Get ready for this, you guys. I recommend strapping your copy of New Moon to your hands with a bungee cord or something, because at some point you, like me, will probably be seized with the urge to throw your book across the room. Previous entries can be found in the directory.
Chapter 14: Family
Jacob and Bella meet the wolf pack on the back road where they used to ride bikes. Bella is underwhelmed when they all emerge from the woods. "These were just four really big half-naked boys," she says dismissively.
"Just think of the possibilities, Bella!"-Alice Cullen
Bella has difficulty telling them apart; they all look the same to her. It's okay Bella, my grandfather says the same thing about black people. One time we were watching a movie and he asked me why Barack Obama was in it. We were watching Slumdog Millionaire, and he was looking at Dev Patel.
Only Sam stands out; he's the biggest and he still has that inner-peace about him that Bella hates so much. But when the pack sees her, they all flip the fuck out, even Sam "Namaste" Uley. This wolf pack is apparently a boys' club.
Paul is not someone we've heard much about, but I hate this prick already. He's clearly one of those friends who can't deal with one of his bros spending time with a girl. Men can be so needy! Jacob steps protectively in front of Bella when the boys start howling in protest, and that simple little gesture sends Paul over the edge.
He threw his head back, a real growl tearing from between his teeth.
A "real growl?" Why am I thinking of Max from Where The Wild Things Are all of a sudden? Paul immediately transforms into a wolf and lunges at Jacob and Bella. There was no build-up to that scene at all; it just... happened. We're going to skip the foreplay, S. Meyer? You just want us to lie there?
There's a Transformers quality to the wolfication: "Dark silver blew out from the boy, coalescing into a shape more than five-times his size." Five times his size? Where do you keep all of that wolf, Paul? I know, I know, it's injun magic, I shouldn't question it. Jacob runs toward Paul, jumps into the air, and transforms before he touches the ground. Showoff.
The two wolves violently rip at each other and eventually tumble into the woods, at which point Sam chases after them and the two remaining boys burst out laughing. Bella is shocked and terrified and appalled at their callousness, which should probably be the first sign she's got nothing to worry about. Didn't this same misunderstanding just happen? Didn't I just complain about it? Does Bella ever get tired of being wrong? We get the sense that fighting amongst werewolves is N.B.D., as the kids say (if you do the old-school periods in your abbreviations like the N.Y.T. it classes it up a bit) and the two boys (who are Jared and Embry, if it matters, which it doesn't) nonchalantly start picking up shredded bits of clothing and sneakers. They collect Sam's (still intact) shoes and mention throwing out the rest. At least they are environmentally conscious werewolves. Do you think they recycled Laurent?
"Kids, a dirty Mother Earth free of vampires is worse than a clean Mother Earth infested with them. So do your part, and pack out what you pack in. Knowing is half the battle."-Sam Uley
Embry even runs into the woods to get Sam's pants. Pro-tip: Expert werewolves remember to take off their pants before they morph. I'm glad S. Meyer thought this through enough to avoid Hulk-style wardrobe questions.
"Yes, the wolves are all naked boys on the inside. That is very important for this story." -S. Meyer
And to answer your question: Yes, Sam Uley does wear cut-off jeans. How did you guess? Because Edward has the market cornered on mock-turtlenecks and pleated pants? I bet Sam's are the kind where the pockets hang out the bottom. Get that look!
Sam Uley (Artist Rendition)
Before he left, Sam had ordered Embry and Jared to take Bella "to Emily's," so they commandeer Bella's truck (she's kind of shocked and dizzy after watching Jacob explode into a giant wolf, which is understandable, but seriously, is Bella ever not collapsing and vomiting these days?) and proceed to banter like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern or something.
"Well, the wolf's out of the bag now." Embry sighed. "Way to go, Jake."
Do the wolves always use wolf-themed variations on popular expressions? He stuck out like a sore wolf. A wolf in the hand is worth two in the wolf. If you don't have anything wolf to say, don't say anything at all. Wolf means never having to say you're sorry.
There's some talk in the truck about the treaty between the Cullens and the Quileutes - Embry was afraid Laurent was a relative, which apparently would have aversely affected vampire-wolf diplomatic relations, which are apparently a thing. Did these guys not get the memo that the Cullens are no longer in the picture? Or the Cullens will be back soon anyway and this is just a plot seed for Eclipse that needed to be planted somewhere.
Emily turns out to be Sam's fiancée, and on the way over, Embry tells Bella not to stare at her.
I frowned at him. "Why would I stare?"
Embry looked uncomfortable. "Like you saw just now, hanging out with werewolves has its risks."
Uh-oh. Are you ready for what happens next? There is no way that you are. They reach "a tiny house that had once been gray" (what color is it now?) and the boys walk right in. Bella follows, and there's "a young woman with satiny copper skin" (S. Meyer loves to exoticize the minorities, huh?) standing at the stove, facing away. "For one second I thought the reason Embry had told me not to stare was because the girl was so beautiful," Bella says. So we know Bella is an ass man. But then we all stop smiling because Emily turns around.
