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Nihilism (The New Moon Walkthrough Pg. 180-200)

September 27, 2011 2 comments

After last week’s break on Monday, I really meant to write this up on Wednesday. Truly I did but this section, which consists of an entire chapter, is so pointless so utterly void of anything that happens that cutting it out wouldn’t have made much of a difference in the story.

Now, I say, much of a difference because the only thing that really occurs is that Bella “learns” to ride her motorcycle. Which is amusing in a couple of ways, but none of them intentional. The first amusing thing is that Bella seems to get the balancing part right away. I’ve never ridden a motorcycle, a bicycle yes, but not a motorcycle–so if someone that has done both were to say to me, “you can’t quibble that point it’s the same principle. Once you get going the balancing takes care of itself.” I would concede to their relative expertise on the subject.

However, Bella has repeatedly told us from the start of the first book that she has balance issues. Remember Gym class when she couldn’t hit the shuttlecock in badminton without falling over and hitting herself and Mike in the face in one swoop? So in order for her to ride a motorcycle, she would have to retroactively not have this problem. She couldn’t have gotten over it, because she hasn’t been riding a bike. She couldn’t be able to ride a bike as a child because of the aforementioned balance issues that she has told us about, and that the infallible Edward has told us about as well. Yet she has no problem riding the bike.

That she falls over while riding it has nothing to do with the balance issues. She falls over because she hit the break too hard on one occasion and the wrong break on the other. What we have here is an egregious consistency error, at best. At worst it’s a case of deus ex machina. I doubt it’s an error, because the clumsiness aspect of Bella only crops up when it’s utterly convenient for the plot. Aside from that one incident in gym class, it HAS NEVER HAPPENED. Our judgment must then be that this is a case of convenience, it is deus ex machina.

We’ve talked about it before where we literally translated the phrase as “hand of god.” However that is a translation not a transliteration. Transliterated the phrase means “god from hand,” which makes no sense but “god out of the machine” helps us a little more. The author is god, the machine is the story, what god wills the story must bend toward. However when things show up randomly or without prior cause or consistency the story is thus rendered nonsensical or absurd…or in this case at least the character. Let’s let the “Master of those who Know” tell us:

“The right thing, however, is in the characters just as in the incidents of the play to endeavour always after the necessary or the probable; so that whenever such-and-such a person days or does such-and-such a thing, it shall be necessary or probable outcome of his character; and whenever this incident follows on that, it shall be either necessary or the probable consequence of it…there should be nothing improbable among the incidents.”*

That was written by Aristotle around 335 BCE. It’s a basic call for consistency, if our character is going to be clumsy than let her be clumsy, but she has to do it. To repeat, she has never fallen in the story and we only know that she fell because she told us in a memory. It’s entirely improbable that she would be able to ride a motorcycle.

Why does she do it? Because a disembodied voice in her head that sounds like Edward yells at her to stop when she does. That is seriously what happens, she “hears” this, “Do you want to kill yourself, then?” Is that what this is about?”

The comma between “yourself” and “then” is not a typo that is how she wrote it. Here’s a good exercise, whenever you see a comma take a quick breath. That’s what they are used for and you probably did it without thinking about it anyway but reread the quote….done? Good. Notice how ridiculous it sounds. Typically a writer should be technically better on their second book but we seem to be regressing.

She crashes and then…blah blah blah.

This was the emergency break crash in which she cuts her head bleeding quite profously. In a rare moment of research we learn that, “head wounds just bled more than most.”

Despite the error in verb tense, she is right. This is why wrestlers (WWE not Olympic) end up with cuts on their forehead quite frequently. It looks a great deal worse than it is. However, she did flip her bike and head wounds–since she wasn’t wearing a helmet** probably gave her a concussion, which is significantly worse than a cut. This is addressed but it’s quickly rendered non-important (because possible brain damage is a minor issue), only that her father checks on her for a bit after buying her “I fell” excuse.

The rest of the chapter has Bella and Jake searching the woods for place that Edward took Bella last book. It’s trite, it’s contrived, but we’re along for the ride for some odd reason. What’s worse is that Jake is playing third wheel to someone who isn’t even there, and Bella never tells Jake why they are doing any of the things that she is having them do. What a role model for young girls everywhere.

