Chapter 4 – Nature
So, Bella opens up by talking about her “bad week” and all about how Victoria’s after her, but it’s actually just one more way she can whine about not being a beautiful and powerful and immortal vampire yet. Yeah, you aren’t fooling me, Meyer. And Bella can say it’s her bad luck that should be the reason for being a vampire, because “someone with [her] luck ought to be a little less helpless”, but we aren’t stupid. It has nothing to do with keeping herself or anybody else safe—it’s all about being beautiful and powerful and immortal. That’s it.
Anyway, nobody will really give into her little foot-stomping in regards to being changed now, now, NOW, which made me wonder temporarily if maybe her Sue powers were fading—then I remembered that Meyer was just padding out the plot and went back to business. Anyway, the logic of keeping Bella human is not only for Charlie, but also because the Cullens have numbers on their side along with Alice’s foresight. Then we get a lot of pointless Cullen banter that is supposed to somehow make them look like a family (I think), but it fails on a whole lot of levels so I’ll not bother transcribing it. Then Jasper comes in with his bong and lets everybody have a hit off of it, i.e., he calms everybody down—Meyer describes it as “his curious talent of controlling emotional atmospheres”, which makes little to no sense if you think about it. That’s why I don’t.
Bella goes on to say that Wardo is the most irritating of them all when it comes to changing her, because he declares that issue strictly Carlisle’s business when she starts begging him to change her as Carlisle won’t, and says that he’ll do it if she’ll marry him just to remind us of that particular Mormon thingy.
Bella continues to wangst about how it’s a bad week and now starts wangsting about it being a bad day because, woe, Wardo has to leave her and go hunting. Meyer reminds us that Wardo spends his time chowing down on mountain lions rather that eating overpopulated and more easily repopulated herbivores (man, I really have to wonder if Wardo even takes the consideration to only go for male mountain lions—who knows how many mountain lion kittens he’s orphaned and doomed to die… *all depressed now*), because she has no idea about ecology and that sort of thing. Wardo leaves her a little love note, and Alice stays close by under the pretext of watching out for Victoria, but it’s quite clear that she’s around only to keep Bella from visiting You-Know-Who. Bella stays home, doing very feminine things like a proper female, aaaaaaaand that is when Meyer does what is probably the STUPIDEST bit of symbolism I have EVER seen in my ENTIRE LIFE. Bella starts rearranging the magnets on the fridge. And then we get THIS.
The last two magnets—round black utilitarian pieces that were my favorites because they could hold ten sheets of paper to the fridge without breaking a sweat—did not want to cooperate with my fixation. Their polarities were reversed; every time I tried to line the last one up, the other jumped out of place.
For some reason—impending mania, perhaps—this really irritated me. Why couldn't they just play nice? Stupid with stubbornness, I kept shoving them together as if I was expecting them to suddenly give up. I could have flipped one over, but that felt like losing. Finally, exasperated at myself more than the magnets, I pulled them from the fridge and held them together with two hands. It took a little effort—they were strong enough to put up a fight—but I forced them to coexist side-by-side.
"See," I said out loud—talking to inanimate objects, never a good sign—"That's not so horrible, is it?"
I stood there like an idiot for a second, not quite able to admit that I wasn't having any lasting effect against scientific principles. Then, with a sigh, I put the magnets back on the fridge, a foot apart.
"There's no need to be so inflexible," I muttered.
The symbolism in I Know Who Killed Me was done subtler and more tastefully than that shit.
I’m not going to dignify that bit of utter stupidity with further comment, and I’m never going to look at it again. I fear for my brain cells.
Bella then packs up and heads to the Newtons’ store, and we get the most random and out-of-place description of Mrs. Newton before Bella is turned right back out, because it’s a slow day and, as Bella has already informed them that she will be quitting in the summer, they’re trying to train another person to replace her when that time comes.
Bella whines and complains to the audience because, so long as she whines at us and doesn’t complain (much) to the other characters, they will continue to think of her as some kind of selfless saint, and then agrees to go back home. Mrs. Newton asks her to dispose of some flyers for her, and surprise surprise, the flyers mention something about saving a wolf and Meyer waxes poetic about how distressed the howling wolf looks.
Bella makes “a snap decision”, which is the key to avoiding Alice’s visions, and off she goes to La Push. And, instead of thinking that it is her right to go, or thinking anything along those lines, she actually is thinking that she’s misbehaving and that Wardo’s going to be so angry with her and she’ll just have to submit to it and say “yes, dear” instead of sticking a letter opener in Wardo’s eye and telling him to piss off because he doesn’t rule her fucking life.
