I read New Moon by Stephenie Meyer over the past weekend. I talked a bit about the first book, Twilight which I really enjoyed. I was looking forward to the sequel. What happens in New Moon is that Edward dumps Bella. She doesn’t take it so well.
Edit: I did like Edward and Bella in the first book. He was the perfect first boyfriend and she was charmingly naive. But Edward, other than being the catalyst, is inconsequential here. Bella is never that perceptive at best, and her emotions cloud her judgment to an alarming degree in this book. I have nothing but happy thoughts about Jacob, though.
The rest is my consideration of Bella’s relationships, and I am assuming that you’ve read both books already.
Bella. Her lack of self-worth is not particularly unusual for someone of her age. I can believe that she’d desperately cling to any boy who could reassure her that she is “special.” I also believe that she’d feel that her world had ended when she lost her beloved.
Still, I wonder if she’d love him so much if she felt she was important without him. I note that she’s desperately afraid to get any older than 18. Heh. She’ll have to grow up sometime.
Edward. Meyer’s constant descriptions of his cold body are interesting. Bella feels like she’s being held by a block of ice every time he holds her. She has to protect herself with blankets. It’s an unpalatable description for an idealized lover. But I think Bella likes him because he is cold: affectless and surprisingly asexual. He’s a mystery man and she doesn’t have to deal with a real person. It seems likely that Bella appreciates that that he’s unobtainable.
He has common fantasy character affliction of being too physically strong to have sex with her. I understand this is a metaphor for youthful untried sexuality. But it shows up in lots of paranormal romances and superhero stories. (See Niven’s infamous Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex or this lengthy discussion.) Basically, it’s a matter of can’t have sex with you ’cause I’m too virile. (*eyeroll*). Still, Edward barely seems to notice.
Jacob. The little bit I’ve read on the Internet about this series seems to suggest that people don’t like Jacob, the werewolf. I don’t know what he does in the next couple of books. I can hardly think he’s at fault in this book. Unlike Edward, Jacob is nothing but heat. He’s warm, open-hearted, and he’d be obtainable at the slightest signal from Bella. He’s not mysterious. His one secret he tells as soon as he can.
There is the horrible subtext of spousal abuse because the werewolf power is connected with rage. I could understand that Bella would avoid him for that reason. But I think her rejection is because he wears his heart on his sleeve. Poor guy, he’ll never win her that way.
Another thing I notice is the class difference between the two of them. Edward is wealthy and comes from an old family. His one interest is composing music but he doesn’t pursue it as career. He’s more of a dilettante. He’s parasitic in his superpowers. His one contribution to the world is to not murder everyone in reach.
Jacob is from a Native American reservation; his community appears to be marginalized to a certain extent. He has much less money than Edward, though he shares the same degree of cultural heritage. He’s a talented mechanic and he tends his father who is in a wheelchair. Even his supernatural abilities are based on service to his community and to humanity.
Maybe Bella should stick with the purely human. I remember reading in Edith Hamilton’s Mythology that when a woman was being being wooed by a god and a mortal man, she should choose the mortal. That is, if she wanted happiness and a long life.