There’s some more bullshit about reports of a large bear or something in the woods which Charlie is concerned with in his capacity as Sheriff but none of the other major characters are. Jake makes a point about how bears don’t like people meat, which is factually correct but we know better. We know that it’s not a bear, because Billy doesn’t care one bit. It’s a damn werewolf. Thank you trailers for the second movie, because there could have been some tension there.

Jake makes a joke, “I bet you’d taste good.”

I really should have kept a score card on the accidental porn dialogue this novel uses but Bella follows up in her thought with a comment that it wasn’t the first time she had heard that. I would like to ask her, are you sure about that?

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* 1454a33-1454b4: I admit that using Aristotle to criticize the Twilight series is a bit like using a flamethrower to kill a bee. Although it doesn’t mean that it’s not fun.

**the bad examples just pile up in this series don’t they?

Levinas Assignment One

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

On the Grandfather in “Five in the Afternoon”

 

            If one were to claim that “Five in the Afternoon” was a film about war they would be correct. Although they could not mean this in the conventional sense, as the war going on concurrently with the story is barely touched upon. In fact “war” itself is only mentioned briefly in regard to the tumultuous history of Afghanistan and in an encounter with a French soldier. The war being fought in the movie is a war of faith between Norqeh’s father and his ties with his family. At the center point of the conflict is his piety in regard to his brand of Islam and the attention that he shows his daughters.

            Most of this conflict is internal. The Talibani strain of Islam was notoriously a twisted form of fundamentalist that regarded the female as being intrinsically sinful. The man’s involvement with his daughters puts his existence into a perilous situation with his belief in his own soul, and in that he ignores the obvious solution to the more perilous situation involving his granddaughter: that she is starving to death. Can we consider his life, a life lived or is it merely existed? Since the notion of “sin” is a personal one, and one that he is utmost concerned with, could we even claim that he is being moral in his decision to move his family from Kabul with the ultimate goal of Kandahar?

            In answering the first question we must consider how it is this man lived his life. Since all we have is the man as an elderly individual we cannot understand how it is that he arrived at this point in his life. What we do know is that he is deeply adherent to his teachings so much so that upon viewing Norqeh unveiled in the opening scene he asks for forgiveness. Adding to this is that Norqeh is constantly fearing his anger as she hides her white shoes and asks her male friend to not talk to her as he normally would. His life seems to be one of pure existence living in fear of the constant sin that he perceives to be all around him in each stage of their journey.

            This existence is one of fear. The fear of sin, that while important to the majority of the world, causes him to neglect the real for an ideal that cannot help those around him that are in actual need for the very basic needs of life. He is waiting for the experience of joy, or salvation, a deliverance from the pain of his life. He is ignoring that it is not only in pain and joy that one lives but through it.[1] In this regard his avoiding the actual for the eternal is denying life and causing the continued suffering of his family, himself, and his horse.

            While he seems to care for his family he is infected with the social aggression that he has been taught through his religion. This social aggression, “shuts people away in a class, deprives them of expression and condemns them to being ‘signifiers without a signified’ and from there to violence and fighting.[2]” This, we can see, at the palace outside of Kabul and in the desert, where he communicates only to his horse using the women only as mere tools for the finding of water. The only dialogues he seems to have are the one way conversations with his horse. This is taken to the extreme when he will not even communicate to his daughter that her baby, his granddaughter, has died.

            We may suspend our judgment to consider that while the man seems to be unduly harsh in his treatment of his daughters we could perhaps view him as performing an action that while jeopardizing their lives was saving their souls. His perception of sin being all around them in Kabul would necessitate, in his point of view, leaving the city. We must then consider what his ultimate goal must have been: to find some sort of paradise that was free from sin. The trouble for him, then, would be there is no place (a literal translation of the word “utopia”). For someone that is so devout, who views that sharing a place in Kabul with his daughters and unrelated males in the same room (separated by a clothesline and sheet) to be too sinful to tolerate is not going to find an earthly paradise that would suffice. All this person is, is desire, seeking that “another day should dawn within his day, and with it another waking that would rid him of his suffocating nightmares.[3]

            Can we claim that he is moral? No, we can claim that he is faithful and pious, but we cannot claim that his actions and behavior were in the interests of the other person. He was fleeing Kabul from the opening to avoid the stain on his soul. In order to make sure he was as ethically concerned for his daughters as he was himself, remaining in Kabul would have been the best choice. There they had access to at least the bare necessities, instead he sacrificed them for a dream that we never know if he found.


