Chapter 9: Third Wheel

22 Jan

I’m back!

In this chapter of New Moon, Meyer picks up and drops various inane plot points that seem to go nowhere for pages and pages while Bella rapidly descends into legitimate insanity over her separation from Edward and her growing affection for Jacob. By legitimate insanity, what I mean is that it is my unprofessional opinion (based on my roommate’s copy of the DSM-IV) that Bella has a textbook case of Borderline Personality Disorder and should seek help immediately.

First, about my absence. I apologize for the slowing and halt of posts, but I think I should be back on track now. First there were exams, then the holidays, then a bunch of crazy things happened and I am only now settling into a routine of 30 hour work weeks and two classes and learning Spanish and trying to make it to the gym sometimes and still having time for my boyfriend and video games. What I am trying to say is I think I might have actually gotten a life, Internet. I didn’t mean to.

Anyway, I can commit to two chapters minimum a week on my days off work. Hopefully more because I don’t want to be reading Twilight forever.

Without further ado, Chapter 9: Third Wheel.

If Bella were a real person rather than a fictional character, she would need professional medical help immediately. The worst part? Smeyer is still glorifying the way Bella acts. Is Smeyer unaware, or just mentally unstable herself?

In case you are not familiar with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), here is what we are dealing with:

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, as well as marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating,substance abuse, reckless driving).
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms

This is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

1. Chronic feelings of emptiness

“I was like a lost moon – my planet destroyed in some cataclysmic, disaster-movie scenario of desolation – that continued, nevertheless, to circle in a tight little orbit around the empty space left behind, ignoring the laws of gravity.” (pg 201)

First of all, Smeyer should be put in the Writers’ Prison for that embarrassing attempt at a metaphor and for foreshadowing the use of the title of her book like that, and also in Science Prison for not understanding what gravity is and isn’t. Beyond that, holy fuck, Bella. First you are a zombie, and now you are a fucking piece of rock in space spinning mindlessly around an invisible planet. What the fuck.

Look, I get it. Heartbreak sucks. I’ve been there. And I have completely gotten over it, despite my actual mental illness. Bella, seriously, go to the ER. The only thing more disturbing than how frequently and clearly Bella is expressing that her life is over is how Smeyer is almost glorifying this aspect of Bella. I don’t think Smeyer knows how Romeo and Juliet actually ends.

2. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment and 3. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging and 4. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior

The chapter continues with Bella talking about riding her bike.

I was getting better with my bike, which meant fewer bandages to worry Charlie. But it also meant that the voice in my head began to fade, until I head it no more. Quietly, I panicked. I threw myself into the search for the meadow with slightly frenzied intensity. I racked my brain for other adrenaline-producing activities. (pg. 202)

This part is becoming less funny and absurd and more and more sad. It’s Smeyer’s language that really bothers me. Bella isn’t self-harming, she is “pursuing adrenaline-producing activities.” It’s as if Smeyer knows exactly what she is doing and is trying to portray self-harm in some sort of positive light. Look, Smeyer. You spend an entire book and a third drilling into our heads that Bella is the world’s biggest klutz and that merely moving causes her harm. Doing something like riding a motorbike is Bella’s way of cutting. It is not okay to glorify this sort of thing. These are real problems that lots of real people really have.

This point also brings us to
5. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms

I don’t think I have to spell this one out for you. She hears Edward’s voice. In her head. I don’t think I need to argue too much as to whether or not she is delusional. It’s glaringly obvious at this point.

6. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

This isn’t particularly evident in this chapter, but was painfully real all through the first book. Bella’s constant comparisons between her and Edward (remember that time she and Edward accidentally matched their clothes? Bella’s reaction was something along the lines of “why does he always look like a runway model when I look so ugly?”) and the way she acted when she was new at school are both solid cases for “unstable self-image.”

7. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

This is perhaps the more well-known, or at least most characteristic criterion of BPD. At least, it is where most of the stigma comes from: the manipulation of others, which is often paired with habitual lying. Beyond that, Bella has an extremely warped view of the people in her life (Mike is “vile”, Charlie is “unfair” and “smothering”, the glorification of Edward; and, in this chapter, Bella’s twisted view of Jacob becomes even more absurd).

The rest of the chapter pretty much plays out like an example of this criterion.

It is Valentine’s Day, but Bella didn’t notice until Jacob gave her a little thing of candies and asked her to be his Valentine. Bella panics a little, wondering how to not lead him on while still leading him on. So she invites him to go to the movies with her. Makes sense to me.

The next day in school, Bella invites Mike to the movies with her as well. Thinking he’s finally getting to go on that date, Mike is overjoyed… until Bella invites everyone else she knows. Mike is clearly bothered by this, but agrees anyway for a chance to hang out with Bella. Just in case this all wasn’t insulting enough, Bella tells Mike they are going to need him for his minivan.

