with such severe memory issues, a bossy person like Edward who also seems to care deeply about her welfare would be a great comfort. This would also explain her childlike dependency on him. He literally functions as her brain for most of the series.

    That would… actually add a lot of depth to this series and romance. And it brings up a discussion about how, while ideally everybody in every relationship should be equal, what about those that can’t? For instance, someone with a handicap, should they be forced to seek a relationship only with those of a similar handicap just so it’d be equal (leave the normal people alone). If a normal person falls in love with them, should the normal person then be handicapped so both can be equal (“Honey if you love me, you’ll chop off your legs.”) What if the handicap is something (like, in this instance, short term memory problems) such that they CAN’T have someone equal to them (because there would be no way for the couple to survive in the world at moment) are they just SOL, even if they fall in love with someone “superior” to them?

    All interesting questions and thoughts the twilight saga COULD have addressed and talked about… but didn’t. Proving just how much this series is a collection of missed moments of awesome.

  20. Dominique on 23 January 2011, 15:56 said:

    It’s your decision, Edward, either way. I can’t help you.”

    Uh, yeah, you can. You suck the venom out of Bella while Edward holds the tourniquet! You’re the one with the oh-so-admirable restraint to not guzzle the wounded you see in your hospital, you’re the one who’s been around bleeding people so much that you’re immune to blood entirely, you’re not the one with the insatiable lust to drain Bella dry, etc.

    Urg, this book is so stupid! Every scene is just one big plothole because if logic was ever allowed, there would be no book. Period.

  21. Fell Blade on 20 December 2011, 14:25 said:

    “You have saved me,” he said quietly. (p. 474)

    This line would only make sense if Edward actually was a bad kinda guy and needed to be saved. His life was already perfect in the sense that he had eternal youth, a loving family, and had conquered the need for human blood. In order for this line to truly make sense, Edward needed to have something wrong with him that he actually could be saved from. For instance if Edward was still hunting humans.

    Now that would actually have been an interesting plot. What if Edward was still a “normal” vampire in the sense that he killed people. Then he finds Bella. He has several opportunities to kill her, but finds himself falling in love with her. Now, at the end of THIS story, Edward could truly say “You have saved me”

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