[1] Pg. 111, Levinas, Emmanuel; “Totality and Infinity”

[2] Pg. 153, Levinas, Emmanuel; “The Name of a Dog, or Natural Rights.” from “Difficult Freedom.”

[3] Pg. 101, Levinas, Emmanuel; “Place and Utopia” from Difficult Freedom

Categories: philosophy

Interlude I

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Well faithful readers, this week we have a short break in the “action.” My school schedule has shifted again and since going this apparently takes about two days to write I find myself hemmed in the needs of the far more important course work that I have to read for. In all honesty reading Totality and Infinity, while more difficult, is much more rewarding and in the long run more fruitful.

Although…ripping this book apart is much more fun. Especially since it seems to get worse and worse as it goes on.

Next week, we’ll be back on schedule. Where we continue with Bella’s experimentation into motorcycle driving…I think since that’s where we left off. Until then.

Categories: Uncategorized

Reward

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Remember when people were all fired up about the Michelle Bachman candidacy for president? What happened to that? Nothing really changed, none of her policies have shifted and she’s still just as insane as she was then. Now she’s relegated to the position of “also ran” as the GOP has basically dropped her into a spot where she has about as much of a chance of winning the nomination as Ron Paul does. Which, for me, is bitter sweet.

On the one hand I feel that she’s about as dangerous a person to put in the White House as it gets. Mainly because unlike Mitt Romney and some of the other people I see stumping their absurd theories, it seems to me that Bachman actually believes the bullshit she talks about. The re-education camps,  the shopping mall abortions, FEMA’s power to take away the consitutional rights of Americans, the gay-muslim-atheist agenda (I’m still waiting for my membership card but it’s just not coming)…etc. All of this was not only palatable to GOP voters but appealed to them, for whatever reason. She was representative of the ultimate contradiction in the right wing today, the one that wants government to push a Christian conservative agenda but at the same time wants less government. None of this mattered.

Until Rick Perry decided he was going to run. A person who is not possessed of any real difference from Michelle Bachman but has somehow overtaken her spot, despite the fact that she won the pointless straw poll. Which as a side note is a complete farce, as no one is considering the chance of the person who was in second place at all. Rick Perry’s tipping point seems to be that possesses that quality of “being a man from Texas” that Bachman does not. Since he announced, it seems that the only reason he is the front runner is because we’ve been told he’s the front runner. I’m not certain why people like him, but he does have that quality of insanity that seems to be popular in the GOP right now.*

Calling social security a “ponzi scheme” isn’t exactly inaccurate (today anyway, fifty years ago it wouldn’t have been true at all)
but it doesn’t mean you should say it, especially given the amount of voters currently receiving social security, or should I say that the largest voting demographic receives social security.

That however wasn’t the craziest thing said at the debate. That honor belongs to Michelle Bachman, reminding us just how important the “fun” is in “fundamentalist.” Bachman’s appeal must have always been the crazy things she says with little to no attribution. The night of the debate was no different and as usual she took things from a reasonably sane (although I disagree with her, but more on that later) to the edges of insanity…the far edge.

She was chiding Rick Perry for his program of mandatory HPV vaccinations as being another example of government run amok. That’s the reasonable position, it’s wrong, but it’s reasonable. A vaccination to prevent a disease that possesses a high tendency of causing cervical cancer seems like a good idea. I don’t know why anyone, especially a woman, would be against an issue that is a pretty central issue for women’s health…no wait, I do. It’s because HPV is a sexually transmitted disease, and her Christian fundamentalist outlook has to fetishize abstinence and procreation only sex. The good way to tell the difference is that she hasn’t come out against any other vaccinations, not even the eleven mandatory vaccines (most of them require multiple boosters) that her home state requires of all children that are planning on attending school. The Minnesota government even subsidizes the cost of the vaccine for low income people.

Then Bachman decided to take the fast train into crazy town offering that some woman claimed that her daughter became retarded after being given the vaccine. Of course, she can’t produce the person or anyone that will verify her claim. No scientist, medical researcher, or doctor will verify her claim. They won’t even concede the possibility. There has even been an offer of eleven thousand dollars for evidence that this actually happened. I’m sure if they applied the James Randi Foundation would probably pony up some dollars as well.

