Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chapter 13: Which is More Pornographic than Pornography

“I couldn’t get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon.” I’m beginning to think that the PDF modified all these gets…

“His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal.” And here it is people. Perhaps the most infamous passage in the book. Well, it’s not going to dissect itself:

First: Regular diamonds do not sparkle. They have a sheen, but they sparkle because they are faceted when they are cut. This is why his smooth skin sparkling does not make sense. He skin should at least feel like shark skin – smooth one way, rough another.

Second: Hello, Mr. Webster. So nice to see you again, my dear old friend.
in⋅can⋅des⋅cent [in-kuhn-des-uhnt] – adjective
1. (of light) produced by incandescence.
2. glowing or white with heat.
3. intensely bright; brilliant.
4. brilliant; masterly; extraordinarily lucid: an incandescent masterpiece; incandescent wit.
5. aglow with ardor, purpose, etc.: the incandescent vitality of youth.

scin⋅til⋅lat⋅ing [sin-tl-ey-ting] –adjective
1. animated; vivacious; effervescent: a scintillating personality.
2. witty; brilliantly clever: a scintillating conversationalist; a play full of scintillating dialogue.

Third: Lavender is always pale. That’s why it’s lavender and not some other shade of purple. Though how this paragraph could get more purple is beyond me. Also… why is he lying down in the sun, his shirt open and his eyes closed? It sounds like he’s there to shoot a perfume commercial, or he’s just laying it on really, really thick. She also never establishes him lying down. He gets into the meadow and the next thing you know, he’s posing for ‘Chagrin, the new fragrance by Stephenie Meyer’.

Fourth: Is this girl really sexually attracted to statues?

“I enjoyed the sun, too, though the air wasn't quite dry enough for my taste.” God, this girl would argue with the breeze. Which… yeah. She’s doing. Nothing is ever good enough for her.

“I would have liked to lie back, as he did, and let the sun warm my face. But I stayed curled up, my chin resting on my knees, unwilling to take my eyes off him.” She’s so hard up that she can’t bear to do what she really wants, because then she wouldn’t be staring at him. How’s that for a healthy relationship dynamic?

“The meadow, so spectacular to me at first, paled next to his magnificence.” You have it here, folks. Edward Cullen is Jesus.

“hesitantly, I reached out one finger and stroked the back of his shimmering hand, where it lay within my reach. I marveled again at the perfect texture, satin smooth, cool as stone.” And he sounds like a description for a sex toy, rather than a person. She’s certainly not thinking about his mind here.

“His quick smile turned up the corners of his flawless lips.
"I don't scare you?" he asked playfully, but I could hear the real curiosity in his soft voice.” Even now he’s laughing at her. She’s just so sexually fascinated that she doesn’t realize it.

“"Do you mind?" I asked, for he had closed his eyes again.
"No," he said without opening his eyes. "You can't imagine how that feels." He sighed.” … And this book promotes chastity. Right.

“"Tell me what you're thinking," he whispered. I looked to see his eyes watching me, suddenly intent. "It's still so strange for me, not knowing."” Again, he’s just obsessed with being inside everybody’s head. He’s a busybody. ‘Tell me what you’re thinking’ is romantic, until he adds that little addendum that it drives him crazy to not just know, especially since he sneers at every other person because of their thoughts.

“"I don't want you to be afraid." His voice was just a soft murmur. I heard what he couldn't truthfully say, that I didn't need to be afraid, that there was nothing to fear.” She says she’s afraid of him… but… this is just getting weirdly inconsistent. She’s not afraid of him but she is afraid of him but she’s not. What?

“"What are you afraid of, then?" he whispered intently.” Second time she’s used “intently” in two pages. Also, you’ve already told her you could kill and eat her and she’s made sure no one will ever know. So I would guess that would be what she was afraid of.

“Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water. It was unlike anything else.” … she’s talking about his breath. That’s just gross, especially since he’s got dead animal on his breath.

“"I'm… sorry… Edward," I whispered. I knew he could hear.” She practically in tears because he ran away when she began sniffing his breath. While granted, that is really weird, that seems like an overreaction.

“Adrenaline pulsed through my veins as the realization of danger slowly sank in. He could smell that from where he sat.” So he’s an adrenaline sucking vampire?

“Unexpectedly, he was on his feet, bounding away, instantly out of sight, only to appear beneath the same tree as before, having circled the meadow in half a second.” You know, the physics of that boggle the mind.

“"As if you could fight me off," he said gently.” His voice has been described as mocking and bitter throughout this scene where he is deliberately intimidating her. The gentleness seems straight out of the Abusive Boyfriend’s Handbook, to quote RiffTrax.