Then I remember that, in this story, he really does, and pretty much just kind of sigh and go back to recapping.
When Bella arrives at Jacob’s house, she somehow manages to hear Jacob gasp from all the way across the lawn. Jacob is ecstatic, not at all resentful, and thinks it’s just marvelous that Bella has to resort to sneaking out instead of asserting herself and telling Wardo that she can do whatever she wants. Jacob doesn’t really bring up any resentment about all that stuff that happened in New Moon, either—you know, her leading him on, and all that? Yeah, I, at least, will definitely keep bringing that back up. Lord knows Meyer and Bella won’t.
Billy also warmly welcomes Bella back into their midst, not at all miffed that Bella hurt his son in such a terrible fashion, not at all distrustful of someone who regularly carouses with their sworn enemy and is obviously much more loyal to said sworn enemy than to the werewolves. Logic is so below Meyer—professional writers like her don’t have to use it. Bella and Jacob then go for a walk along the beach, and it doesn’t take long for them to get to reason for their not speaking to each other for so long.
So, Jacob, in true Hairy Stu fashion, begins saying things that make sense even though the motivation for saying them is all wrong. For instance, he expresses incredulity for Bella’s instant return to Wardo. However, the only reason he’s bringing this up is not because he’s concerned for his friend—he just wants her to be mad at Wardo so she’d come running to him as a consolation prize. Though why anybody would be happy to be a consolation prize is beyond me.
Then Bella replies that she didn’t forgive Wardo for leaving her because there was nothing to forgive (yea verily, she did say this). They banter on the subject for a bit, and Bella finally declares that Wardo totally is innocent and not to blame for ANYTHING because he left for Bella’s safety and because he loves her.
Fic time again!
“Edward left me last fall because he didn’t think I should be hanging out with vampires. He thought it would be healthier for me if he left.”
Jacob raised an eyebrow. “And…you got no say in the decision?”
“Well,” I said slowly, “I tried to get him to stay—”
Jacob snorting distracted me. “Nice to see he’s got such respect for you and your decisions.” He looked back at me, a strange sort of half-smile on his face. “Notice I left the decision of hanging out with me once you knew what I was up to you?”
“Edward was just trying to protect me,” I insisted.
“That I’d buy. I assume he’s the main reason you haven’t come down to see me before this?”
“Well, yeah, but…” I heaved a sigh—there was no way Jacob could possibly comprehend what was between Edward and me.
“But nothing, Bells. That guy has no respect for your feelings.”
My head snapped up and I glared at Jacob furiously. “How dare you?! He’s the most unselfish person in existence! He did everything he did for my safety!”
Jacob rolled his eyes. “Yeah—except that he never considers your feelings on the matter before doing whatever he damn well pleases. And notice it’s always about what he decides is safe and what isn’t for you?” He gave a bitter snort. “He’s not keeping you safe for you, Bella—he’s keeping you safe for him.”
I was on the verge of just getting up and leaving now. My hands were balled into fists, and I was trembling with fury. “Don’t—don’t you say thing like that about him!”
Jacob didn’t stop, though. “My pack doesn’t keep my tribe in La Push—they can leave if they want. We don’t keep the citizens of Forks in their houses. We don’t decide where they go and who they see—it’s their choice. But we still protect them—we protect them for them—for their own sakes, not because it’s the way we want things. If a vampire comes into town, we will defend them as best we can, but we’re not about to try to put the whole place on lockdown.”
“That—that’s just because you can’t reveal your secret!” I shouted, finally finding some way to counter him. “If everybody around here knew about you, you could easily order people to stay indoors if there was a vampire on the loose—and you would, too!”
Jacob was looking at me strangely—as if seeing me for the first time. “I wouldn’t do that at all—that’s…that’s like declaring martial law. That wouldn’t be right, if the werewolves ruled the entire town. Sure, we could argue that we only did it for their safety, but there wouldn’t be any free will.” His eyes narrowed. “Although you seem to be fine with the fact that you don’t have any.”
“I am happy to have a boyfriend who loves me so much that he’s willing to do anything to protect me,” I sniffed in response.
“So you’re fine with him lying to you and hurting you and—your own words—tearing your heart out?”
I opened my mouth, and then snapped it shut. We fumed at each other for a moment, and then I finally jumped up and wrapped my coat around me tighter. “You just don’t understand!” I shouted, and then stomped off down the beach.