The right side of her face was scarred from hairline to chin by three thick, red lines, livid in color though they were long healed. One line pulled down the corner of her dark, almond-shaped right eye, another twisted the right side of her mouth into a permanent grimace.
Hey, did you guys not get all the domestic violence parallels yet? Do you maybe need them SHOVED DOWN YOUR FUCKING THROAT? SAM LOST CONTROL AND RIPPED EMILY'S FACE OFF! DO YOU GET THE METAPHOR YET? DO YOU!? ARE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE ENOUGH YET OR HAS SOME OF YOUR SKIN NOT COMPLETELY CRAWLED OFF OF YOUR BODY? DO YOU STILL HAVE SOME BLOOD LEFT TO BE CURDLED?
As if the mother of all thematic sledgehammers wasn't bad enough, S. Meyer is determined to make this whole situation even worse. Emily feeds them muffins, and there's a weird beat where she asks Bella if she's the "vampire girl" and it seems kind of hostile and Bella replies "Yes. Are you the wolf girl?" and everyone laughs. Okay. Then Sam comes home.
"Emily," he said, and so much love saturated his voice that I felt embarrassed, intrusive, as I watched him cross the room in one stride and take her face in his wide hands.
Am I the only one who flinched instinctively on Emily's behalf?
He leaned down and kissed the dark scars on her right cheek before he kissed her lips.
ISN'T IT WONDERFUL THAT THIS ABUSIVE FIANCÉ LOVES HIS VICTIM SO MUCH? IT'S SO GREAT THAT HE STILL LOVES HER AFTER HE DISFIGURED HER! WHAT A GUY! THEY ARE SUCH A MODEL COUPLE! PERFECT AND WONDERFUL LOVE!
This was worse than any romantic movie; this was so real that it sang out loud with joy and life and true love.
Are you sure that's what you meant to say, Bella? Are you sure you didn't mean "this was worse than anything; this was so bleak and misguided and exploitive and cheap that it sang out with ugh and gross and FUCK YOU S. MEYER" or something?
"Hey, none of that," Jared complained. "I'm eating."
"Then shut up and eat," Sam suggested, kissing Emily's ruined mouth again.
"Ugh," Embry groaned.
AMEN, EMBRY! What kind of person conceives of this? All along, S. Meyer has been drawing these comparisons for seemingly no particular reason, except perhaps to mirror the threat formerly posed by the Cullens, which itself mirrored abusive relationships to a lesser extent. I guess it is okay to be thematically condescending in YA fiction, to do something like create a character whose seeming sole purpose is to embody a theme you've already established. But what is the point of this particular theme? To show Bella beset on all sides with danger? Bella's already in so much danger all the time, we've reached a level of danger saturation. And nothing is ever really made of the fact that the things Bella loves pose as great a threat to her as everything else, except that Edward occasionally points it out when he's in a particularly self-loathing mood. The whole thread seems unnecessary, like S. Meyer is keeping it around and not doing anything with it. And to then make Sam and Emily this Great Romance, to have Bella be overwhelmed by their love - what the hell kind of message is that sending? It's misguided to an insane degree, but it doesn't even seem to be aware of its own perversion, does it? Twilight compulsively avoids sex and bad words. If it felt like this series was knowingly inverting our ideas about abusive relationships, that would be one thing. It would be morally reprehensible in a way we could respect. I'm not against being transgressive, but to be unaware of one's own moral reprehensibility is to be a sociopath. This chapter is sociopathic.
Jacob tells the pack that Victoria is after Bella, and they all argue as to what extent they will use Bella as bait. They plan on splitting up on their patrols or something (it's hard to read closely when you're too busy punching this book repeatedly). They want to keep Bella on the reservation as often as possible, and Bella insists on finding excuses to get Charlie down there too.
Sam tells Bella if she sticks around he can't "make any guarantees" about her safety. OBVIOUSLY! The guys are psyched that they'll get a chance to kill Victoria, and Bella and Emily get to be nail-biting, worried female stereotypes for a good long while. Bella watches Emily watching the boys eat breakfast and notes that she clearly sees them as her family.
All in all, it wasn't what I'd been expecting from a pack of werewolves.
You said it, Bella. Jacob spends the rest of the day on patrols, and Bella hangs out with Billy. Charlie comes over for dinner, and that night he asks Bella what the deal is now. She shrugs off all the problems with Jacob as a misunderstanding, and tells him about how great Sam and Emily are.
His face changed. "I hadn't heard that he and Emily had made it official. That's nice. Poor girl."
Bella asks Charlie if he knows what happened, and he tells her Emily was mauled by a bear. Oh good, I'm glad there's an official story. I wonder whose idea it was? Bella takes a minute before she goes to bed to reckon with her amoral self. Earlier Jacob had called her a hypocrite for being worried that he was killing people, since she used to date a vampire and all.
I curled into a tight ball. No, Edward wasn't a killer. Even in his darker past, he'd never been a murderer of innocents at least.
AT LEAST? Does Bella not realize that killing non-innocents is still bad? Does S. Meyer?
I shook my head sadly. Love is irrational, I reminded myself.
I know how you feel, Bella. I'm shaking my head so hard and so sadly it feels like it's going to fall off of my body!