Home > Book Walkthroughs, Twilight > Daddy Issues (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 235-241)

Daddy Issues (The Twilight Walkthrough Pg. 235-241)

The Blacks have arrived at Bella’s door. This is just a friendly visit, an attempt to reunite Charlie Swan with Billie Black after the fight that was apparently much bigger then we were told. To recap the situation*, since it involves extrapolating the story from the report we were given, is that the Blacks are from the reservation and ever since the Dr. Cullen took residency at the hospital they have refused to get medical treatment. We know why Mr. Black has refused to let his family go to the hospital but what we don’t know is what he told Charlie.

Charlie if we remember stood up for the Cullens, and in particular Dr. Cullen, in the beginning of the book. Saying that they were decent people being shunned and gossiped about by xenophobic small town residents. The fact that the Blacks no longer go to the hospital because of him is what caused the fight. The problem for me is what Billy told Charlie. Jacob informed us that the whole legend surrounding the Cullens and the ancient Quileutes is supposed to be a secret not to be shared with the pale faces. Billy can’t just tell the Sheriff, “Oh we’re not going to the hospital anymore because the chief of medicine is a blood drinking vampire;” there has to be another reason he has given them.

What reason could he possible have given them. It’s clear that the Blacks used to go to the Hospital or else this wouldn’t be the type of conflict that would separate two people that were friends. They just abruptly stopped. The Sheriff obviously cares about the Blacks and doesn’t want to see them get into any trouble so Billy has to give him something. He could claim they joined one of those churches like the Followers of Christ in nearby Oregon which forbids medical treatment in lieu of faith healing** or something. Perhaps that was what the fight was about, that Billy wouldn’t spill the beans. Either way the Blacks are back.

Bella is afraid she’s going to be busted by Billy for dating Edward which she mysteriously thinks that her father shouldn’t know about. Which brings us, yet again, to the why this is the case. Not only does Charlie respect Dr. Cullen, he’s even risked the relationship with his best friend in Forks over him. Why the hell does she think she needs to keep the relationship a secret?

Well I have my theory, and it abounds with the familiarity that Bella expresses toward her father. Now being the child of divorced parents one might assume that Bella expresses the same familiarity with her mother that she does with her father. This however isn’t proven by the book we’ve read through so far. When Bella emails her mom after just moving to Forks she refers to her as “mom” even though she worries about her mother as though the authoritative situation was reversed her mom is still her mom. She doesn’t talk down to her nor does she ever really belittle her despite the fact that we’ve been told that she actually has problems.

On the other hand her father isn’t treated with the same respect. Almost exclusively she takes calls him by his name, and constantly dotes on him about dinner and shopping. This is all in spite of the fact that for many years he’s lived in Forks by himself without her and has managed to not starve to death. I’ve known people that have called their parents by their first name but it was done under certain circumstances one of which was when the one parent was not the biological parent. When Bella refers to her mom’s boyfriend as Phil it is understandable. The other circumstance is when the person is being defiant, calling a parent by their name is a way of attempting to level the playing field when words are being used.

In neither case is Bella doing this with her father. When Billy and Jacob enter the house Bella is afraid of Billy’s glance. Looking for an excuse to leave the room she asks the Blacks if they want some food when they refuse, “How about you Charlie’ I called over my shoulder as I fled around the corner.”

She then spends most of her time talking to Jacob about the Cullens while making her father dinner, it’s also unclear as to whether or not Bella eats herself, but that’s beside the point. I bring it all up because Bella doesn’t act like Charlie is her father, instead like his subordinate 1950s wife. She tries to be there for the homemaking and to act like that is all she ever aspires to. She hides ever facet of her life outside the house from him, she makes his meals, does the shopping, and when he has friends over she busies herself in the kitchen. She places herself in the situation of being his equal and taking care of him.

It isn’t until page 240 in the book that we first hear her address Charlie Swan as her father, “Dad!’ I groaned.” This is in response to his suggestion that she ask Mike to the dance. It gets repeated twice, which leads me to think that the author herself became suddenly conscious of the burgeoning Electra Complex.*** The two are living as a happy couple until the exact point where the topic of romantic love is brought in, and suddenly everything is snapped back into reality the way things ought to be…for a little bit anyway.

The Blacks have left by then, the game over and plans made for a weekend fishing trip, Charlie is for some reason gripped by an odd wave of emotion regarding his seemingly ignoring of his teenage daughter (which I am told is something that they want once in awhile). It’s a good scene only because it forces her back into the daughter role and out of the creepy pseudo-wife role, I should note that this completely on her end and he never reciprocates this relationship.

After worrying about her she tries to allay his fears, “Dad, you’re doing a great job”

It’s cute, because I’m sure after many years of living by himself he’s worried that he can’t raise his daughter full time. Having her for the summers all the previous years was just like long vacations for the two of them. The worry is nice but since this is Twilight we have to get back into creepy relationship mode, “I’ve never minded being alone–I’m too much like you.’ I winked at him, and he smiled his crinkly eyed smile.”

She winks at him like Sarah Palin to a crowd of Tea Party (People, Members, Partiers?) and she smiles back at him. The smile, that she used to justify why her mother fell in love with her father right out of high school. The difference between knowing that someone can be found attractive by someone else and actually finding them attractive is quite blurred here. While it should be the easiest relationship to write (since it is completely secondary to the story it can be pretty much left to the reader’s imagination) it’s made difficult by the unneeded controversies that Meyer puts in.

My problem with this section (other than rehashing long dead Freudian/Jungian psychology) is that it is entirely pointless. The drama of Billy Black possibly seeing Bella and Edward together comes to nothing more than a slight warning that Black gives to Bella, “You take care, Bella,’ he added seriously.” The banter between Jacob and Bella is only interesting because Bella expresses some very slight remorse over having manipulated him at the beach, but not because of his feelings rather how she would have to deal with it. The only thing we get out of the whole section is a revealing look into the odd and creepy relationship between Bella and her father.

________________________________
*For now we are leaving out all references to Vampires and Werewolves, surprisingly it doesn’t really matter right here.

**Which also caused the state of Oregon in 1999 to pass a special law due to the number of child deaths in which standard medical treatment, like a penicillin would have saved the life of Ava Worthington.

***Think “Oedipus Complex” only with the genders reversed. This term was rejected by Freud but endorsed by Carl Jung.

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