Would’ve had an ending with more closure, but there is only so much I can do from Bella’s POV. I felt dirty trying to write her IC in terms of canon. *bathes*
Naturally, none of that happens. Bella’s line zings Jacob into silence and he can only retort with a petulant “well, he’s a lying liar who lies so there” comment so Bella can zing him again. Then Jacob asks himself “What Would Sam Do?”, takes a biiiiiig drag off of the werewolf doobie, and asks what went down in Italy and he’s being a pretty big douche about it all. However, Bella would rather spend time with the douche then face Wardo and Alice for her misbehavior, so she stays. She also mentions that she follows him “automatically” when he walks down the beach, which is so, so, SO telling, don’t you think?
Anyway, they sit down on the driftwood that always comes up in this story and Bella starts in on her story. She starts by telling Jacob that Alice can’t See werewolves, and he gets totally pumped up. Bella Mary Sue Death Glares him back into submission and then gives him a very short version of what went down. It’s summed up in two sentences. Then Bella turns the spotlight to Jacob and asks what went down while she was in Florida. Jacob explains that they were running after Victoria’s fresh trail and that the Cullens started hunting her too when she crossed into their territory, and that Emmett tried to jump her, but speed isn’t his thing, mostly strength, and she dodged and Emmett wound up almost tackling Paul instead. Everybody got bitchy after that and let Victoria caper and prance away and Carlisle had to get all compassionate and Jasper passed around his bong to get everybody mellow again. As he tells this story, Jacob is all down on vampires and Bella is consistently insisting that they have names—you know, that thing she never does around Wardo—or any of the vampires, actually—when they’re calling the werewolves dogs.
So, they get quiet for a moment, and then Jacob starts needling that he wishes the vampires never would’ve returned and how nothing would’ve changed if Bella hadn’t decided to be a complete IDIOT and cliff dive alone. Bella’s heart goes into tachycardia again at the mere THOUGHT of no vampires in Forks. She asserts that Wardo would’ve returned anyway, and Jacob immediately gets bitchy about it. Then he abruptly changes the subject and says that Sam is rather put out with Bella and that he is “betrayed that [she] would just let them back into [her] life like they never hurt [her]”. It’s a good point, but badly executed. Bella gets extremely huffy, and Jacob decides that he needs to beat that goddamned horrible magnet symbology by pointing out an eagle catching a fish and saying that prey don’t fornicate with predator. Bella says that maybe the fish does try, because “eagles are good-looking birds”, which leads Jacob to being immediately awesome by insinuating that Bella is only hot for Wardo because he’s got good looks and a lot of money.
THANK YOU, JACOB. I was beginning to think that lolfans and Twihaters were the only ones who noticed.
Bella has an epic flounce and tries to, well, flounce, and Jacob says he seriously doesn’t understand their relationship. So she spouts this.
"I love him. Not because he's beautiful or because he's rich!" I spat the word at Jacob. "I'd much rather he weren't either one. It would even out the gap between us just a little bit—because he'd still be the most loving and unselfish and brilliant and decent person I've ever met. Of course I love him. How hard is that to understand?"
If that were true, Bella, you would’ve fallen madly in love with him AFTER you knew about his personality. You knew next to nothing about him except that he was gorgeous, he was rich, and that he was a vampire before you decided you wanted to tap that. And we wouldn’t hear nearly as much nonsense about how hot he is.
Face it, bitch—your relationship is as deep and as meaningful as a thimbleful of maple syrup.
And don’t get me started on that “decent” crap. I mean it. DO NOT GET ME STARTED.
Jacob says it still doesn’t make sense, and Bella is all nasty about it. Jacob says that they need to be the same species, so Bella decides now would be a good time to bring up the fact that Jacob is no longer human. While I am happy that somebody pointed out the flaw in Jacob’s logic, that is a hit below the belt. I’m not sure who I want to root for in this scene. Anyway, the scene continues with a lot of non-logic and Jacob trying to justify his existence while calling the vampires’ existence as going against nature, and it really makes no sense whatsoever, and the chapter ends with a very sappy paragraph about how Bella has to ease his pain (or go the distance, I’m not sure which) because his pain was hurting her, too, and she’s all about easing his pain to ease up her own.
That sends us to the next chapter—and the title should set off all sorts of warning bells for those in the know.
Chapter 5 – Imprint
‘Kay. This is one of two chapters I’ve been… “looking forward to” for a while now. Let’s hope I can do them justice.
So, Bella then decides that, in order to maintain that façade of unselfishness she has, she asks if Jacob is any better—remember, Charlie said he was depressed. Jacob evades the question and then sits at Bella’s feet like a good dog. Bella then asks about everybody else, including Quil—turns out he popped, and he agrees with me—he’s extremely happy about it and thinks it’s awesome. Why everybody said it was bad is beyond me—why Jacob still thinks it’s bad is also beyond me. All he ever does is talk about the advantages, after all. However, this all prompts Bella to then ask exactly what Sam’s deal is—remember, he didn’t have anybody else. He was the first werewolf to pop. And if you guessed this is going to be another potentially awesome story that Meyer whizzes straight down her leg…then you finally understand the general tenor of these books. No prizes, man. If I gave out a prize for every whizzed idea, we’d all be winners.