In the end, everyone either says they can’t go because they hate Bella, or because they are sick with the stomach flu. So it’s just the three of them: Jacob, Mike and Bella. The two boys fight for Bella’s attention, and Bella denies them both, while observing their actions in an almost evilly amused way.

It wouldn’t bother me so much if Bella wasn’t so completely aware of how she is manipulating these boys. I’m starting to wonder if Smeyer is just evil at this point.

Yet I knew I wouldn’t send him [Jacob] away, regardless. I needed him too much, and I was selfish. Maybe I could make my side more clear, so that he would know to leave me. (pg.217)

and just two pages later

But I needed Jacob now, needed him like a drug. I’d used him as a crutch for too long, and I was deeper than I’d planned to go with anyone again. Now I couldn’t bear for him to be hurt, and I couldn’t keep from hurting him, either. (pg.219)

Let’s see… you could keep from hurting him by not being a MANIPULATIVE EVIL BITCHFACE. Or, in case you are actually ill and can’t help it, if you would just listen to your concerned father and GET SOME PSYCHIATRIC HELP ALREADY.

Instead of just going to the movies with Jacob and enjoying his wonderful company, instead of just admitting that Edward was a jerk and he is long gone, instead of accepting her feelings for Jacob and returning the feelings he has for her… instead of acting like a sane human being, Bella also invites Mike, who she knows still has a crush on her along with the entire cafeteria crowd, who Bella doesn’t even like.

Why? Because she doesn’t want to admit she likes Jacob, so she uses Mike’s feelings for her to her own advantage. And she strings Jacob along anyway, to boost her self-esteem or something to see him pining for her.

And Smeyer doesn’t write as if this is wrong. She writes as if this is totally fine. The self-awareness of it all is so fucking spooky and depressing.

Then there is the lying that Bella seems to just do for fun. On the way to the movies, Mike asks why the radio isn’t on, and Jacob tells him that Bella doesn’t like music.

“How can you not like music?” Mike demanded.

I shrugged. “I don’t know. It just irritates me.” (pg.209)




Bella lies constantly. To everyone. When someone incessantly lies when there is no reason to lie, that person has a serious problem. That person may be Stephenie Meyer.

Bella decides they are going to watch a super gory movie because Bella is still afraid of seeing people holding hands, and Mike runs to the bathroom after a little while to be sick. Bella and Jacob go to check on him, and wait for him outside the bathroom. While they are sitting there, Jacob puts his arm around Bella. Bella finally tells Jacob that she doesn’t like him like that. Jacob becomes EXTREMELY ADORABLE AND WONDERFUL and tells Bella that he understands she’s still hung up on He Who Must Not Be Named, and that he will be happy as long as Bella likes him best, even if it’s just as friends. He says he’ll be happy as long as she is as happy as she can possibly be, and that he will always be there for her because she knows she is sad a lot of the time. Oh my goodness, Bella. You are not worthy. Marry this divine creature immediately.

If you recall, Edward said similar things to her about how “he’ll never hurt her,” but it was coupled with throwing trees around and generally scaring the living bejesus out of her.

Despite being more or less PERFECT in this chapter, Bella’s view of Jacob is incredibly warped and delusional. I don’t know how to even begin with this mind fuckery.

How much I wished that Jacob Black had been born my brother, my flesh-and-blood brother, so that I would have some legitimate claim on him that still left me free of any blame now. Heaven knows I had never wanted to use Jacob, but I couldn’t help but interpret the guilt I felt now to mean that I had. (pg.218)

Okay. So Bella just spent the past half hour or so holding hands with Jacob while he spilled his guts to her about how much he likes her and how he will always be there for her and how much she means to him. It was adorable and cute and so very plain that they should be together, that they like each other, that they could have something good and beautiful and healthy.

Instead of enjoying her time with Jacob and being grateful to have him in her life, Bella reacts to this by wishing she could be free of the “guilt” of liking Jacob by being related to him.

I CAN NOT EVEN BEGIN TO EXPLAIN HOW FUCKED UP THIS IS. “I’m sorry Jacob, you are very attractive and I love you very much but we cannot be together because I’m not really into that incest thing!” WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK



Please, Bella. Check yourself into a mental hospital immediately before you hurt yourself or others any more than you already have. It’s getting really sad at this point.


2 Responses to “Chapter 9: Third Wheel”

  1. Kam October 8, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    You share interesting things here. I think
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  2. Jada March 16, 2016 at 10:03 pm #

    As someone with BPD this is offensive! Smeyer is for once not portraying us as monsters! You are the stigma! Unless you have BPD you have no right to say any of this.

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