Friday, June 12, 2015

How Eclipse Could Have Been Good

Yes, I know, I'm behind on my Travel Blog posts. I'll get back to those Sunday-ish. Moving on.

Really quickly, here's my review of New Moon: it was remarkably enjoyable except for the parts that included Edward. Moving on.

I thought about just doing a plain old review of Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight saga. The thing is, I don't think that would really do justice to the book, or rather what the main problem is (in my opinion.)

I think it's the general consensus that Eclipse is the worst of the Twilight novels. The story doesn't make a lot of sense, the love triangle is obnoxious - no, not the Edward-Bella-Jacob one, the other one - and Bella is, of course, completely useless. Edward is bland and boring, and Jacob took a nose dive in interest. But I think the main problem with the book is that it could have been really good. It could have, in fact, been a very powerful story with a very powerful message. It could have completely undone the legitimate complaint with the series in general, that the Bella-Edward love is based in perfection rather than perseverance.

The general plot is that the evil vampiress is gathering an army of new-made vampires in an attempt to overwhelm the Cullens and the werewolves. Although, since this is a love story, that's more of a subplot. The love story focuses on Bella being older than Edward, much to her dismay. She wants Edward to turn her into a vampire so she can be young, or near his age, forever. But she's also struggling with a part of her having feelings for Jacob. She even has to admit that she loves Jacob too. Of course, in the end, she chooses Edward, and Edward promises to make her a vampire soon after they get married. That's the general plot, anyway.

During the book, two specific things happen. The first is that Rosalie, Edward's adopted sister, tells Bella that she doesn't know what she'd be giving up if she gave up her human life. She tells Bella that there are parts of being human she will have to live without, forever - most notably, having a child of her own.

The second is that, as Bella kisses Jacob, she has a vision, of sorts, of watching herself grow up, of watching years passing "and meaning something as they passed." She saw Jacob and her children running into the forest. In other words, she saw what she would give up if she let Edward turn her into a vampire.

So, what's the problem? The problem is that the two events teach Bella nothing. By the end of the book, Bella is still freaking out that she's almost two years older than Edward, as if that's the most important thing she has to worry about. She's still pestering Edward to turn her into a vampire as quickly as possible.

How could it have been good? My theory: it could have been good if Bella had learned something - most especially, if she had learned something about what was really important in life. There are multiple ways that Bella's maturation could be shown, but I think the best way would be for Bella to say at the end that she would still marry Edward, but she didn't need to turn vampire right away. First, she could have kids, experience a few years as a human and learn and grow some more. That's the upside to being human. The upside to being a vampire? She looks Edward's age for forever.

I'm not saying her life would only have been worthwhile if she had decided she wanted kids, but she is such a static character and such a shallow character throughout the book. On the other hand, think how powerful the story would be if she came to the realization that how she looked - that, when you boil away the complex-sounding adjectives, was her primary concern throughout the book - was not the most important part of her relationship with Edward. Deciding she wanted a child would give her a complexity and a maturation that, as a book character, could only make her better. More importantly, it could have made Edward and Bella's relationship a depiction of how there are more important things in the world than how you look.

1 comment:

  1. There's Team Edward and there's Team Jacob. But you're Team Victoria, because she wanted to kill Bella.

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