New Moon by stephenie meyer: extreme love

By Marcia Montenegro

"I'd rather he killed me now than move one inch from where I was." Bella, speaking of her desire to be with Edward, even if he kills her.

"They have a name for someone who smells the way Bella does to me. They call her my singer - because her blood sings for me." Edward to Alice.

"At least I could be with him again before I died. That was better than a long life." Bella

What to do when vampires are out of your life? Well, there are always werewolves, and the reader gets enough werewolf fur to choke on in this second book of the series. Bella's good friend, Jacob Black, turns out to be a werewolf, though it takes Bella long enough to figure it out. Many rather boring pages go by while the reader waits for Bella to get a clue. With Edward the vampire gone for most of the book until the end (he moved away with his clan), Bella has been depressed and withdrawn until her friendship with Jacob assuages the loneliness.

Before Edward moves away, the reader is treated to another scene where Bella cuts herself and her blood becomes almost impossible for Edward and the other "good" vampires to resist. Edward remarks later to Bella that he was fighting the urge to kill her during that episode. In fact, Edward and his "family" have to leave the room where Bella lies bleeding because of their vampire nature, except for Carlisle, who is bandaging the wound.

Edward still has "the face of a seraph" (20), a "marble face" (20), a "marble forehead" (24), a "flawless face" (504), and looks "like a god" (65). When Edward reappears in the story later on, he snarls, growls, and hisses a lot. In fact, he and two other vampires hiss four times in less than two pages (476-77). Later, even Bella and Jacob hiss. What we have here seems to be a hissing, snarling vampire, cold as a corpse, who looks like an angel.

And Bella is still deceiving her father, as well as others in her life, even after Edward leaves (samples of this are found on 47, 136, 141, 145, 192, 194, 209, 230, 231, 544, 549, and others).

After Edward reappears on the story, Edward, Bella, and Alice end up for awhile in the underground denizen of Italian Mafioso type vampires (the Vampirioso might be a good name). One of the Italian vampires, Aro, has a similar gift to Edward in that he can "hear" thoughts. Alice, who sees the future (to an extent), holds her hand up to Aro's and by holding his hand to hers, he "hears" what she sees for the future. The elderly Aro, even though he could turn evil in a second, has a genial, disarming manner. Not long after this scene, in fact, a group of unwary tourists are led into the vampires' chambers, thinking it to be part of a tour of the castle. A few seconds later, screaming is heard by Bella and the others as the tourists are set upon by the vampires. This occurs despite the fact that these Italian vampires have decreed that there is to be no hunting (of humans) in the city (430). Well, it seems they get their needs met anyway through luring in unwary tourists.

Bella's love for Edward is so extreme that she prefers death to losing him. Her fondest desire is to be turned into a vampire, even though she knows it will cause excruciating pain, and she will lose her soul. Edward speaks of this possible change as "bartering your soul in exchange for an eternity as a vampire" (541). Bella thinks of losing her soul as "almost insignificant" in light of her fear that Edward might not want her (528). But Bella is becoming vampire-savvy; the vampires are for her the family she dreams of, and she is now familiar with their endearing quirks, such as never eating food, never sleeping, their cold flesh, how their eyes look when they are "thirsty" and how they look after they have "hunted," how they move at lightning speed, climb walls, and so forth. Whatever tied her to the world of the living (let's remember that the vampires are actually dead humanly speaking) is rapidly evaporating in this book.

If we pause and look away from the glorious Edward for a few minutes, we see that what is happening is that Bella, at age 18, is willing to give up everything she knows and loves including her humanity and her soul (according to the book), for a vampire who hunts animals and drinks their blood. 

The question that must be asked is: Is this a good thing? Is a love that causes a young woman (just turned 18) to deceive, to turn her back on her best friend (Jacob), and to give up her humanity and her soul, -- is this a love to be admired, sought after, glamorized, and fed into the minds of young readers?

Although Edward confines himself to animal blood, he often must restrain himself from attacking Bella and drinking her blood. This is why they cannot have more than brief kissing encounters.

Is not this extreme love dangerous love? Is danger the real allure in the story? It is certainly not the kind of love that parents want for their daughters - or sons. 

Commenting on the Facebook Note I wrote on this book, Jared Martinez, a Facebook pal, made an insightful remark: "The Vampire is the perfect symbol for today's spirituality: it's a snappy dresser...has very eloquent speech, promises eternal life, and seems to have a good pedigree (older is better right?)... yet can only deliver death."

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