Home > Book Walkthroughs, Twilight > Instilling Fear (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 211-216)

Instilling Fear (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 211-216)

One of the easier things about writing this blog series is that the relationship between the two protagonists is a bad one. It’s not that the writing is bad, but that the characters themselves are. Especially Edward who after a century ought to know what he is doing, and the scary thing about him is that he probably does. I would contend that Edward was a predator before he was a vampire, maybe just a victim of his time who can’t help but treat women as beneath him. Or maybe it’s not women (since we have yet to see how he interacts with his sisters) but it’s a class thing. In either case this whole relationship is based on control.

Not say that Bella is any better. Far from being the strong intellectual type that she wishes us to think her as, she plays right into it hoping that she won’t do anything to anger him, and only rebuking him for minor issues, “You know I haven’t forgiven you for the Tyler thing yet.”

Still at lunch she abruptly changes the subject from the warnings that she is receiving from Edward. What I don’t understand is how she can blame Edward for Tyler assuming that the two are going to the prom. Tyler’s motivation is obvious, his actions are commendable in that light if not a little misplaced. Tyler, so far, is one of the most likable characters in the book because he still feels guilt over almost killing Bella. Bella is embarrassed by the guilt and somehow thinks that it is Eddie’s fault…which it sort of is since had he not saved Bella’s life she would not have to deal with it. Tyler doesn’t like Bella, at least not in that way, he just wants to atone for his actions. It isn’t Edward’s fault that he is a decent person and that isn’t something we can really say deserves forgiveness.

With the Girl’s Choice dance looming on the weekend, we still have Bella’s commitment to going to Seattle that day. I still question her motivation on this, she has nothing to lose by going. Everyone knows that she is clumsy but now that she has friends the only thing that she is going to miss is the first hand accounts of everything that her friends are going to be talking about on Monday. Not going does give her two things that she really wants. The first is time with Edward, which is only a recent development. The second is that the “lonely loner” in her is going to get the type of attention that she would only get by not going. She gets to seem doubly mysterious now that everyone is currently seeing the two eat together, by themselves, at lunch.

Several times she notices that everyone is staring at them. Edward doesn’t seem to care, but his failing to pick up on this not-so-good aspect of her personality reinforces my contention that he’s an idiot. He still thinks she’s going to Seattle because of her embarrassment, “Are you referring to the fact that you can’t walk across a flat, stable surface without finding something to trip over?”

We know that he’s exaggerating because she walked to his car, and then from class to class without doing anything close to that but she keeps the lie up. Telling him that he’s never seen her in gym. The two situations are completely different and the comparison fails. This is the fault of the writer who has thus far shown that she is quite capable of doing banter between the two. The problem is that she’s written Bella into another corner, and Meyer isn’t the best at getting out of them. Everyone but Edward knows she is lying, so why not just come out with it?

The only thing that Bella does accomplish is that she strikes a bargain with Edward that she will drive. Edward frowns because this will be missed opportunity to keep the fear going in her. She wants to drive for two reasons, “leaving my truck at home would just bring up the subject (with her father) unnecessarily. And also, because your driving frightens me.

She wants to keep the new boyfriend secret from her father, I can buy that. If that’s the case though, why did she leave her truck at home? I mentioned this two weeks ago, Forks is a small town and her father could very easily just swing home from work for lunch. If she was that concerned about him finding out* she would do better to hide it.

Edward makes a suggestion that they don’t go to Seattle, since Bella has no real reason to go there in the first place. Indeed, the only reason that she is claiming to go is that it is far enough away that people won’t expect her to make a trip and still go to the dance. It’s a bit observant but not for the right reason, “The weather will be nice, so I’ll be staying out of the public eye…and you can stay with me, if you’d like to,’ Again, he was leaving the choice up to me.”

Is really leaving the choice up to Bella? The whole idea of ditching the dance was hers in the first place. I don’t know if this was done to trick the reader or if Bella is just that desperate for his affection because she completely buys it. Not only that, but she also seems grateful for him to allow her to make the choice that she set up to begin with. This would be like cooking a burger for someone else and that person telling you that you could have one as well.

If they are still going to Seattle Edward gets worried because of the location, “I shudder to think of the trouble that you could find in a city that size.” He’s got a noticeable pattern, it’s normal banter, typical boy-girl stuff and then he inserts the danger back into the conversation. He needs to remind her that she isn’t safe, and only he can protect her–more evidence of his desire to subjugate Bella so that she will come to completely depend on him. Bella objects, and realistically as well, by reminding Edward that Phoenix was three times the population of Seattle and also larger in size as well.**

It’s a good objection. We don’t know anything about Bella’s life in Arizona, but we do know is that she got out unscathed. Edward reminding her that she’s a danger magnet isn’t borne out by the facts, it only serves his interests. Unflustered by the audacity of her retort he comes back with, “your number wasn’t up in Phoenix.

This is just creepy. The only way he could know that is if he is going to be dialing her number. I get that he likes to be the bad boy but comments like this put him passed that level and into the sociopath department. The chapter then gets worse as Edward explains that Bella ought to tell Charlie who he’s going with, why? “To give me some small incentive to bring you back.”

Ok, that’s not good. If no one knows where she’s going and with who Edward has no reason to return her? I thought he was the good kind of vampire. Even if he’s joking I fail to understand the humor, and the writing doesn’t bear this out either as Bella seems to be genuinely shocked by his comment. She changes the subject to his eating habit, probably out of fear for the two comments that imply he’s going to murder her.

This gets to a part of the lore that Meyer is establishing. The vampires in her world can feed off of animals. Edward prefers to eat mountain lion, while his brother Emmett prefers Grizzly Bear. See, the type of personality that they have apparently dictates what their favorite food will be. Mountain Lions feed off of deer, elk, and moose. Unlike their African relatives, the Puma (same animal many different names) attacks by ambush, leaping from trees on unsuspecting defenseless prey. The Grizzly attacks up front, but the Cougar slips in quietly waiting for the easy meal. Yeah I agree, the choice of food does match the personality of the vampire. It means that Edward is a d-bag.

Surprisingly Edward tops his previous statements to scare Bella. She reminds him that hunting is seasonal and that now isn’t the season. Edward comes back with an odd reading of the hunting laws saying that the laws only limit hunting with weapons. Somehow I doubt this is the case but she gets scared again but her curiosity gets her and she asks if she could witness them hunting. Shocked and angry he replies no. She can never come, not because it is frightening, in fact, “if that were it, I would take you out tonight,” he said his voice cutting. “You need a healthy dose of fear. Nothing could be more beneficial for you.”

The only reason she needs to be afraid is so she’ll need him more. It’s this type of threat that makes me want to weep when I see girls wearing “Team Edward” shirts at the mall.

__________________________
*Which aside from normal teenage girl reasons, doesn’t make sense. Her father, Charlie, has thus far only mentioned the Cullen family in a positive light. Even heaping admiration on Dr. Cullen for taking a job in such a small town when his talents could make him more money elsewhere. One might assume that a parent wouldn’t have a problem with their daughter dating the son of a doctor.

**Two things come up here which I am resisting. The first is to nitpick the shit out of her statement by looking up the size and population of the two cities but that would be stupid because Bella wouldn’t know it exactly. The second is to make an immigration joke (which I admittedly don’t have one handy) but I am going to resist the impulse and keep this blog away from partisan politics.

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