It’s too bad really, because even though I feared her presidency, I loved her candidacy. It pretty much guaranteed re-election.
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*When a candidate makes a statement that consists of him communicating the idea that he believes in “evolution” and that is considered controversial, you are in crazy town.

Foreshadowing (The New Moon Walkthrough Pg. 169-180)

September 13, 2011 1 comment

The concept of foreshadowing is a really simple one. You subtly hint at something to come and then later when you actually arrive at it the reader (or viewer) is supposed to think to themselves, “oh wait I remember this from before.” The thing about foreshadowing is the subtlety. Subtlety is not a word I would use to describe anything in this book, especially with regard to future events. Certain things are so obvious that it’s really hard to buy into the tension. Instead our only thought is, when and not if. Good foreshadowing should always play on some level of doubt.

All of that is, of course, stepping toward our second big reveal in the series. That Jacob is not as he seems. Which is too bad because in this book, he’s probably the best written of the characters. A shy, unsure of himself, 16 year old who happens to be really good at fixing mechanical things, in this case, motorcycles. In fact he’s so good that he’s already fixed the two that Bella brought to him. This is odd for the reason of the quickness that he fixed them.

It was four weeks ago, in blog postings that Bella brought Jacob the bikes. In story time it’s been a week or two. We haven’t had any transitions of time but instead have plodded along with Bella as she details the minutiae of her life. Being generous we could say that it’s been two weeks: now on its own that amount of time isn’t anything special. I assume that a decent mechanic can fix two motorcycles in two weeks. The problem is that one of these bikes isn’t average and Jake was talking about how they would have to order special parts to fix them, expensive parts.* I wouldn’t mention it normally, but it was stressed by our author that the parts were going to be a difficulty. Remember Bella wanted to use her college money, Jake didn’t want to charge her, it was a bulwark of this burgeoning relationship. Now, though? It’s all forgotten, Jake used his magic native powers to fix the bike.

Some bullshit with Charlie and Bella is riding in the truck with Jacob talking about how great he is, and how great she feels around him. Not to him of course, but to us. What this means to me is that he has been relegated to “friend” territory only he doesn’t know it yet. He’s not Mike, and Bella has yet to make up anything about him to dislike him. The way she treats him, more like a puppy, is all we need to know. On the way Bella sees someone dive off a cliff and it understandably panics her.

Jacob on the other hand laughs. Which leads Bella to think he was callous. Which leads me to think she doesn’t know what callous means. A callous person would either ignore her comment or ask her why she should care. Laughing is more Arthur Schopenhauer territory, to laugh at the mention of death is often our first reaction he once said. Jacob explains that they are “cliff diving,” and suddenly Bella wants to go. My question is, isn’t it still January? Did we skip forward a couple of months without anyone knowing? It would make sense if we did but we have no indication that it happened.

Bella relents after feeling a glacier breeze or something like that on her, which again leads me to believe that, yes, we are still in January. Continuity is becoming the biggest chore in reading this book.

Who are they? “The La Push Gang.”

The reservation has a gang. I’m not going to quibble on that point, if it’s not a reflection of reality it’s not absurd for a bunch of people united in common heritage to form some sort of group within the reservation. They’re a good gang though, “they’re all about our land, and tribe, and pride…it’s getting ridiculous.” Jacob describes one incident where the gang ran off a meth dealer. The leader’s name is Sam Uley and he’s kind of a dick.

The mention of his name triggers a memory in Bella, “a trio of tall, dark men standing very still and close together in my father’s living room…had that been Sam’s gang?

This must have been from when she went to sleep in the woods after Edward dumped her and Charlie called anyone he could to help find her. Why she’s making this connection now is a question I can’t answer. I also deplore the detail of, “standing very still.” I guess we are supposed to read this as being threatening or ominious but isn’t this the exact same way that Edward used to watch her sleep? Furthermore the three, whoever they were, were also trying to make sure that she was ok as they were literally tasked with looking for her.

There’s more going on here with the gang. One of Jacob’s absurdly named friends, “Embry” is now a member of the gang. The way it played out was that one day Embry didn’t show up at school and this continued for two weeks. When he returned he looked shocked, but then quickly joined up with the Sam’s group. Again we have a time issue, but this may clear it up. Embry had to be gone for two weeks, so it must have been two weeks since we last saw him. However, now we have to make enough time for Jacob to notice that Embry has completely divorced himself from Jacob and Quil. That should take a week or so, given that the first few couple of days could be chalked up to Embry getting over whatever it is happened to him. Three weeks is enough time of the bikes, the parts, and perhaps the weather to warm up to pass the freezing point, but I shouldn’t have to do this much work to figure out that we are in mid February. Non-essential plot details like time can be told to the reader since we only need them for reference.

Jake doesn’t like the gang, because they are apparently shown deference in council meetings, just like Jake’s father. We run into a tragically consistent pattern here with Jacob. In this book and the last, I commented that the more Meyer writes about a character the less I tend to like them. Every detail added to Edward’s personality made me dislike him less and less until I just downright hated him, same with Bella. Jake suffers the same fate which is too bad because he seemed like such a nice kid.

Jake hates the La Push Gang because they are shown some favoritism and no one shows him any. Ok, jealousy, not a good trait but a realistic one. Then you consider that he’s 16 and it makes it more forgivable. Then literally the next paragraph he comments that what annoys him the most is that Sam and the gang are now showing Jake a level of respect that they don’t show anyone else. Which is it Jake? You either want the respect Sam and your father get, or you don’t. Because you can’t hate it both ways.

We then find out that Embry was on the cliffs a second ago, but no one thought to mention it earlier. That’s just bad writing, either make it a point or don’t, but don’t throw it into the story and then leave it.

Bella, for once does a good job comforting him and in a rare well done scene Jake twists a momentary expression of anger into some casual flirting. Telling her that he’ll freak out more often if it means she’s going to hug him more. Bella as usual ignores it but moves on to describing her relationship with Jacob, “I didn’t relate to people, so easily, on such a basic level.–Not human beings.”

We know that she means Edward. In reality though, she didn’t relate to him either. Unless you count master (him)/slave (her) as a basic level. On the other hand this is the sort of messy foreshadowing that I mentioned earlier. Of course she relates to Jacob but not anyone else, Jacob isn’t human. If there is such a thing as an “obvious hammer” it must be worn down to a nub with this book.

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*Not in reality though, most of the parts were about fifty bucks on ebay.

My Three Year Old

September 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Every once in awhile I try and write something about Gwendolyn that reflects her development or maybe just an odd story about how much of a manipulative little con artist she’s become. Being three years old, it feels like it’s different. She’s already attained the basic requirements of being a person while the only thing left to her is the general education of learning things.

I suppose it’s one of those bittersweet moments, because i realize know that she really is a person. She simply won’t do things just because I want to do them. Sometimes she refuses because she would rather do something else and sometimes she refuses on principle. The principle being that she simply doesn’t want to. As I write this, Gwen is playing by herself with one of her dolls desperately trying to get one of the shoes on in much the same way I desperately forced her to put a shoe on before school this morning.

Being three also means that the “terrible twos” are over. I’m still shrugging my shoulders and twisting my face to figure out why they are called that. They simply weren’t that terrible. I’ve often wondered this past year as to where the bad part was supposed to be. Sure, sometimes she was a monster but most of the time it was just her being a two year old. Most of our conflict came when she didn’t want to eat but it was dinner time. The resolution: a compromise, she didn’t have to eat but she had to sit at the table while everyone else ate. It was simple after all, she wasn’t going to starve to death and yelling at her wasn’t going to work so she could be bored and sit there. I think the kids that scream and cry at two just need an outlet. Some way to channel all of the energy. Gwen just talks, and talks, and talks, and talks; but she was never a terrible two year old despite my complaints.

Objectively, she never panicked or freaked out in public. She’s yet to throw a tantrum in my presence outside the house. This is probably because I’ve socialized her. When there’s no school, it’s her and I. I, cannot stay in as I get stir crazy especially with her. Just me alone, I can read a book, write, or play a video game all day. The trouble is that with Gwen I can’t do those things. She won’t really let me read or write, and the video games I want to play are not for her. We’ve been trying to limit our television watching so I can’t just turn it on and let her sit…in fact, I don’t want to do that. We go out, we talk to people and go to the museum. Most often we go to the coffee shop where she sits in her chair and draws for a couple of hours. Then asks me for my cell phone so she can play games on it (it’s a WP7 which for a phone OS is horrifyingly kid easy).

