Monday, February 28, 2011

Chapter 21: The Idiot Plot Tumor Becomes Critical

And this opens just as boring as the last chapter. SMeyer gets bogged down incredibly in mundane bits. Seriously, there is no reason for a scene where a girl watches a psychic vampire sketching visions to be so unutterably dull. She spends numerous words describing exactly what is in every single sketch, but no one is clever enough to put anything together. It's just 'The door was there, the window was there', then Bella announces she knows the place. But since Bella is a nitwit, there's no connection to anything.

"Two pairs of eternal eyes stared at me." I guess this could be a good bit of description, except it's not at all. She has been more interested in describing exactly how outdated Bella's mom's living room is than describing what "eternal eyes" look like.

"Uncharacteristically, Jasper slid closer to me. He lightly touched his hand to my shoulder, and the physical contact seemed to make his calming influence stronger. The panic stayed dull, unfocused." This strikes me as being quite creepy. They're basically drugging Bella to keep her from overreacting. I'm torn on this, since Bella is a ridiculous drama queen, but it still seems like a violation.

""Edward is coming?" The words were like a life vest, holding my head above the flood." Oh GAWD! We've been separated a whole 3 days and I'm DROWNING without him! I'm not a vindictive person, but I honestly don't think most people should put pen to paper until they have experienced real misery. Otherwise, they end up with this sort of overreaction, like it's how they think people really react when bad things happen.

""I can't win, Alice. You can't guard everyone I know forever. Don't you see what he's doing? He's not tracking me at all. He'll find someone, he'll hurt someone I love…Alice, I can't —"" Did it ever occur to any of these people to wonder just how James knows that Bella's mother lives in Arizona? Really, how did he get this bit of information? He couldn't possibly have tracked her by following the car, so how else did he find out? Did he hack the school records? It's implausible that he knows to start looking in Arizona, and even more implausible that he has somehow managed to hit exactly the right address.

"Alice looked meaningfully at Jasper. A deep, heavy fog of lethargy washed over me, and my eyes closed without my permission. My mind struggled against the fog, realizing what was happening. I forced my eyes open and stood up, stepping away from Jasper's hand." So Jasper's magic vampire power is Roofie Hands? I had some hope for Alice not infantilizing Bella, but it seems it's okay for her too.

"I walked to my room and shut the door, slammed it really, so I could be free to go to pieces privately." I'm one of those silent sufferer types, so I would understand the inclination, but she's not talking about privacy. She's leaving so that her vampire babysitters will stop messing with her mind. This is just a whole lot of squick.

"My mind went around in circles, trying to come up with some way out of this nightmare. There was no escape, no reprieve. I could see only one possible end looming darkly in my future." Oh, dear heart, that's just because you're a moron.

"The only question was how many other people would be hurt before I reached it." Only no one has been hurt, except for Charlie, and Bella doesn't care one jot about him. And besides, James didn't hurt him. Didn't even try to hurt him. James actually hasn't tried to hurt anyone yet, so I don't know where she's reaching the conclusion that he's willing to slaughter her family to get to her.

"Maybe, if I could just see his face again, I would also be able to see the solution that eluded me now." Unless the sight of Edward makes you smarter, it won't. And as it's been established that Bella is stupider than ever when Edward is around...

"Just a few more hours to keep breathing till he was here." Because that's not creepy and co-dependent.

"It was a man's tenor voice, a very pleasant, generic voice — the kind of voice that you heard in the background of luxury car commercials." Eh? I mean, I guess this is better description than most of anything we've gotten, but still.

""Now repeat after me, and do try to sound natural. Please say, 'No, Mom, stay where you are.'"" Wait, don't sparklepires have super-hearing? How would Alice not be able to hear what this guy is saying when Bella is in the same room?

""This worked out rather better than I expected. I was prepared to wait, but your mother arrived ahead of schedule. It's easier this way, isn't it? Less suspense, less anxiety for you."" This still makes absolutely no sense. How the blue blazes does this guy know where her mother is, where she was, and where she's supposed to be? And how come it never occurred to Bella to call her mom while she had 3 days of traveling to do it? Don't try to tell me the Cullens don't have cell phones, so why didn't she call her mother on the way, say she couldn't stand it in Forks, and that she's just making a stopover in Phoenix before coming out to Florida? No need to come get her or worry overmuch on her account, she's with friends, she'll see her soon, bye. No drama, no fuss, and no Idiot Plot Tumor.

Following is some banter that seems lifted directly out of a bad cop show. Bella has been told this guy is an absolutely ruthless killer. He's keeping her mother alive as bait, but just how stupid does she have to be to believe that if she dies, her mother will just walk free?

"Next to the phone there will be a number. Call it, and I'll tell you where to go from there."" So Nature Boy has a cell phone, but a minor league baseball player doesn't?

"I knew I had to think, but my head was filled with the sound of my mother's panic." I understand it must be hard to hear your mother's panicky voice, but why didn't Bella demand just another word from her mother? This would ruin the Idiot Plot, I suppose, especially since she already has the information about the video tape and the television, but still. She even asks about Phil, and James doesn't even answer. That should ring at least an alarm bell... and why doesn't she think about calling Phil? Oh wait, Phil doesn't own a phone.

"I pushed the terror back as well as I could." I'm guessing SMeyer wanted to show Bella as being truly self-sacrificing, but she resigns herself to die in an instant. Never thinks about anything else, never tries to think of a plan, never does anything rational at all. Just 'Oh, I've been outmaneuvered, and now I'm going to die'. This is why I say so often that Bella is stupid – she has no imagination, no self-preservation, and logic is anathema to her. She runs on pure emotion at all times, and I really think that is what makes her the worst possible role model for young girls.

"I had to accept that I wouldn't see Edward again, not even one last glimpse of his face to carry with me to the mirror room. I was going to hurt him, and I couldn't say goodbye. I let the waves of torture wash over me, have their way for a time." Boo-fucking-hoo.

""My mom was worried, she wanted to come home. But it's okay, I convinced her to stay away." My voice was lifeless.
"We'll make sure she's fine, Bella, don't worry."" How bad is Alice at reading people that this doesn't set off any alarm bells?

And Bella apologizes for hurting Edward by getting herself killed. She should include a postscript: 'Next time, try to find someone a little smarter. Yrs, B.S.'

"I only hoped he would understand, and listen to me just this once." Keep dreaming, sweet cheeks. The day Edward Cullen deigns to listen to a weak woman thing is the day the Earth goes spiraling off into the sun.