Jacob says that it’s “a long story”, and Bella says she’s totally up for it, seeing as she’s “not in any hurry to get back” while thinking of the vicious spanking Wardo will more than likely give her (do you have any idea how creepy that relationship sounds? Either Wardo is a controlling, domineering bastard who doesn’t want his girlfriend to do anything without his explicit permission, or this is totally a pseudo-incestuous father/daughter love affair. And I’m starting to lean towards the latter, what with Wardo being a hundred and Bella being in her teens). Jacob picks up on her obvious irradiation, and the following exchange happens:
He looked up at me swiftly, hearing the double edge in my words. "Will he be mad at you?"
"Yes," I admitted. "He really hates it when I do things he considers… risky."
"Like hanging out with werewolves."
Okay, Jacob. Now, the logical thing to say here would be to say that Wardo is totally lying about when he said that doesn’t want Bella to see you because you’re dangerous, seeing as New Moon proved he thinks hanging out with vampires is ALSO dangerous, but has absolutely no problems with that (and in fact encourages it).
Naturally, that doesn’t happen. He merely suggests that she not go back, and when Bella says Wardo would naturally invade Quileute territory to fetch her, Jacob implies he would really love that. And, just as we suspected, she pitches a fit at him for thinking such things about her True Love, even after she didn’t say a word when Wardo implied he’d either kill or seriously harm Jacob. When Wardo did it, it was literary. Jacob’s just being an antagonistic knob.
Anyway, Bella decides now is a good time to spout an obvious lie about Wardo—I’m including Jacob’s reply, because it’s totally awesome.
"Is he ready to kill me?" Jacob asked with a grim smile, unconcerned by my anger.
"Not like you seem to be!" I realized I was yelling. "At least he can be a grown-up about this. He knows that hurting you would hurt me—and so he never would. You don't seem to care about that at all!"
"Yeah, right," Jacob muttered. "I'm sure he's quite the pacifist."
Time for a little list, I think.
- Oh, yeah, Bella. We’re gonna see just how “grown-up” he is about this whole scenario later. I’m gonna bring that back up when it happens.
- Yes, hurting Jacob would hurt you, so he doesn’t do it—but keeping you away from Jacob also hurts you, and yet he has absolutely no problems with that, I note.
- And then Bella rounds the whole thing off by basically shouting, “YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT ME WAH!!!” I just…really get an old school Veruca Salt vibe off of this chick. The new one is too charming to be Bella.
- Jacob pwned you, girlie-girl.
Anyway, seeing as Jacob worked her right into a hole, her reaction is to yell “Ugh!” just to piss me off and throw a gigantic hissy complete with epic pout and Silent Treatment. Seriously—this is pretty disgusting sulking, and it’s obvious that the only reason she’s doing it is because Bella (and probably Meyer) couldn’t think of anything to say to counter Jacob calling her out on her bullshit.
So, after a few minutes, Jacob can’t stand it anymore and starts pleading and pawing. He manages to tempt her back out of her bratty shell with Sam’s story and, as I said before, it is a story that could’ve been interesting, but Meyer totally pissed it down her leg for reasons I shall explain later. Sam apparently had no one in his family around who knew the old legends and thus would be able to recognize the signs of Sam on the edge of impending poppage. When he finally did, he stayed a wolf for two weeks because he thought he’d gone completely crazy and couldn’t calm down. Then we hear that one of the people searching for Sam during his involuntary wolfage was Leah Clearwater, daughter of Harry Clearwater, who was killed off for very little reason—but it’s okay, we had no emotional attachment to him anyway. Bella certainly didn’t. Bringing up Leah also reveals that she was Sam’s original Intended. Bella’s thoughts on this?
I supposed it was silly for me to imagine that Sam had never loved anyone before Emily. Most people fall in and out of love many times in their lives. It was just that I'd seen Sam with Emily, and I couldn't imagine him with someone else. The way he looked at her… well, it reminded me of a look I'd seen sometimes in Edward's eyes—when he was looking at me.
So, basically, Bella, what you’re telling me is that all relationships are now measured in comparison to your own? Yours being the deepest and most romantic and most perfect and truest of true?
Again—any of you think that about your own relationship, get out. I’ll not have you on my LJ, getting your snobby attitude all over my webspace.