Gwen has started school though, preschool–or maybe pre pre-school. I’m not sure because it seems really early but going to school is necessary for her. Not to learn the things she is going to learn: she knows her letters (but not the sounds they make), she knows the numbers, she can count, and she knows her colors; but because she needs to learn about people. I know that I said she’s pretty socialized but that’s with older people. Aside from her cousins she doesn’t hang out with kids. School will give her that, but it’s kind of sad to have her go. She won’t be my partner anymore. She’ll have friends her age and I’ll probably not like them or something. As sick of each other as we get (and believe me it’s a two way street) for the longest time during the day it really was just her and I, until mommy woke up and then it was like I wasn’t there until story time. I’ll miss that, but I’m also relieved. Because even though our time is over, it does mean that she is developing her own wants and desires. She’ll have friends and those friends will have secrets that I won’t know about.

She’s not a baby anymore she’s a kid. She’s self aware. I once wrote that the difference between AI as normally conceived in science fiction and true AI is not whether a computer can play chess, but whether it wants to. If Deep Blue, just resigns a game because it doesn’t really “feel it” that day, that would be a self aware sentient AI as opposed to something that is roughly akin to a powerful calculator. That’s Gwen now, she either wants to do something or doesn’t whereas before she wanted to do whatever was suggested to her. It was either go to the library or the store and they were both fine (although she did have a preference sometimes). Now she may not want either, but some third choice.

Her latest thing is dinosaurs. Which is super cool, because I like dinosaurs, or at least I do again. Mostly this is from the PBS show “Dinosaur Train,” one of those shows that Conservatives think are destroying America. It’s a good show, they have an actual PhD as the host explaining which dinosaur is which, and why science thinks they behaved one way or the other. It’s up to date as it gets, as they’ve even put feathers on the velociraptors. Mostly we watch it then I chase Gwen down pretending to eat her like a Tyrannosaurus Rex (which sadly, may have been a scavenger).

She’s definitely one of the best people I know in the world and she’s only three. Happy Birthday Kid.

Categories: Gwendolyn

Abadon (The New Moon Walkthrough Pg. 158-168)

September 5, 2011 Leave a comment

Our last section ended with Bella being nostalgic about how it had been one year since she moved to Forks. That doesn’t seem right to me because it’s January now (an important point as we will discover later) and I had some inclination that she moved to Forks in the Fall, at least that is how the descriptions of it went. The kids were still going outside and such, visiting the beach, in winter? Maybe, but with the temperature averages as a high in the mid 40s and lows in the mid 30s, it seems unlikely that despite what we are being told, this story is taking place in January right now. Especially with the building of the motorcycles. The weather in Forks is apparently a slave to the plot’s needs: which is bad bad writing. You can’t appeal against nature.

Our chapter begins with Bella driving to the Cullen’s old house, which they’ve apparently not sold but rather abandoned. Yep, nothing says inconspicuous like just leaving a house that you will still have to pay taxes on. It’s odd that this one detail is missed, because it could have been quite important. Bella could see a “For Sale/Sold” sign on the front of the driveway or have seen people moving in. Anything but the abandoned house would make more sense than this. Shouldn’t someone be trying to sell this immaculate house that was described to us in the last book, even if Carlisle sold it at below value?

Now that I was really awake, the nothingness of the dream gnawed on my nerves, a dog worrying a bone.

There’s a lot wrong with that sentence. Bella is giving us her thoughts as she drives up toward the Cullen house. First off, what is this dream she is describing? The only one we have been given is her lost in the woods with the sense that someone was searching for her and then she can’t get out. So where is the nothingness? This is a flat out pandering attempt to be deep. The nothingness isn’t there, it’s a sense of being lost, and it’s a wonder that I can describe the dream’s metaphor better than the person who made it up. Secondly “nothingness” can’t gnaw, because it’s nothing. Nothing can’t do anything because it is, by definition, no thing. Thirdly, I get what the metaphor at the end of that sentence is supposed to do but it’s obviously shoe-horned in. You can almost see the “like” that is missing between “nerves,” and “a” that was simply deleted. I think Meyer was getting sick of using similes. The whole sentence is just clunky, unless of course she’s actually seeing a dog worrying* a bone.

