Chapter 19: Goodbyes

9 Oct

I realize it’s taken me a while to write about this chapter. I’ve been putting it off. This chapter bothered me, and I wasn’t sure how to write about it. I’m not sure how I feel about what Smeyer is doing. On one hand, I’m happy there is finally a plot, but on the other hand, I feel very strange about the plot Smeyer chose. She’s the author, she is in charge of this. Anything could happen. And still, she chooses this?

It’s also bothering me that I am actually thinking this hard about Twilight.

[TRIGGER WARNING: victim blaming]

So, at the end of the last chapter, suddenly things were happening and we were all caught quite off guard. Bella and Edward had devised a plan to lie to Charlie, run away from Forks and hunt James. At least, I think that is what is happening.

I felt moisture filling up my eyes as I looked at Emmett. I barely knew him, and yet, somehow, not knowing when I would see him again after tonight was anguishing. I knew this was just a faint taste of the goodbyes I would have to survive in the next hour, and the thought made the tears begin to spill.

I’m a little weirded out by Bella crying over Emmett, since he has kind of be a jerk to her so far, holding her down in the car against her will as she had a small mental meltdown just a few minutes ago. But… I should probably be used to the stockholm syndrome by now.

Bella launches The Plan into action by hamming up the tears and telling Edward not to listen to anything else she says tonight. She begins by screaming at Edward, running upstairs to her room, slamming the door behind her, and screaming at Charlie to leave her alone as she packs her bags. Poor Charlie is terrified that Edward has hurt her. OH CHARLIE!!!

Someone, please, give this man a hug. Best Dad Ever.

Bella pretends she broke up with Edward. Naturally, this confuses Charlie.

He spun me around to look at him, and I could see in his face that he had no intention of letting me leave. I could think of only one way to escape, and it involved hurting him so much that I hated myself for even considering it. But I had no time, and I had to keep him safe. I glared up at my father, fresh tears in my eyes for what I was about to do.

“I do like him — that’s the problem. I can’t do this anymore! I can’t put down any more roots here! I don’t want to end up trapped in this stupid, boring town like Mom! I’m not going to make the same dumb mistake she did. I hate it — I can’t stay here another minute!”

His hand dropped from my arm like I’d electrocuted him. I turned away from his shocked, wounded face and headed for the door.

Officially depressed forever. At the very least, Bella has the humanity to feel bad abut what she is doing… but she does it regardless. If this isn’t one of the saddest, most manipulative things you’ve ever heard, let me put this in context for you: these are the same words Bella’s mother said when she left Charlie. The mistake Bella and her mother made was Charlie.

“Just let me go, Charlie.” I repeated my mother’s last words as she’d walked out this same door so many years ago. I said them as angrily as I could manage, and I threw the door open. “It didn’t work out, okay? I really, really hate Forks!” My cruel words did their job — Charlie stayed frozen on the doorstep, stunned, while I ran into the night.

Can someone please give Charlie a hug? Please? He’s done nothing wrong. He wasn’t even a jerk to Bella’s mum, so the divorce wasn’t even his fault. He is a genuinely wonderful person, perhaps the only one in this entire book. And what does Meyer do? She decides to destroy him.

This is where I am having a hard time. I like when bad things happen in books. I like having my heart torn apart with empathy for the characters. I like to understand why bad people do the bad things they do, and I like the tragedy of bad things happening to good people. That is what makes a story incredible. But what is happening here isn’t like that. The conflict was so out of the blue and so rushed into that it still feels as disgustingly contrived as the rest of the novel. I feel utterly confused at how quickly things are suddenly happening. I feel like none of the characters have real motives. It feels like Smeyer just needed some kind of tragedy to happen, so she picked the worst thing that popped into her head, even though it didn’t make sense and didn’t flow with the rest of the book.

I also have a problem with how fucking predictable this is. As if women have never been portrayed as manipulative, overemotional, irrational bitches before. It bothers me deeply that Meyer’s solution is to get Bella to have a fit and say Charlie has ruined her life, because it is precisely what any chauvinist would expect from a woman. And then, and then, Smeyer still has the gall to turn around and say Bella is a feminist icon.

The worst part about all of this is that the plan isn’t going to work. According to Charlie, Renée, Bella’s mum, is going to be moving back to Phoenix from Florida early, and it seems the tracker heard the end of Bella’s performance, so once Bella is speeding away with the Cullens, it seems the tracker is running after them, and will likely catch up with them soon. All that, for nothing. This isn’t tragedy. Tragedy is good. This is just terrible.

Edward manages to make me even angrier:

It is partially your fault.” His voice was wry. “If you didn’t smell so appallingly luscious, he might not have bothered.”

What. The. Fuck. This is one step away from saying, “if you didn’t have boobs, I wouldn’t have raped you. It is entirely your fault.” THANKS, religious thinking, for reminding me ONCE AGAIN that women are the cause of all bad in the world! I’m so sick of this theme coming up again and again in this novel. How can any of you read this stuff and not see anything wrong with it?

Anyway… eventually they show up chez Cullen, and a bunch of stuff is going on that I don’t understand. There is a lot of banter about what everyone is going to do, and a lot of it involves discussing how Bella smells, just to freak me out a little bit more.

Jasper and I looked at each other. He stood across the length of the entryway from me… being careful.

“You’re wrong, you know,” he said quietly.

“What?” I gasped.

“I can feel what you’re feeling now — and you are worth it.”

“I’m not,” I mumbled. “If anything happens to them, it will be for nothing.”

“You’re wrong,” he repeated, smiling kindly at me.

I like you, Jasper.

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2 Responses to “Chapter 19: Goodbyes”

  1. jmjbookblog October 9, 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    As always I enjoy reading your interpretation…I think one reason that the book did not bother me was because I was married to a male chauvenist for a very long time and I became conditioned to a way of thinking that did not allow me to see a lot of what you are able to see. That is probably one of the reasons I so enjoy your posts of each chapter…blow by blow…they make me see the actions and dialogue in a whole new light. Ironically, it was my ex who divorced me after 34 years of marriage…it didn’t take me long to realize that he actually did both of us a favor! :)

    • Amy-jean October 10, 2010 at 1:06 pm #

      I’m really sorry to hear that, but I’m happy to hear it’s all over now. In a very small way, I know what you went through. My first boyfriend was also extremely chauvinistic, to say the very least, and I so regret now that it was he who dumped me, not the other way around. Like you, I thought the way he treated me was totally fine and normal. And that’s the reason I’m doing this blog. No one ever told me that it wasn’t okay for a boy to hit me or to say those things to me, which is why Twilight strikes a special nerve with me. It’s telling girls that this kind of treatment is not only okay, but that they should WANT it. If I can show at least one person how wrong this is, if I can make it so one less person has to be treated the way you and I were, then I’ve accomplished what I wanted to.
      Thanks so much for sharing this with me :)

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