Jacob continues with his story, saying that they finally found out what happened to Sam when Old Quil, who is old enough to remember the werewolves, shook Sam’s hand during a random visit and felt how hot he was, and I guess that was enough for them to figure it out (which is kinda lame, but oh, well—at least it’s something, which is more than we usually get for explainations around here). The elders quickly explained to Sam what was happening, and then he basically sat back and waited for everybody else to start popping. Jacob gets in a jab at the Cullens, bringing up the fact that it is their fault the werewolves exist in the first place, and Bella immediately leaps to their defense. They fuss at each other about forgiveness and such, and then Jacob calls her a “[saint] and [a martyr]”. Martyr, I buy—self-inflicted, anyway. Saint, not so much. Anyway, Bella tells him to “grow up” and he replies that he “[wishes he] could”.
Oopsie! Turns out Jacob isn’t aging anymore. And…Bella’s reaction is a thing of beauty.
I felt blood flood my face. Tears—tears of rage—filled my eyes. My teeth mashed together with an audible grinding sound.
"Bella? What did I say?"
I was on my feet again, my hands balled up into fists, my whole frame shaking.
"You. Are. Not. Aging," I growled through my teeth.
Jacob tugged my arm gently, trying to make me sit. "None of us are. What's wrong with you?"
"Am I the only one who has to get old? I get older every stinking day!" I nearly shrieked, throwing my hands in the air. Some little part of me recognized that I was throwing a Charlie-esque fit, but that rational part was greatly overshadowed by the irrational part. "Damnit! What kind of world is this? Where’s the justice?"
"Take it easy, Bella."
"Shut up, Jacob. Just shut up! This is so unfair!"
"Did you seriously just stamp your foot? I thought girls only did that on TV."
I growled unimpressively.
Oh, wait. Did I say “thing of beauty”? I meant “something that drives me into Paul-esque fits of rage”. Particularly that bit about her saying that this bratty temper-tantrum is something only Charlie would do, but certainly not her.
So, Jacob tells her to sit her ass back down, because he can eventually control himself and stop phasing. That starts the ageing process back up. Then he brings up the fact that the werewolf transformation also made him physically about twenty-six years old. Man, don’t tell Bella that, Jacob—she’ll find you repulsive. I mean, she thinks twenty alone makes you a shriveled old hag who probably needs to be put down.
Anyway. Back to story time. Bella asks why Sam appears to not be totally enthused about being a werewolf, because, hey, now Bella can TOTALLY see why it’s the most appealing thing in the world—they’re essentially immortal! I mean, she went from not understanding why Quil would think being a werewolf is awesome to wondering why Sam thinks it’s terrible in five seconds flat.
Jacob proceeds to explain why Sam is unhappy with another story. When Sam knew what was happening, he went back to Leah. However, as we already know, they can’t tell anybody about the secret. He risked her life by visiting her, just like when Jacob was sneaking in to see Bella, and while Leah was angry that Sam wouldn’t tell her where he’d gone, they were trying to work it out. And Meyer was once again setting up what could’ve been a totally awesome storyline, something similar to what she wanted to achieve with Wardo and Bella but totally didn’t manage, and she fucks it all up with one single word.
Turns out that the Emily we all know and hate is Leah’s cousin. Sam got one look at her and WHAMMO—he imprinted on her. That means Emily was his soul mate and there was nothing anybody could do about it. And so, that’s why Sam hates vampires so much—because of them, he turned into a werewolf and thus imprinted on Emily and broke Leah’s heart. Then Bella asks a valid question.
"How did Emily deal with this? If she was so close to Leah…?" Sam and Emily were utterly right together, two puzzle pieces, shaped for each other exactly. Still… how had Emily gotten past the fact that he'd belonged to someone else? Her sister, almost.
"She was real angry, in the beginning. But it's hard to resist that level of commitment and adoration." Jacob sighed. "And then, Sam could tell her everything. There are no rules that can bind you when you find your other half…"
Actually, it’s really not that hard at all. It’s called a “restraining order”. You can acquire them easily these days, since so many people seem to think that stalking is a perfectly normal and acceptable form of affection *coughWardoandBellacough*.
Anyway—this story gets even better when we learn that Emily got mauled by Sam before they were together, and that the incident is actually what brought them together. Because, after Sam tore her up, she immediately started comforting him.
So, basically, she did say, “I’m sorry I made you hit me, Sam.”
Seriously. Them suddenly getting together over the fact that Sam mauled her is just sick. I guess Emily is a serious sub and really gets off on pain, and finding out that Sam pulls that sort of thing sometimes just warmed the cockles of her heart.