“I sat without moving, more frightened of him than I had ever been.” Meta-Bella is being rather sensible, since he’s just shattered a tree branch and threatened to kill her.

“He'd never been less human… or more beautiful.” This is where SMeyer excuses herself by saying that she’s anti-human. In reality, it’s deeply disturbing that Edward’s humanity makes him less attractive.

“His lovely eyes seem to glow with rash excitement.” What?

“"Don't be afraid," he murmured, his velvet voice unintentionally seductive.” I’m sure it’s totally intentional. He’s already told you that his looks are perfect for drawing her in and making her easier to eat. The only problem is, that’s a lie, because other people find him creepy and off-putting. That’s a pretty lousy predator.

“He sat sinuously, with deliberately unhurried movements, till our faces were on the same level, just a foot apart.” The sinuous part would work much better as an adjective than an adverb.

Wrong: He sat sinuously.
Right: He sat down with sinuous grace / He sat in a sinuous motion.

“"Please forgive me," he said formally.” That’s not formal.

“"So where were we, before I behaved so rudely?" he asked in the gentle cadences of an earlier century.” Wait, what? This makes no sense. At all. I talk like that myself, but no one calls my speech old fashioned. Also, the earlier century is the last one. He was born in 1901 and the book was written in 2003. Not that huge a difference, speech-wise.

“I looked down at his hand and doodled aimlessly across his smooth, iridescent palm.”

ir⋅i⋅des⋅cent [ir-i-des-uhnt] –adjective
1. displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of the rainbow.

That makes no sense. Also, she’s used ‘smooth’ to describe his skin three times in this chapter alone.

“"How easily frustrated I am," he sighed.” This comes out of left field entirely. She’s playing with his hand and he just says this. He also doesn’t really elaborate on what he means… so this is just random “old” talk.

“"Don't be!" He withdrew his hand, more gently this time; his voice was harsher than usual. Harsh for him, still more beautiful than any human voice. It was hard to keep up — his sudden mood changes left me always a step behind, dazed.” That’s because his mood swings are abnormal. They show him to be a deeply disturbed person at the very least. Also, so you know, he’s angry at her that she’s happy that he’s too selfish to leave her alone. Time for more death threats…

This whole scene… rather, this whole chapter is appalling. I’m not getting very far with randomly cutting and pasting lines, because they’re all equally bad, wrong, and creepy. It’s stalker-badong. Seriously, I finished reading Lady Chatterly’s Lover a few days ago, and it wasn’t this dirty. I wrote a paper on libertine pornographic novels from the Restoration, with an emphasis on Fanny Hill, and it wasn’t this dirty. The only thing I can safely say I’ve read that is more pornographic than this chapter is 120 Days of Sodom. Perhaps it’s because this is pretending to be pure and innocent, because they’re just holding hands, but this isn’t sexual tension. It’s sexual degradation. Comparing this to honest pornography or honestly sexually explicit novels is like comparing a sexually aggressive woman with a cocktease. That’s what this whole chapter is: a massive cocktease. Every syllable, every look, every touch is about sex – violent, degrading, porno sex. It’s practically rape on the page. But it’s pretending that it’s about sunshine and rainbows and cupcakes with Care Bears on them. I’m going to need a long shower after I finish this.

“"You see, every person smells different, has a different essence. If you locked an alcoholic in a room full of stale beer, he'd gladly drink it. But he could resist, if he wished to, if he were a recovering alcoholic. Now let's say you placed in that room a glass of hundred-year-old brandy, the rarest, finest cognac — and filled the room with its warm aroma — how do you think he would fare then?"” Again, he tells her that the only reason he wants to stay around her is because she smells like nom. NOM NOM NOM. Also, way to get to your target audience of tweens.

“"So what you're saying is, I'm your brand of heroin?" I teased, trying to lighten the mood.” That… heroin isn’t really brand named, is it?

“He hasn't had time to grow sensitive to the differences in smell, in flavor."” So… not drinking human blood makes you break down the subtle differences and crave it more. Sounds like a really bad thing, actually. It also doesn’t make any sense.

“"What are you asking? My permission?" My voice was sharper than I'd intended. I tried to make my tone kinder — I could guess what his honesty must cost him. "I mean, is there no hope, then?" How calmly I could discuss my own death!” So at first she’s mad that he’s basically just told her it would be like an AA member taking a small drink or a dieter eating a piece of pie for him to eat her. A minor slip-up. And yet, she can’t stay rightfully angry that he would consider murdering her and drinking her blood a minor slip-up. Anyone got a clue-by-four to whap this girl in the head with?

“Who were you, an insignificant little girl" — he grinned suddenly — "to chase me from the place I wanted to be?” This is during his whole rant about how manfully he resisted murdering her. It’s dripping with misogyny and it’s disgusting.

