In Bella’s defense (and my thoughts on the Twilight series)

December 25, 2008 at 10:31 am 14 comments

twilight newmoon eclipse breaking dawn

Since getting hooked on the Twilight series, I find myself clicking on the links on anything I see on the internet that has to do with Twilight. Click here and there and then I bump into spoilers and I get disappointed. I also couldn’t help reading the negative comments about the series and Bella’s character. I think the number one problem people have is that they compare Ms. Meyer’s books to the Harry Potter series. They’re both fantasies, all right. But one is a romance and the other is not. And Ms. J.K. Rowling’s work has already been established as a classic, and Ms. Meyer’s, I don’t know, but she’s still fairly new. So I think people should stop comparing the two series.

There was this article that I read about Bella’s character being a bad model for teen-age girls. At first I asked myself, did Stephenie Meyer intend to write her novels for the teen-agers or the (young) adult? Okay, her main character was a teen-ager, a 17-year old, but her plot has more of an adult theme. Another question I ask, is it a writer’s responsibility to determine if their young characters would be a good or bad model for the young readers? What if they did not intend their novel to be read by pre-teens and young teens? Doesn’t an author write to share his stories or ideas? Or do they also have to take in consideration whether they’re sending a good or bad message? Isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to monitor what their young children are reading? After reading the third and fourth books, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, I wonder how pre-teens are grasping the sex issues in the story. This is one of the times when I’m glad that I don’t have a daughter. I do have a pre-teen and two teen-aged boys but they’re not interested in reading these books. But if they were, I would have to explain to them that it is about the choices we make, and how we have to consider them carefully and I would explain to them what Ms. Meyer is trying to point out in the story. Try to do the moral thing. But then again, I’m also glad that Ms. Meyer did write about the sex thoughts in what Bella would say, a “polite way.”

You might be asking, why am I defending Bella, when I have mentioned in my New Moon post, that unlike Bella, I would not be willing to give up my human life just so I could be with someone forever?

Well, you see, I have mentioned how my girl friend and I have been discussing the series. It’s like we’re in this two-member book club and we sometimes disagree with how the characters behave in the novels. It’s fun though. I’ve always wanted to join a book club, but I think this is better. No hassles of going to the meetings and I can read at my own pace. :) My girl friend and I both loved Twilight, the first book in the series, for different reasons. Then she started reading New Moon and Eclipse and she started to get annoyed with Bella. Why does she put a man above everything else, above herself? So Edward goes away on a hunting trip for a few days, and she gets bored and doesn’t know how to pre-occupy herself? She’s so needy. It’s like she can’t get on with her life without a man. :) My first reaction was to laugh at her comments. Why? I had to admit to her that I see Bella in myself. I was that girl with the low self esteem, and that plot in New Moon resembles my first experience of a heart ache. I was the same age as Bella when “my Edward” left me. And he had the same reason as to why he left. Only, he told me the reason after 20 years. (long story) Same thing Edward told Bella. It was for your own good, he said. But how could he have known what was good for me, right? I was also devastated, but I wasn’t catatonic, like Bella was. But it sure was also one of the darkest days of my life. And then I met a guy who was somewhat like Jacob. Someone who was funny and made me laugh again. And I was also torn between the two, kind of like the song “Are you gonna stay with the one who loves you, or are you going back to the one you love?” I know, it was kind of corny. But that was me back then. And no, I did not end up with “my Edward.”

I know that the way Bella handled her feelings towards the two men in Eclipse wasn’t the best one. She ended up hurting the two people that she loved. But see, like some of us, she made her decisions based on her emotions. Not the smart thing to do. But as Edward said, she’s only human.

I also had a theory on why Bella was so “needy.” See, like Bella, my parents were also separated. And though she spent summers with her dad, she grew up mostly with her mom. And I thought maybe the absence of the father figure is what made her “needy” for the love of a man. Sure, in the novels, she was living with her dad Charlie, but she met Edward early on in the series, just when she started living with her dad. I can relate to that. Because when I started to notice boys, or when boys started to notice me, I immediately got attracted to anybody who would give me attention. I guess I was also longing for that male figure in my life. Just so you know, I don’t have any brothers either. But my girl friend disagrees with that, too, because she also didn’t grow up with her father and she said that she was never that needy for male attention.

But see, Edward is not really your typical 17-year-old. He’s actually over a hundred years old. It’s just his physical appearance is frozen in a 17-year-old body. And Edward watching over and protecting Bella (against Tyler’s crashing car, or against bad vampire James) is sort of very fatherly. Sure we are in modern times now and we are way past the women’s liberation phase. We want to teach the young women that we can stand up on our own and defend ourselves. But this is just a novel, a fiction. For some of us, reading is an escape from the realities of life. I know for me it is. I was just thinking about this a few months ago. Why have I been reading fiction so much? Because there’s so much going on in my life right now, and reading gives me an escape.

Once in a while we come across stories like the Harry Potter series and readers get engrossed for different reasons. Twilight, as I see it, is your once-in-a-while fairly tale told with a modern twist. There’s a few women out there that long for that knight in shining armour (or sparkly skin :) ) to save the damsel in distress that they are. Maybe they’re tired of trying to defend themselves and they fantasize to be rescued and taken care of once in a while. :)

Or maybe, the men should start reading it, too. They can learn a lot from Edward. Like how to be romantic, how to make a woman feel safe, or how to be understanding, considerate and patient. But then again, maybe you have to live over a hundred years before you can achieve the level of Edward’s patience. :)

Summaries of the books in The Twilight Saga:

Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn

My reviews of the books in the series:

Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn

Entry filed under: Books, movies, music, TV, The Twilight Saga. Tags: , , , , , .