We learn that Leah is trying to take this with as much grace as possible and is actually going to be a bridesmaid in their wedding.
ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? EMILY ASKED LEAH TO BE HER BRIDESMAID?
Then we find out that Sam isn’t the only one who imprinted—Jared did, too, on a girl he’d previously ignored who sat next to him in school. Turns out she had a huge crush on him and was just thrilled when all of the sudden he declared her his soul mate.
*waves hands frantically* OKAY. OKAY. I was going to save this discussion for the end, but my GOD, I can’t hold back any longer.
First, I shall state the obvious.
On the surface, Imprinting is just Meyer being a typical Suethor. Notice that, in Suefics—particularly those by young, inexperienced authors—every single person is invariably paired up with somebody else. This counts for het and slash, I might add. In bad het, everybody is paired off man/woman. In slash, everybody in the world is gay and they pair off respectively. Even the evil character sometimes gets a soul mate of some form—they are either just as evil as s/he is, or they are redeemed and get right back into a relationship with one of the good guys immediately. However, lack of a soul mate is also used to punish and/or ostracize the characters that the Suethor deliberately writes as bitchy or evil or even just annoying. Everybody else gets a soul mate or a girlfriend or a boyfriend—bad guys and Scary Sues get nothing, which invariably makes them even badder/more Scary because they are jealous of the other characters having an SO. It’s just what Suethors do. Everybody needs to be paired up somehow, and even if they aren’t, they WANT to be. And this is only being taken to the logical extreme when paired with her Mormonism, wherein getting married and churning out the babies is the end-all-be-all of everyone’s existence.
Digging a little deeper, we can see that it is also Meyer being a lazy Suethor. Okay, so in her strange, warped little mind, everybody has to have some kind of girlfriend or boyfriend or soul mate or intended or whatever. But she has quite a few characters here, and unlike in fanfiction, she can’t just go with the canon couplings. No, no, she has to invent her own. And New Moon introduced a whole slew of new good-guy characters that just HAVE to be paired off. But why on earth would Meyer want to spend time developing said characters, and writing an actual romance? I mean, come on—the Epic Romance of the book didn’t get any development—you really think some side characters are going to get any? So, she resorted to Imprinting—instantaneous, True and Epic, and absolutely none of that annoying development to take time up that could be used focusing on Bella and her either snuggling with Wardo or stringing Jacob along.
Continuing along our little trek to the center of this strange little ball
- Wardo talks about how he’s waited for over a hundred years just for Bella, implying that they were destined.
- Alice didn’t meet Jasper in a conventional way—she Saw herself with him, somehow Saw herself in love with him, and, even though it’s emphasized how her visions are not always spot-on, she immediately started loving Jasper strictly because she had a vision that said she did—and this was before she’d even met him (not to mention that, if stoney321’s analysis about how Mormonism says you picked your wife/husband in another life and now it’s your job to find them, Alice foreseeing Jasper as her One True Love and then setting out to find him…don’t think I need to exposit anymore on that).
- Many of the other couples in the story that are human only got together because Bella suggested they get that way.
- She may say it’s rare, but later on we see a whole lot of the werewolves imprinting.
On top of all this, there is the problem that all of the relationships pretty much break down into categories:
- Soulmates that we see get together
- Soulmates that were already together when we meet them
- Matchmaker relationships that turn into soulmates
- Shallow, fruitless relationships
And if one of the soulmate relationships is broken up in any way, the remaining “half”, so to speak, never moves on (i.e., Charlie, Marcus, Bella and Edward temporarily).
Can’t somebody just be in love? Why does it have to be soulmates? Can’t we have two people with common interests and similar tastes and senses of humor get together, be friends, and then decide to make a go of it? Why does it all have to be just this instantaneous Pure and Awesome thing that everybody else aspires to have?
Anyway—we’d better keep digging. Now we hit the first real issue with this idea of Instant One True Love Match that can’t be chalked up to bad writing or religious beliefs. Okay, so, werewolves Imprint. They find their soulmates and True Loves, and it’s all just lovely. Just one problem with that, introduced in this chapter.
Werewolves don’t age.
And these werewolves won’t be aging any time soon, either, because the Cullens are going to stick around. And it apparently takes a very long time to master yourself enough to stop wolfing out and settle back into human form and continue the aging process (and brings up the question that, if they start aging, do the wolf tendencies stop altogether, or is there a chance they could wolf out again and thus stop aging again?). The people these werewolves Imprint on are all human (we won’t discuss Jacob at this time).
Yeah. Humans age.
So…what happens when the werewolf’s True Love Soulmate dies of old age? Do they Imprint again? Do they live forever in mourning? The person they imprint on becomes the center of their world, Jacob says—do they just die to? Or do they just develop a Goddamned Hole™? Come on, throw us a bone here, Meyer.
And, finally—we’ve hit the core. And rest assured, it is rotten.
First, a couple of definitions, taken from Wikipedia (yes, I know I should probably use a more certified site, but, hey—looking it up on Wiki is ten times more research than Meyer did on all four books combined, so I should get a few brownie points, eh?).
Sexual imprinting is the process by which a young animal learns the characteristics of a desirable mate. For example, male zebra finches appear to prefer mates with the appearance of the female bird that rears them, rather than mates of their own type (Immelmann, 1972). The famous psychologist John Money called it the lovemap.
A lovemap is a concept originated by John Money to assist a discussion of why people like what they enjoy sexually and erotically. According to Money, it is "a developmental representation or template in the mind and in the brain depicting the idealized lover and the idealized program of sexual and erotic activity projected in imagery or actually engaged in with that lover."
A lovemap can be shaped by both positive and negative factors, things that attract or repel the person whose erotic tastes are being mapped. For reasons that are not always easy to understand, one person may be attracted to people of a particular gender, with a particular physical characteristic, with particular personality traits, and so forth. One may also find certain characteristics so threatening or objectionable that it strongly mitigates against an erotic attraction being manifested.
A lovemap can be shaped by environmental factors that facilitate the formation of an erotic bond, or that enhance or diminish erotic response. For instance, some people may bond strongly to people with whom they share a crisis situation. Some people may find their erotic responses muted in the presence of intimidating environmental factors (observant elders or nosy neighbors, for instance).
Everybody got that?
Now, allow me to spin you a scenario.
You have a huge crush on a guy. You’ve mooned over him for months now, drawing little hearts on your scrap paper and thinking he’s got the dreamiest eyes ever. However, he never really looks twice at you—doesn’t really know you at all, and you don’t have the courage to approach him. So, you sit in silence and wonder what kissing him would be like.
One day, out of the blue, this guy suddenly devotes EVERY SINGLE BIT of his attention to you. It’s quite clear that he’s head-over-heels in love with you—I mean, IN LOVE. He’s willing to do anything for you now. At first, you may think he may have been suffering from the same thing you were—attraction from afar, and all that. Then you’d find out the real reason—he didn’t fall in love with you because you are charming or attractive or because he genuinely liked you as a person or anything like that. No, he Imprinted on you—and it turns out he’s a werewolf and regularly turns into a huge, vicious monster. You can’t tell anyone—not even your own family. It also turns out that he turns into said monster every night and hunts vampires. Oh, right, they exist, too, btw. And you can’t tell anyone about that, either.
It is further explained to you that, because this guy Imprinted on you, it means you are his soulmate—his True Love. You are his world and his universe. And, if we take the definitions up there into consideration, it also means that you are his chosen mate. He Imprinted on you because you are sexually the best way to keep the werewolf bloodline strong. And if you refuse his advances, you are:
A) Dooming that particular werewolf bloodline from continuing, because the werewolf that Imprinted on you will not associate with any other female.
B) Dooming the werewolf to a lifetime of misery because it will kill his soul if you refuse him.
C) probably dooming yourself to a lifetime of having him chase after you and spend all of his time trying to get you to love him, because it is later established that it is basically impossible for an Imprinted werewolf to keep his distance from the Imprintee
And, even after you take all of that into consideration, there is yet another fact: The entire tribe and pack now pretty much expect you to settle down with the werewolf and be his chosen mate and start churning out puppies.
Now let’s mix that story up a bit. This one’ll be a bit shorter.
Your—let’s say sister has been with her boyfriend for four years now. They’re very serious, and definitely going to get married. They love each other dearly. One day, you come over, and her boyfriend, out of nowhere, declares you to be his True Love. He pretty much ignores your sister and spends all of his time and energy on you. Your sister is obviously crushed and hurt beyond measure, and her boyfriend…pretty much doesn’t care. I mean, he says he feels bad, but really, only you matter to him.
Short stories, yes—but they illustrate my points very clearly, I think.
Jacob says the girls in question have a choice. They don’t have to get together with the werewolf that Imprinted on them. But they will always have this on their minds:
- The pack expects her to mate with the werewolf.
- The tribe expects her to mate with the werewolf.
- The werewolf expects her to mate with the werewolf.
