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Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
A hundred-odd pages into Eclipse now and ah, she is bringing in the won't somebody PLEASE think of the children??!? "think about this, child" arguments... posited by characters that the narrative has already discredited, such as Bella's ineffectual parents and the one member of Edward's family who hasn't been on Bella's side so far. {ticks "straw-man arguments against narrative's perspective" off checklist} So far this is shaping up to be the volume where things start going seriously off the meta-rails with the physical and emotional interferences with Bella's life in the service of separating her from other influences. I'd be willing to bet the writer would be very surprised and offended to have it pointed out to her that she's basically describing the operational mechanisms of a cult... as a desirable thing.

Coincidentally, I just stumbled across a recent posting by NK Jemisin on the issue of womanhood in fantasy, which she concludes by pointing out, "Basically, we need more women like Sunako, whose strength comes from something inside her". And I think this is at the heart of the problem with Twilight: Bella's focus is completely external to herself. This is certainly something that's encouraged by many cultures, yes; women in particular should ideally not have any existence beyond that conferred onto them by others, whether that's "somebody's wife" or "somebody's mother" or "somebody's dress-up doll". I suppose there's an argument to be made in there that men are subject to this as well vis-a-vis the strictures of cultures or gods, but that way lies The Fountainhead and I'm already regretting starting this damn book. And men, at any rate, aren't in quite the same position; they at least get to report directly to that higher authority, while expecting women to apply through them...

Um. Anyway. Reining the argument back in towards the subject at hand, because if we get started about Paul we'll be here all night, I can see where some of the appeal of these books is that of a flight towards certainty in a confusing world, whether that be the figurative storms of adolescence or the turbulence of current events. It would be so nice to hand over responsibility to someone else who Knows Better, to say my decision's been made for me by this love beyond my control and I have to just go along with it. And whether that's love of daddy, or country, or husband, or god...

Is it completely weird of me that I'm finding the creepiest part of this book about vampires is the part that has nothing to do with the actual vampirism at all?


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kaffyr From: kaffyr Date: July 22nd, 2011 09:33 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
Not in the least. I have not read any of the books, partly because all signs and reviews point to mediocre writing, and partly because of all the discussion about the glorification of what is essentially an incredibly unhealthy relationship, so my thoughts are probably suspect. I should read the damned thing before I judge it ... and yet, and yet ....

So back to creepiness quotients, and I'm with you all the way: vampires in Twilight? Creepy only because of the twinkly de-fanging and Disneyfication of a previously powerful trope. Relationships cooked up from co-dependency and habits that, scraped clean of the sparkly love paint, are simply those of abuser and abused - and then presented to readers as The Best Love Ever, and The Best Choice A Woman Could Ever Make?

Fucking creepy.

*goes back to thinking about issues of faith, which your earlier post sparked in me*

robling_t From: robling_t Date: July 22nd, 2011 10:40 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
The vampires are actually creepy, but not for reasons overtly related to their vampirism; they're creepy because they're presented as humanity's betters in such a way that it makes humanity's only possible argument in response the desire to join them. Now, played for horror, that could be an extraordinarily effective tale, but played as completely straight as it is here it's just going all Triumph Of The Will to me. Which is where I'm sensing that the part where the author has stated that she's religious, and maybe, yeah, it's relevant that she's specifically Mormon, enters into it as being important background; I'm reading into it this whole subtext of the vampires as representing in their perfection a metaphorical god-analogue, and that it's explicitly attainable (and bodily) perfection is further pinging me real hard on what I've read about some of the more esoteric fine-points of Mormon cosmology. And y'know, I don't care what floats your boat as far as a particular set of beliefs/doctrines/etcetera goes, but I don't think that she knows that that's what she's written. And I kind of don't think she'd see it if you told her. And that's what worries me about unquestioned beliefs -- it's too easy to start confusing belief with truth.
justphoenix From: justphoenix Date: July 23rd, 2011 12:28 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I've enjoyed reading these.
robling_t From: robling_t Date: July 24th, 2011 05:46 am (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I may be the only person out here who's actually having even more trouble with the theological subtext than the overtly messed-up relationship shit... I've got about 250 pages of the last book to go now, and boy howdy, there's going to be a Summation coming. Oh, yes. If I survive the experience.
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