Friday, February 18, 2011

Vampire Marathon, Part I

Let's get this started.
6:53 pm: "When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end" (1). Is that how things work? The better something is, the better you feel when it's over?

6:58 pm: "When I landed in Port Angeles, it was raining. I didn't see it as an omen--just unavoidable. I'd already said my goodbyes to the sun" (5). Bella's not a glass half-full type, is she?

7:00 pm: "It was beautiful, of course; I couldn't deny that. Everything was green: the trees, their trunks covered with moss, their branches hanging with a canopy of it, the ground covered with ferns. Even the air filtered down greenly through the leaves.
It was too green--an alien planet." Seriously not half-full. 'This view is too scenic!' 'There's too many colors in that sunset!'

7:03 pm: "It was nice to be alone, not to have a smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape. I wasn't in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save that for bedtime, when I would have to think about the coming morning." Yeah, you don't want to spend all your crying jags up right away. I'll admit, having grown up in a school with just over 100 students, I really don't have a lot of sympathy for her dread of a place with "a frightening total of only three hundred and fifty-seven" students.

7:09 pm. "I can do this, I lied to myself, feebly. No one was going to bite me." (14) Foreshadowing!

7:11 pm. "My Trigonometry teacher, Mr. Varner, who I would have hated anyway just because of the subject he taught, was the only one who made me stand in front of the class and introduce myself." (17) Whom, Bella. Whom. If you want to broody and emo, I'm not going to stop you, but at least do it using the right pronouns. It's about standards.

7:14 pm. "I stared because their faces, so different, so similar, were all devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful. They were faces you never expected to see except perhaps on the airbrushed pages of a fashion magazine. Or painted by an old master as the face of an angel." (19) All right, I did like the pairing of those two metaphors, and the disparity between them. Way to po-mo it, Bella.

7:19 pm. A tumultuous beginning to the Edward/Bella relationship: "I sat frozen in my seat, staring blankly after him. He was so mean. It wasn't fair. I began gathering up my things slowly, trying to block the anger that filled me, for fear my eyes would tear up." Note that Edward has, at this point, no interaction with Bella whatsoever beyond shooting her a dirty look.

7:22 pm. "At home, only two years of P.E. were required. Here, P.E. was mandatory all four years. Forks was literally my personal hell on earth." I don't think that word means what you think it means.

7:25 pm. "I had decided to read Wuthering Heights--the novel we were currently studying in English--yet again for the fun of it." Recall that this is the book where one character thinks fondly of partitions of his coffin breaking so that his rotting corpse can be fully intermingled with the body of his beloved. This choice probably tells us a lot about Bella.

7:31 pm. "His hair was dripping, wet, disheveled--even so, he looked like he'd just finished shooting a commercial for hair gel. His dazzling face was friendly, open, a slight smile on his flawless lips. But his eyes were careful." All right, I was joking before, but it's interesting how Bella's go-to metaphors for Edward's beauty all involves placing him in the context of some form of medium: a commercial, an ad, a movie, a sculpture.

7:41 pm. "That was the first night I dreamed of Edward Cullen." Dream sequence!

7:43 pm. "I watched him sometimes, unable to stop myself--from a distance, though, in the cafeteria or parking lot. I watched as his golden eyes grew perceptibly darker day by day. But in class I gave no more notice that he existed than he showed toward me. I was miserable. And the dreams continued." Ah, teenage love. So deep, and yet so hard to distinguish from stalking.

7:48 pm. "I wasn't interesting. And he was. Interesting... and brilliant... and mysterious... and perfect... and beautiful... and possibly able to lift full-sized vans with one hand." (79) Man, in high school, I always lost the girl to the guy who was possibly able to lift full-sized vans with one hand. Not because I couldn't lift vans with one hand; I could. But once I had, the possibility that I might or might not was gone. Girls like a bit of mystery.

7:53 pm. "I was planning to go to Seattle in the next few weeks, and, to be honest, I'm not sure if your truck can make it. ...can your truck make it there on one tank of gas? ...The wasting of finite resources is everyone's business." (83) Edward Cullen, ladies and gentlemen. Vampire, van-lifter, and eco-critic. (Although he does get some points for at least attempting to inject some humor.)

8:07 pm. "The bouquets of brilliant anemones undulated ceaselessly in the invisible current, twisted shells scurried about the edges, obscuring the crabs within them, starfish struck motionless to the rocks and each other, while one small black eel with white racing stripes wove through the bright green weeds, waiting for the sea to return." That's a rather convoluted sentence, but it's nice to Bella neither unhappy nor brooding over Edward.
"...I was completely absorbed, except for one small part of my mind that wondered what Edward was doing now, and trying to imagine what he would be saying if he were here with me." Oh. Never mind.

8:15 pm. P 130. Hmmm. A third of the way through the book, and we're already in our second dream sequence.

8:19 pm. P135. Bella finds a vampire-oriented website: Vampires A-Z. Which some enterprising fan has turned into a real website. Which is a little obsessive, but, well, one of my favorite blogs is of a guy who reviews 1990-era comic books, so I won't be too quick to criticize someone on that score. But I looked at the posts, and found this:

OMG! thats awesome, this means that Stephenie Meyer didn't just make up the concept of vampires, she just borrowed the facts! that means that vampires really could exist, and so could edward cullen! Yay, thats awesomeeee I am reading the book now andit is exactly the same, well almost
iloveyouedward xx love, twilights biggest fan

Put aside the fact that the site was created in 2006, and the book published in 2005. The important thing here is that someone believed Stephanie Meyer made up vampires. Brahm Stoker wrote Dracula 113 years ago. Vampire myths date back centuries and exist across cultures. The last movie in the Blade trilogy came out in 2004. But this person believes Meyer invented vampires. The mind, it boggles.

8:34 pm. Bella tries reading some Jane Austen: "My favorites were Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. I'd read the first most recently, so I started into Sense and Sensibility, only to remember after I began chapter three that the hero of the story happened to be named Edward. Angrily, I turned to Mansfield Park, but the hero of that piece was named Edmund, and that was just too close. Weren't there any other names available in the late eighteenth century?" I was going to make a snobby comment about Bella mixing up her centuries, but a bit of research suggests that some of Austen's books were at least started in the 18th century, though they were all published later. You win this round, Bella.

...All right, I'm going to call it quits for a night. I'm at page 150, which is actually a much quicker pace than I'd anticipated, but I want to drag this thing out to at least two days, so a break is in order. I have to admit, it's not as bad I thought it would be. It's eye-rollingly moody, and certainly not on the level of the literary works it keeps dropping, but it's not the litany of howlingly bad lines that I'd expected. If anything, it's disappointing in how utterly mundane it is. Why, at this point in a Sooky Stackhouse novel, she would have given at least a half dozen speeches about Bill's effect on her libido. Libido, of course, having just come up on her word-a-day calendar.
...Hmmm... maybe that's a potential candidate for the next marathon...

Later Days.

No comments: