Home > Book Walkthroughs, Twilight > Anxiety (The Twiligh Walkthrough pg. 246-252)

Anxiety (The Twiligh Walkthrough pg. 246-252)

Bella is experiencing a good deal of anxiety the day before her big date with Edward. The only trouble is that she is experiencing it for all the wrong reasons. Normally, before a first date, some anxiety is quite normal. You can plan everything down to the last detail but still there is always the possibility that the restaurant you pick will be packed, the movie will be sold out, or that picnic in the park/forest will have to be put on hold because of rain. Then there are the self-conscious questioning about saying the right thing, doing the right thing, etc. It’s too bad that this is the cause of Bella’s anxiety and not the repeated remarks from Eddie about how he might murder her.

Alice and Edward have departed the lunch room and Edward tells her to keep safe. Bella replies, “safe in Forks-what a challenge.” Sarcastically because it’s a small enough town that keeping safe should be no challenge, this causes Edward to disagree, “for you it is a challenge.”

I agree as well. For her it is a challenge, not because she’s a trouble magnet or because of her alleged clumsiness but because she is willingly hanging out with someone who fears that he might lose control of himself and kill her. I know that at this point I’m being quite rote in repeated the fact but they keep bringing it’s a sticking point with the characters as well. Meyer seems to feel that we, the audience, are idiots who don’t get it. Yes, we get it, stop telling us that she is danger with him. It’s bad writing, but somewhat excusable for a first time novelist.

My biggest problem with this section and something that I have come to realize is my biggest issue with Bella is that the more she talks the more we realize how much of an idiot she really is, “tomorrow would be pivotal. Our relationship couldn’t continue to balance, as it did, on the point of a knife. We would fall off one edge or the other depending entirely upon his decisions or his instincts.”

The metaphor doesn’t really work here. I’m reminded of Walter Kurtz in Apocalypse Now,* “I saw a snail crawl along the edge of straight razor.” This one works because Kurtz is seeing the difficulty between what it will take to win the war but also the price that such a victory will mean. Bella’s point of the knife (although I’m certain that she means “edge” as well) doesn’t make sense because her relationship hangs on the will of Edward. She’s made her decision she’s going to ride it out till the end, it’s up to him.

Unlike Kurtz who sees victory and defeat in his snail we don’t know where this knife point is hanging. We can make some assumptions: one side is breaking up, the other is death. However those are assumptions, and since Bella doesn’t tell us we can never be sure. It’s false tension because nothing comes across as anything more than first-date jitters, but it should. It should be about blood lust and losing impulse control both for the vampire and the teen age girl but Bella doesn’t think about any of that. The worse thing for her is that she will get dumped.

In some ways that does make sense. It took forever for me to get over that first girl, and it’s quite normal for a teenager to think the world is going to end if they aren’t in a particular relationship. Yet, without knowing why it is that she is attracted to him, beyond his looks, it’s hard to even empathize with the devastation of a first heart break.

While we are on the subject of heart breaks, we get a nice little scene with Mike. His crush on Bella has not really abated even though he’s got Jessica on his arm. It makes him pathetic but not despicable. He’s just a really nice guy who got shot down by a girl and is now just trying to maintain some resemblance of friendship with her. She is, after all, part of his circle of friends. It’s really too bad that he hasn’t developed the cynicism yet to just cut his losses but if anyone is going to teach him that it will certainly be Bella.

It’s gym class, again** and Mike is asking about her trip to Seattle. Bella explains that she isn’t going anymore because of her car. “What are you doing, then?’ he asked, too interested.”

I don’t understand what “too interested” is supposed to mean here. If he all of the sudden smiled or betrayed some elation that she wasn’t going to Seattle that would be one thing. It would show that his crush is still going and that not going to Seattle means that they get to hang out. However, since everyone is going to the dance they still have to hang out with everyone. His interest seems to be about giving Bella something to do, which is nice but Bella reminds him that they are no longer playing in the same league and that he needs to back off her.

Mike makes a generous offer of having he come to the dance with everyone. He takes into account the fact that she doesn’t dance and won’t have a date since Bella’s lie is that Edward is going out of town. She rudely berates him for it, “Fine,’ he sulked again. ‘I was just offering.”

Bella is behaving quite unreasonably, especially to the first person that not only guided her on the first day of school but also introduced her to people. It’s important to remember that the only thing Mike did was ask her, since she had canceled her plans, to go to the dance with their friends. Of course he is sulking, she’s being a complete bitch about everything. It would be nice to be able to blame Edward for this but we can’t. This is truly who Bella is, and unfortunately this isn’t the type of person we should want to identify with.

At home she dispenses some quick lies to her father, lies that are “coming more naturally than usual.” I like the “than usual” part of that quote. It shows us something I doubt we were meant to see. It admits that Bella is a liar, just now she’s doing it better than she used to, it’s only too bad that she’s such an idiot. She tells her father that she’s not going to Seattle but that he shouldn’t cancel his plans because, “I’ve got a million things to do…homework, laundry…I need to go to the library and the grocery store.”

One thing that Bella and I have in common is that both of our fathers were cops. Being the child of a cop means that you learn to lie carefully because a cop is trained to detect bullshit. Which is too bad for Bella because two of these lies are going to require evidence in order for her not to get caught. If she claims that she is staying home to do laundry and then go to the store, she’s going to have to produce both clean clothes and groceries or she’s busted. Officer Swan may want to trust his daughter and have no suspicion that she is secretly dating the son of the local chief of medicine, but he may be concerned that she isn’t adjusting well to the small town of Forks when he comes back from fishing and sees no laundered clothes or new food in the fridge. He might show some special concern because Bella decides that in order to sleep she, “deliberately took unnecessary cold medicine–the kind that knocked me out for a good eight hours.”

If you were the chief, and your daughter said she was staying home to do laundry and the shopping but instead you find dirty clothes, an empty fridge, and missing cough syrup you might be thinking that it’s time to make a quick call to the suicide hotline…unless of course she’s just “robo-tripping.***”

Treating friends with scorn for being nice, wanton lying, dating a person who is a complete sociopath, and abusing over the counter medicine: remember that Bella is the girl that millions of fans idolize what a great role model you’ve given us Stephanie.

*If you can still find the original better movie, the Redux version is a good example of how more is less.

**I didn’t take gym class this much, I think at the most it was twice a week not everyday.

*** Or ‘tussin, I’ve heard it both ways referring to purposely ingesting large amounts of robotussin for the hallucinogenic experience. 

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