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14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Abaniko  |  December 27, 2008 at 1:03 am

    A month ago, I borrowed the book Twilight from an officemate because I got intrigued by all the hype. Out of curiosity, I want to read it before I watch the movie and see what I can say about all the rave this thing is getting. But alas, till now I have neither read the book nor seen the movie. Hehe.

    Merry Christmas, Niceheart!

    Reply
  • 2. Wil  |  December 27, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Great analysis, niceheart!

    I’ve seen a blog where the blogger was “hating” on Bella. To each, his (her) own, I suppose.

    And the advice to guys to read the Twilight series who might learn from Edward? I’ve actually heard that before — read romance novels to learn about women. hehe

    Reply
  • 3. niceheart  |  December 28, 2008 at 10:10 am

    And happy new year to you, abaniko. Well, it’s never too late to start reading it. :)

    Thanks, wil. These are just my humble opinions. I’m sure that if those Bella-hating Twilighters come across this post, they would have a lot to say. :)

    Women can only hope that their men read what they’re reading to learn about Romance 101. :)

    Reply
  • 4. Belle  |  December 28, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Irene, off topic: Just wanted to wish you and your family a Happy New Year.

    Reply
  • 5. haze  |  December 30, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Even if I am not into reading your post educates me about the book, so dito na lang ako magbabasa. Recap na to di ba Niceheart ;) !

    Happy 2009 to you and to the whole family ! All the best and more power.

    Reply
  • 6. Julie  |  December 31, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Like Belle, I will be of-topic:

    Wishing you and your family the best for 2009!

    Reply
  • 7. Toe  |  January 3, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Where have I been? I’ve never heard of the Twilight series before. But I like the way you discuss it here and if it weren’t so late, I’d rush to the bookstore now. :)

    Hey… about “your Edward”, pray do tell. ;)

    Happy New Year to you and your family Niceheart! :)

    Reply
  • 8. niceheart  |  January 5, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Thanks guys. Happy new year to you, too!

    Toe, as I was just telling Abaniko, it’s never too late to start reading.

    As for “my Edward,” I was just referring to my first love and like Bella, I also “thought” that he was perfect. :)

    Reply
  • 9. zingtrial  |  January 10, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Author Stephenie Meyer says that the idea for Twilight came to her in a dream on June 2, 2003. The dream was about a human girl, and a vampire who was in love with her but thirsted for her blood. Based on this dream, Meyer wrote the transcript of what is now chapter 13 of the book.[16] Despite having very little writing experience, in a matter of three months she had transformed that vivid dream into a completed novel.[14] After writing and editing the novel, she signed a three-book deal with Little, Brown and Company for $750,000, an unusually high amount for a first time author; Megan Tingley, the editor who signed Meyer, says that halfway through the reading manuscript she realized that she had a future bestseller in her hands.[17] The book was released in 2005..He!He!He!
    Nice writer.
    Wishing you well

    Reply
  • 10. Jayred  |  January 15, 2009 at 8:14 am

    With all the hype going on, I’m kind of curious about this “Twilight” film (not interested in the book series, though). I’m just not sure if it’s good enough to justify the 18USD movie theater ticket. :-)

    Hi, Niceheart. Here’s wishing you and your family a Blessed 2009! You changed your blog title na pala. I liked “Journey to Honeyville” but “Niceheart” is also okay.

    Reply
  • 11. niceheart  |  January 18, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Thank you zingtrial. I also read about the inspiration coming from that dream about the meadow. And it is actually one of my favourite parts of the book. Was kind of disappointed when they didn’t give more attention to that scene in the movie. It lacked that wow factor, it didn’t have that dazzling effect.

    Happy new year to you, too, Jayred. I guess you could try checking out the movie if you’re not that interested in the books. Although you’ll miss out on some of the plot that didn’t make it to the movie. Quite expensive to go to the theatre eh? :)

    I’m glad that you liked my title Journey to Honeyville. I was going through some pretty serious stuff last year and since the title Journey to Honeyville has a very tight link to my personal life, I also decided to change my blog title. You’re the first one to say that you liked that title. Now, I might consider changing it back. :)

    Reply
  • 12. Wil  |  January 23, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    I just finished New Moon. I feel bad for Jacob. But I guess he just has to realize that there’s other fish in the sea and that he and Bella weren’t meant for each other. hehe. I also thought the Victoria showdown was going to happen in this book, but I guess not.

    Reply
  • 13. niceheart  |  January 24, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    So Wil, you’re reading romance novels now huh? That’s good. Girls like that. Hey, I’m just teasing you. :) Don’t feel too bad for Jacob. He’s a big boy, and … I don’t want to ruin it for you. The Victoria showdown – I guess Stephenie Meyer wanted to make sure that her readers buy the next book so she saved it for later. Basta, just keep on reading. :)

    Reply
  • 14. caryn  |  January 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    the hubby just bought book 1 last weekend. i’ve read a lot of spoilers too, but i think i’ll check it out and judge for myself ;-)

    Reply

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