For an explanation of this, go here.
- Bella Swan is the most difficult character I have ever come across
I find it incredible that anybody can identify with Bella. Yet so many reviews that I have read online state exactly this. “Bella is just like any other teenage girl”, “Bella is so easy to identify with”. Bella is sullen, obnoxious, sexist and incapable of existing without validation from men. In short, she is an awful role model for teenage girls, and a terrible person to admit that you identify with! I could attempt to go on at length about how this says something quite frightening about society, but I don’t really have the evidence to back that one up, so instead I’m going to keep complaining about Bella.
At the beginning of Twilight: New Moon Edward leaves Bella. She reacts by curling up in a ball in some wet bracken until she falls unconscious and, when she is finally rescued, retreating into a hollow shell of herself to go through the motions of life without feeling. Stephanie Meyer employs the – frankly quite cheap – and overdramatic metaphor of her being dead to the world by titling four chapters “December”, “November”, “January” (in which no text appears) and then “Waking Up” (in which things happen). To call this an overreaction is an understatement.
Throughout the book Bella insists that “the worst thing in the world” has already happened to her and that her life is worthless without Edward so she is free to put herself in as much danger as she can without regard to her family’s feelings. Everyone but Edward, it seems, it worthless in Bella’s eyes. To say that this is love, or affection, or even understandable, is beyond my reckoning. Bella’s reliance is pathological, unfounded, and is at the expense of everyone else. Wouldn’t it be nice if Bella tried to get over Edward rather than try to die without him? That would be the way a good role model would handle rejection. I’m sure we’ve all felt extremely hard-done-by and that nothing is working, but Bella appears to be some hyperbolic representation of this feeling – her character is built up of nothing else and as such she is one-dimensional.
Eventually, however, Bella comes out of her shell. But only when she makes friends with Jacob. She continues to ignore her schoolmates – especially the girls who she is disdainful of to the reader but civil and polite to their faces – yet because she has found validation in the affection of another male, she is said to have metaphorically re-awakened. I’ll come back to this later, as it has quite serious implications.
Bella treats her schoolfriends, and her father, with contempt. They are not as magical, or as interesting as the Cullens and she believes she is superior to them because she knows something they don’t: she is unable to tell them the truth about Edward. Again, Bella is an exaggerated stereotype, a one-dimensional character who is the ultimate “nobody understands me”. How anyone can emphasise or identify with this is beyond me. She is a difficult character and I think rather a waste. It would be nice to see her fleshed out and more interesting. She exists only to reflect upon Edward and her melodrama, which really is a shame as there could be an interesting dynamic here. Unfortunately, for Bella everything is clear cut; it is Edward or die and Bella chooses Edward.
Which leads me on to point 2…