Chapter Three: Clumsiness is Not a Character Flaw, but Abusive Tendencies ARE
Okay – off the bat, I’m going to spam you with links before I even start on this chapter. This first is one I had my friend Caroline email me, whih she found on facebook. It’s a discussion that the Women’s Center at Vassar is presenting called “‘You Are My Life Now: A Discussion of Domestic Violence in ‘Twlight.'” While I think that is an amazing topic, I’m still concerned it may get pushed aside – they’re giving out Twilight themed prizes etc. I don’t know how well they will actually discuss the topic without cooing over a glittery Meyerpire.
The second link is one I found ages ago, but really sums up the abuse that takes place in the Twlight Saga (I refuse to italicize ‘Saga’ – these books are anything but). Please, please, please read it. It’s written by another Blogger who did the same thing I’m doing (chapter by chapter, comments and such) – so: The Twilight Saga and Domestic Abuse. As I said, please read that – it’s not a rant by some anti-Twlight troll – it’s well written and to the point – probably better than I could put it.
The third link is to ‘The National Domestic Abuse Hotline’. I’m not doing this to be edgy or funny – I’m dead serious. I’m linking right to the section Am I Being Abused?. I was going to say keep your own tally while reading, but when I read through the list again just as I looked up the link, I was shocked to find that – only in the first ten chapters – Edward fits more than one of the qualities on that list. In fact, he fits quite a few – and that makes me extremely uncomfortable.
I’m going to get on my soapbox here for a minute. I’m a victim of emotional abuse. So is my mom – more so than myself (and I also know, Bella, what it’s like to take care of a parent – but one that’s depressed, in chronic pain, and going through a divorce that’s taken years to get to). Admitting I am a victim was hard enough – as in, I was able to say it only last month. This is probably what I take issue with in Twilight more than anything else. I know what emotional abuse is without even looking at that website. From this third chapter on, I felt uncomfortable and angry and sad – all these emotions – knowing that this book is pretty much akin to the Bible for a lot of young girls. Forget about the bad writing, the flat characters, the lack of an actual plot – this is a problem. Edward is abusive and there is no way around that fact – and Meyer glorifies it. When I was in Scotland, eating dinner at my dining hall in Sallies, I asked one of the girls sitting with me (an American student studying abroad, too) why she liked the series when it’s clear that Edward is emotionally abusive, a stalker, and, in one of the books (I believe the second or third), physically removes the car engine (or cuts the breaks, I’m in too much of a flurry right now to look it up) from Bella’s truck so she can’t see her friend. Her answer? “I think it’s romantic. I’d love a guy to watch me sleep and do things like that to protect me.” I’ll leave you with that and step off my soapbox now.
Okay, Chapter Three. “Phenomenon.”
We’re treated to Bella moaning about the ice and how clumsy she is and – yeah, see Meyer’s given Bella what she thinks is a character flaw. But clumsiness isn’t a character flaw. My roommate Val drops her keys and bags and books all the time – but it’s not a flaw. I’ll give Bella the credit that bitchiness is but I don’t think Meyer intended that.
Anyway – boo ice and what a speshul snooowflake I am for being sooo clumsy:
“Perhaps it was because I was a novelty here, where novelties were few and far between. Possibly my crippling clumsiness was seen as endearing rather than pathetic, casting me as a damsel in distress.” p.55
Ya’ know, if she had tried on that first day of school to make friends, she wouldn’t keep considering herself such a ‘novelty.’ But that’s emo Bella talking, I suppose. And maybe because Val is also struck with this “crippling clumsiness,” I’ll start calling her a Damsel in Distress. She’d hit me or pinch me or kick me, of course, as a good friend should.
Shockingly (and yes, I was actually shocked), Bella shows some sort of emotion towards Charlie. Finally I thought – even thought it didn’t last very long.
“When I got out of my truck at school, I saw why I’d had so little trouble. Something silver caught my eye, and I walked to the back of the truck … to examine my tires. There were thin chains crisscrossed in diamond shapes around them. Charlie had gotten up who knows how early to put snow chains on my truck. My throat suddenly felt tight. I wasn’t used to being taken care of, and Charlie’s unspoken concern caught me by surprise.” p.55
Of course, this moment is interrupted by Bella almost getting hit by a car. I keep thinking … if it had hit her, what an easier assignment this would be. But I think a lot of readers have thought the same thing. My only comments for the car/van/truck incident in the margins was a sarcastic: How Dramatic!
So Bella of course is saved by Edward, who tries to convince her that he had been standing next to her the entire time. Bella doesn’t believe this but Edward gets her to go long with it at least until the hospital.
Oh – and Bella is of course “humiliated” when she has the neck brace (which she discards at the hospital – um, where’s protocol?) put around her.
Edward is with her for most of the time in the hospital. We get to meet his “dad” Carlisle who is described as being “handsomer than any movie star I’d ever seen.” Again with those descriptions …
Bella asks, once she has a clear bill of health, if she could go back to school and is informed she ought to take it easy for the day – but “most of the school seems to be in the waiting room.”
Bella is, not surprisingly, humiliated again.
There’s some more about her clumsiness, Bella is angry and wants to go home and is tired of Tyler (the dude with the van) apologizing for almost killing her. Then she confronts Edward about what really happened. The dialogue between them is almost hostile – and not in a ‘tell me the truth’ way. When Bella says he owes her an explanation, his response is:
“I saved your life – I don’t owe you anything.” p.64
Then he says something that is just a bit worrying:
“Bella, you hit your head, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” p.64
And then Bella fell down a flight of stairs. Already we see a sort of cover-up happening – I mean, it’s not entirely worrisome to the reader at this point but knowing what comes after – this seems to be just the start.
Anyway, Edward has reverted back to his douche-y ways:
“Can’t you just thank me and get over it?” p.65
“In that case … I hope you enjoy your disappointment.” p.65
“‘Why did you even bother?’ I asked frigidly … ‘I don’t know,’ he whispered.” p.65
Notice that’s all on one page.
Edward then leaves and Bella gets upset because Charlie did the parental thing and called her mom. The chapter ends with this sentence:
“That was the first night I dreamed of Edward Cullen.” p. 67
What in the what? I don’t even … if someone can explain to me why she is dreaming of this bipolar Meyerpire, let me know because, if he treated me the way he treated her at the hospital he’d be up fuck-off creek without a paddle.
And this is just the beginning, of course.
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P.S. My keyboard is taking to sticking so I apologize for typos I may miss