Why is she here? Because she wants to jog her brain into producing the memory of Edward’s voice. Meh, I’ll buy that, we’ve all done something really stupid and inane when we were just dumped, but then I remember that her being dumped was four/five months ago. We’re being hit with a hammer here, and not in a good way. See, Bella is truly and irrevocably in love with Edward, at least that’s what we are told and we are being told that this is still the case. Told, but never shown. You expect that at novel two the writing would get better. Why is she chasing a memory of a voice when this is how she describes the owner of that voice, “unattainable and impossible, uncaring and distracted…”

The first adjective makes sense, but that’s it. “Impossible?” What’s impossible? She already had him. “Uncaring and distracted” those two show me who she’s talking about but not why she’s chasing him. It’s like she’s telling us that she wants someone who doesn’t show any concern for her and won’t pay attention to her either. He’s a winner, but we never really know why.

The tall ferns had infiltrated the meadow around the house…” This is a good example of why we, as in everyone aspiring to be a writer in the current age, have a distinct advantage over every generation of writer previous: we have the internet. I get the fact that Meyer wants to show the passage of time by having the plants grow in the yard…er meadow. But ferns have a life cycle and a quick trip to wikipedia can show us that the ferns wouldn’t have grown that fast, in the damn winter. This isn’t Pripyat Russia where thirty to forty years have passed since anyone has lived there. It’s been five months, but it’s also been winter months and shit doesn’t grow in the winter. That’s why it’s winter and not Spring. That’s why Peresephone spends this time with Hades and the rest of the time outside of the realm of the dead. Simple research, or just plain observation. We could have had longer grass, or better yet mud soaked driveways given the rain, instead we’ve got some sort of super spreading vegetation, must be all of the sparkles.

Sigh.

Nothingness of Nightmares…” despite the fact that we’ve already discussed that her nightmares aren’t about nothingness this sounds like the title track to my failed heavy metal band “Kefka’s Abadon.” It’s one of those phrases that sounds really cool but makes no sense if you stop to think about it objectively. It’s like our author read one line of Nietzsche “if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes into you” and decided to run with it in order to make Bella’s whining over her six month relationship with Eddie that much more plausible.

As we are abruptly led to the Cullen’s house we are led out of it. Seriously, Bella decides that she is leaving and it’s off to Jacob’s place for some more bike work. This is where it gets interesting. We know that Jacob has a crush on Bella (for some reason) from last book. He’s a bit younger but they’ve been playing a rather cute game where they keep adding years to their age for skills and acheivements. I wonder how many Bella lost for her clumsiness?** Jake shows some foresight here with the game because it lessens the reality of the chronological difference between them. Then he places a thinly veiled confession of his attraction and affection toward Bella. It’s a bold move by the 16 year old, but it’s out there. What happens? Nothing. It’s a huge moment in their friendship, one that could very well break it in any realistic setting and it’s like it never happens.

Back at school, with no transition or anything, Bella remarks about how her friends have “kindly overlooked my few months of aberrant behavior.” First off, let’s take a quick visit to the dictionary to define “aberrant” which is a deviation from the normal. This is the wrong word. Bella has been just the same as she was before. Those last few months where she was just sitting and not talking to everyone was exactly the same as when Eddie and Alice where in town. They all sat at the same table, but Bella just ignored them. So how exactly has her ignoring of her friends the last few months been any different than it has the last year? The only actual difference is that in the last few months she hasn’t been ignoring them in favor of someone else but they were still getting shunned.

Not everyone is happy about her “return” (because she hasn’t gone anywhere), “…Jess was more resistant. I wondered if she needed a formal written apology for the Port Angeles incident.” Again with the “Jessica is a bitch because I say she’s a bitch.” Maybe Bella should try an oral apology, or any kind of apology before making this claim. None of it makes sense, Jessica has a legitimate complaint here and doubly so since Bella hasn’t shown any kind of remorse for scaring the crap out of her.

I needed something to distract me from nightmare and nothingness.” I went to a Catholic highschool, and one friday every month they made us go to church. Eventually I realized that while they could make me go, make me kneel, and make me sing/chant/recite they couldn’t make me pray. Same thing here Meyer, you can keep making me read words like “nothingness” or “abyss” or “numbness” but I’m not going to believe it. Bella is not deep, she doesn’t have dreams about abadon or oblivion. She’s a superficial bitch who lost her good looking rich boyfriend, and now has to cope with the reality that she may not be at the top of the ladder anymore. I suppose that might be worse than nothing for her though.

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*”Worrying” here is actually correct, it’s antiquated, but correct.
**Wait a second, did that aspect of her personality just go away because it’s no longer convenient for the plot? Strange.