“"It was unquestionably a complication that I couldn't simply read your thoughts to know what your reaction was to me. I wasn't used to having to go to such circuitous measures, listening to your words in Jessica's mind… her mind isn't very original, and it was annoying to have to stoop to that. And then I couldn't know if you really meant what you said. It was all extremely irritating." He frowned at the memory.” Oh you poor baby.

“But you were too interesting” Now there’s a blatant lie.

“Common sense told me I should be terrified. Instead, I was relieved to finally understand. And I was filled with compassion for his suffering, even now, as he confessed his craving to take my life.” That’s not compassion, that’s psychosis.

“"Esme told me to do whatever I had to in order to stay." He shook his head indulgently.” Because women are weak and silly little creatures, and they only see as far as their golden child.

“"I'm an idiot."
"You are an idiot," he agreed with a laugh.” Yes, she is. And so are you.

“Most humans instinctively shy away from us, are repelled by our alienness …” This directly contradicts what he said about being the perfect predator. If only shallow idiots like Bella are taken in by the beauty, there’s no point to it.

“I knew at any moment it could be too much, and my life could end — so quickly that I might not even notice. And I couldn't make myself be afraid. I couldn't think of anything, except that he was touching me.” Because sexual satisfaction is more important than being alive.

“No one could be still like Edward. He closed his eyes and became as immobile as stone, a carving under my hand.” No, a corpse under your hand. Necrophilia! You know, for kids!

“"There are other hungers. Hungers I don't even understand, that are foreign to me."
"I may understand that better than you think."
"I'm not used to feeling so human. Is it always like this?"” Because they’re talking about sex, but they really can’t be open about it, because they don’t know each other at all.

“He held my hands between his. They felt so feeble in his iron strength.” And she gets off on that. I admit, I like a manly man, but I don’t like feeling powerless.

“I placed my cheek against his stone chest. I could hear his breath, and nothing else.” Why does he breathe? He’s dead.

“His mouth twitched up into that crooked smile so beautiful my heart nearly stopped.” This would just be purple prose, but SMeyer really believes that sexiness can make the heart stop. Which is why so many people died watching Marlon Brando take off his shirt in A Streetcar Named Desire.

“"Come on, little coward, climb on my back."” Aw, his first pet name for her!

“He smiled as he read my hesitation, and reached for me. My heart reacted; even though he couldn't hear my thoughts, my pulse always gave me away. He then proceeded to sling me onto his back, with very little effort on my part, besides, when in place, clamping my legs and arms so tightly around him that it would choke a normal person.” She doesn’t do what he wants instantly, so he does it for her. Nice.

“There was no resisting the iron strength of his hands. Then he pulled me around to face him, cradling me in his arms like a small child. He held me for a moment, then carefully placed me on the springy ferns.” Standard ‘That’s disgusting’ response.

“"Silly Bella," he chuckled. "Running is second nature tome, it's not something I have to think about."” Typo, page 132.

“Not the way a man might hesitate before he kissed a woman, to gauge her reaction, to see how he would be received.” She explains he’s hesitating to test himself, but it seems like another power play.

“And then his cold, marble lips pressed very softly against mine.
What neither of us was prepared for was my response.
Blood boiled under my skin, burned in my lips. My breath came in a wild gasp. My fingers knotted in his hair, clutching him to me. My lips parted as I breathed in his heady scent.
Immediately I felt him turn to unresponsive stone beneath my lips. His hands gently, but with irresistible force, pushed my face back. I opened my eyes and saw his guarded expression.” I told you it was pornographic. Does anyone else feel nauseated reading that?

“His eyes were wild, his jaw clenched in acute restraint, yet he didn't lapse from his perfect articulation.” Someone got a thesaurus for Christmas! And yet, no dictionary…

“His hands refused to let me move so much as an inch.
"No, it's tolerable. Wait for a moment, please." His voice was polite, controlled.” Ick ick ick….

“And I felt all the more besotted by him. It would cause me physical pain to be separated from him now.” Again, that’s not love. That’s a mental illness.

“"Nope. Not a chance."
He raised his eyebrows in disbelief.
I started to step around him, heading for the driver's side. He might have let me pass if I hadn't wobbled slightly. Then again, he might not have. His arm created an inescapable snare around my waist.” She already told him that SHE is driving. Like he promised. First he gets shocked that she defies him, then he physically prevents her from going against his orders.

“There was no way around it; I couldn't resist him in anything. I held the key high and dropped it, watching his hand flash like lightning to catch it soundlessly. "Take it easy — my truck is a senior citizen."
"Very sensible," he approved.” No, not sensible. This is sick and twisted and disgusting and gross and badwrong. This whole chapter has made me feel unclean. I’m going to go bathe.