Every single person involved is expecting her to bow to the will of the Imprinting. Because, ultimately, Imprinting is to keep the werewolf gene going—to keep it as strong as possible. And if she refuses his attentions, everybody will probably constantly remind her of the fact that she just caused one of the werewolf lines to be a dead end. And then there’s the guy who Imprinted—she rules his universe. He does nothing but think of her, does nothing but want to spend time with her, values her more than anything in the world including friends and family and even himself. She gets to live out her entire life knowing that there is a guy out there right now doing absolutely nothing but obsessing over her—and he will never, ever stop.
And what about the girl who liked the boy who Imprinted on her? Think about that—he doesn’t like her because she’s pretty. He doesn’t like her because she’s got a good personality. He doesn’t like her because they got to know each other. He doesn’t like her for any reason other than the fact that some part of him knows that in her ovaries are the eggs that will make big strong werewolf puppies. And even better—he likes her because he was forced to. That is the only reason he pays attention to her now—because something in his genetics stripped him of any free will to choose what girl he likes and made him choose her. Maybe they would’ve gotten together naturally, but I doubt somebody would take that and conclude that they got together because they were destined in some way. Guaranteed, the conclusion would be that the only way for somebody to like her is to force them—to strip them of choice and force them to like her. She can’t get a guy any other way. And so, should she get into this sick, one-sided relationship, she’ll have to spend the rest of her life wondering if he loves her for her, or only because he has to—that if one day he suddenly un-Imprinted, that he wouldn’t care about her at all any more.
And it can be disguised as True Love all it wants—it’s clearly not. It’s purely sexual. One can argue that all love is that way, strictly an urge to keep the species going, but this one is much more sinister—normal human beings can choose not to have children and use some form of birth control to prevent just that. Not the women who are Imprinted upon. They are expected to have children. They are expected to marry the one who Imprinted on them and they are expected to bear his werewolf children and keep that gene going. The werewolf who Imprinted on you, once he can legally do it, will do nothing but fondle you and devote all of his attention to you and sex you up at every available turn.
And, as he will stay younger much longer than you will, he’s got plenty of healthy sperm and less downtime between orgasms to accomplish just that.
To tie up this foul and disgusting little package, you know what Imprinting reminds me of?
The story of Merope Gaunt and Tom Riddle, Sr. Of effective rape.
I’ll let you mull that over while I get back to recapping.
Oh, and I know I stopped short of discussing the most disturbing implications of Imprinting, but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish, and I’m saving that up for when I get there.
Where were we, anyway? Oh, yes. Bella and Jacob are still on the beach.
Through a random topic in their conversation, we wind up back on the fact that the werewolves hear each others’ thoughts and how they have no secrets. Again, this is played up as angstful and charactery, but we never, ever see it, not even when we get a whole who knows how many pages of it in Breaking Dawn. Then we hear again that Bella considers vampires indestructible but werewolves are just complete losers. And, through another conversation, Bella brings up the fact that Wardo can’t hear her thoughts.
That was all useful. So they lapse back into silence, and we get a completely random description of the beach as the sun comes out from behind the clouds. They share stuff about the past, including the night Jacob popped, and Jacob mentions that he misses humanity. Bella, of course, has absolutely no sympathy towards that because she doesn’t want to be human. And, because she doesn’t have sympathy for him, we’re expected to not have any as well. So, Bella immediately changes the subject to something she’d rather talk about—Wardo! She demands to know what Jacob was thinking in chapter three when he zapped Wardo with his thoughts and made him pitch a fit. Jacob informs her that he was thinking about Bella in her Goddamned Hole™ stage. Bella shrieks like a harpy at him for DARING to hurt Wardo in any way (keep that in mind, folks), and Jacob tells her to take a chill pill. She sulks and throws another hissy until she gets her way again, but then declares that she needs to leave. Jacob’s turn to pout, but she says she’s got to get back to Angela’s. We get this…
"I'll come back the next time he's away," I promised impulsively.
"Away?" Jacob rolled his eyes. "That's a nice way to describe what he's doing. Disgusting parasites."
Again. Total Hairy Stu, but he’s ALWAYS spot on. And, naturally, as a Mary Sue, Bella spectacularly misses the point every time. She throws another hissy and demands that Jacob had just better kiss Wardo’s butt like everybody else does, and says she doesn’t care about who is what species (oh, yeah RIGHT, Bella, we all know you think vampires are wholly superior to any and all species, you goddamned bigot), and the chapter ends with Bella agreeing to come back as soon as she can.
And I was going to do another chapter, but the Imprinting thing just wore me the hell out.
Paul Count: 1
See you in Chapter 6 – Switzerland.
Stinger: “"Did you seriously just stamp your foot? I thought girls only did that on TV."”
( Chapter 6 - Switzerland )