Home > Book Walkthroughs, reviews, Twilight > Doubt (Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 135-139)

Doubt (Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 135-139)

I wasn’t always an Atheist, my religiousness (religiosity?) could be considered Orthodox at one point, I was probably never so far that I could be considered fundamentalist, but since this is subjective memory ten years after the fact it’s really hard to tell. I do remember one day sitting in my parent’s house and a thought hit me, it hit me so hard I literally had to leave the house to work it out in my head.* Which brings me to today’s section which I feel is the most honest selection from the book so far, it’s also an example of the great writing that Meyer is capable of which makes me lament that it’s only four pages and inconsistent within as well. I mentioned in the first post that I would give credit where it’s due, that I wasn’t one of those people opposed to the book on some misguided principle. This is a good section in concept with some flaws in execution but so far it is easily my favorite.

Bella has finished doing her vampire research and has apparently come to the conclusion that Edward is a vampire. Frustrated (or something) she turns off the computer to sort out her thoughts and flees into the forest of Washington. Why? Because she’s angry and what she’s doing, “Through my irritation, I felt overwhelming embarrassment. It was all so stupid I was sitting in my room, researching vampires.

This is the most honest she’s been so far. She’s told us how smart she is then proceeded to act entirely contrary to that assertion. Yes, this is stupid. A kid, whom she knew from back when, told her a vampire story, she completely bought it and now she realizes that maybe this isn’t the most rational response. The best part of this is that she’s embarrassed for herself without any other prying eyes or social atmosphere. All alone she begins to come to the realization that Edward could just be a normal person because certainly vampires do not really exist.

She retreats into the forest along a trail because, “my sense of direction was hopeless.”

Sigh, yet another example of her telling us how useless and helpless she really is. It’s frustrating to read sentences like this especially now when she is actually asserting that intelligence we’ve been expecting but never experiencing. Meyer, does a good job describing the setting. She’s either been in the Northwest forest or really done her research here because for a person who has spent some time among the trees her words really put me there. Anyone who has followed foot paths through the woods knows that Meyer has it pefectly. An example, “The trail wound deeper and deeper into the forest, mostly East as far as I could tell. It snaked around the Sitka spruces and the hemlocks, the yews and the maples.

All that’s really missing is Bella stumbling over fallen branches and tree roots.

Sitting down on a fallen timber, careful to keep her raincoat to cover her butt from the wet wood she contemplates the recent knowledge, “I forced myself to focus on the two most vital-questions I had to answer, but I did so unwillingly. First, I had to decide if it was possible that what Jacob had said about the Cullens could be true.

As an atheist I criticize religion and religious people for many things. One thing that I don’t dare touch are passages like this, the struggle with doubt. Reading those visceral confrontations that are entirely internal are fascinating because they try to communicate that “a ha” moment by describing the incredible doubt as it clashes with a wholly new realization. The personal reflections of C.S. Lewis or Augustine and their conversions are amazing. The struggle between the worldview that once was versus what it is going to be is what Bella is going through right now. I can’t think of one example of secular writing that comes close to those two men.

Bella explains that Jacob’s story is completely absurd and silly. This is all true, the idea that the kid she has a crush is much much older than he appears, and that their father whom she saw at the hospital is centuries old…that’s simply foolish. She almost gets there too, I would have liked it more if she questioned whether she was following the evidence or merely indulging in wishful thinking but that’s nit picky. I don’t know how this scene could be filmed as internal struggles are the hardest to make known on celluloid.

As she struggles with faith versus reason, reason almost wins but then she comes to a completely erroneous conclusion, “There was no rational explanation for how I was alive at the moment.

Well, Bella, the fact is that there is a completely rational explanation. It’s tough to make this criticism because we know that in the long run she is right. Her perception of the accident was factual, but the important thing is that she can’t know that. The simple explanation is that she was wrong about where Edward was standing. The evidence for this is that no one else in the parking lot, who witnessed the whole thing, noticed the incredible speed that she posits must have occurred for her to be alive. It’s unreasonable for her to hold on to her theory with the grip of a zealot in light of this fact. Especially in this scene where she’s supposedly going through her own personal Cartesian doubt experiment.

She takes a breath and then lists the properties of Edward so far: the speed, strength, shifting eye color. All purely subjective to her and perhaps that is the whole point of her feigned superior intelligence in the beginning of the book. Although I feel that it is wrong because no one else notices any of this, maybe her intelligence is the reason that only she does. It’s a stretch but I’m trying to help out the author here because I like the section so much. Also with the deftness of a Creationist trying to shoehorn science into supporting their view she brings up other evidence that also supports the “Vampire hypothesis.”

One by one here they are:
1: “Along with never eating,” this is mentioned several times. It is odd, especially for the Cullens. Why don’t they bring empty plastic bins. In my high school you could have skipped the lunch room for the library or claim some odd religious/health dietary restriction that compel them to not eat at school. The Cullens are just stupid for this, which does bring us to the question of why they are in high school to begin with.

2: “the disturbing grace with which they moved.”
Other than the stark attractiveness of the group this isn’t really mentioned, and nothing in the vampire literature/cinema portrays this, I don’t think it proves anything.

3: “And the way he sometimes spoke, with unfamiliar cadences and phrases that better fit the style of a turn-of-the-century novel that that of a twenty-first-century classroom.” My biggest problem here is that there has been no evidence of this, this is the fault of the writer. Meyer hasn’t given us any of this 19th century dialogue to bring it up is just cheating the audience.

4: “He skipped class the day we’d done blood typing.” So? He skipped class, and said that it was good to do so once in awhile. This is hindsight evidence and wouldn’t hold up in court at all.

5: “He hadn’t said no to the beach trip till he heard where we were going…” Actually, no this isn’t the case at all. He said that he wasn’t invited and Mike certainly hadn’t done so. Bella invited him, but Edward explained that he probably wouldn’t be welcome because Mike didn’t like him. False evidence.
Therefore: “Whether it be Jacob’s cold ones or my own super hero theory, Edward Cullen was not…human.” The conclusion falls apart, she can’t know this and her theory isn’t worth entertaining. It only enlightens us that the book was written during the influx of superhero movies in the early millennium.

Accepting the conclusion she now has to realize what to do with it. Leaving Edward crosses her mind but she decides against it. Because she loves him? No. But because even if he is a monster, “he’d done nothing to hurt me so far.” Good idea, and the words of every potential victim. It’s true with a caveat, he’d done nothing to hurt her physically although he has threatened her and forced his will on her, but it’s not physical so I guess we’re ok.

“Now that I knew–if I knew–I could do nothing about my frightening secret. Because when I thought of him, of his voice, his hypnotic eyes, the magnetic force of his personality, I wanted nothing more than to be with him right now.” It should probably read “right then” but this is again the most honest we’ve seen Bella. It’s not about the excuse of him not hurting her, she’s willing to overlook all of her objections because of her infatuation. It’s honest, and at least in honesty she’s sympathetic. To bad given who Edward is, that delusion is going to be trouble.

*The thought (which I know I have to mention) was what one does to stay interested during infinity. I reasoned that life is tolerable in a way, because we know it ends, but afterlife does not. It still shakes me once in awhile.

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