Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Twi-Theories Tuedays: Some Thoughts on Jacob

Early on in my Twilight Obsession, I was surfing the interwebs for fun Twi-gear, and came across the Twilight section of Cafepress. I giggled over all the slogans and pictures, but one nearly broke me. I looked for it again, but couldn't find it. It basically said:

"I skipped pages 71-381 of New Moon!"

After I picked myself up off the floor from laughing so hard, I started thinking. I was devastated when Edward left Bella. I knew practically nothing about the storyline before I read the book, so I was as blindsided as Bella was. I knew he'd be back, since there were two more books to read, so I endured with Bella. There were times, not so much in New Moon, but Eclipse where Jacob really annoyed the snot out of me. I laughed at the slogan because I understood the desire to just get past all that Jacobness and get back to swoony Edward.

Then I read the series a second time, and Jacob really jumped out at me, and I got a better idea of his purpose in the story. I'm still firmly Team Edward, but, like Bella, I have a special spot in my heart for Jacob, and am grateful for his presence. I see his contribution largely in two categories:

1. Jacob strengthens Bella and Edward's relationship.

Twilight is about first love, that warm fuzzy, life-in-a-bubble, all-consuming feeling. It's one of the greatest feelings in the world. Jacob provides them, particularly Bella, the chance to choose to be with each other. As wonderful as the 'falling in love' phase of a relationship is, ultimately the choice is what brings the power to weather all the highs and lows of life together. And with Bella and Edward facing, literally, eternity together, that's a lot of highs and lows. Jacob provided Bella the opportunity to look at her relationship with the eyes of an adult making a life choice, not a love-struck teenage girl at the mercy of her hormones and a crush.

2. Jacob helps us get to know Edward

Let's assume you've never read "Midnight Sun". Without that peek, you don't get much opportunity to really get to know Edward in the story. You see his personality, of course, and you get to share the personal moments with Bella, but Bella's view of Edward is a bit skewed. She's dazzled by him, in love and sees him in the best possible light, and he's very good at hiding some of the thoughts and emotions he struggles with from her.

Through Jacob, especially in the "Tent Scene" in Eclipse, and the entire Jacob POV section of Breaking Dawn, you get a unique insight into Edward's mind. Jacob doesn't want to like him, Edward is his enemy, on a number of levels. Yet, he can't help build a grudging respect for him, as he sees the 'real' Edward, all the heartache, and the depth of his love for Bella, and the lengths he is willing to go to keep her safe. It was the section of Breaking Dawn, that I felt we finally really got to know Edward, and made going back and reading it again a whole different experience for me, being able to apply that to the early parts of the story.

I'm interested in what the rest of you think about Jacob. Where do you see his contributions to the story? I invite you to leave a comment and let me know. As this series of discussions continues, I'd love to have input from our readers. After all, we're all discussing our favorite books here, right?


*A note from Amber...I've long said that while I'm a staunchly Team Edward girl, like Kerry and Bella, I dearly love Jacob as well. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on Jacob. I'm behind the New Moon reading schedule at The Danger Magnet, and I'm going to say something I never thought I'd say. After reading Kerry's post, I'm kind of anxious to get to the part of New Moon when Edward leaves... (I mean, we know he's going to come back, let's enjoy Jacob's time while it lasts)


My Twilife said...

Amazing post guys!! It is so funny because I agree 100% with you and felt exactly the same way. When I first read the series I read thru New Moon so fast waiting for Edward to reappear & could not STAND Jacob. But like you, when I read the series a second time I gained a whole new love and appreciation for Jacob. My heart actually broke for him the second time around and I too hold a place in my heart for him, even though I am Team Edward as well!

Great post!!

Jodie said...

I always felt like people who dislike the non-Edward section of New Moon dislike it because it forces the reader to relive a time when they themselves have been heartbroken. And it hurts. Even reading the Twi version of heartbreak *hurts*. So it's always bothered me that Jacob takes the blame for it. I was grateful for him when I was reading because he helped her heal. And in helping her heal, helped me heal. As I was reading I was wishing more for a friend like Jacob than a boyfriend like Edward.

And I agree with everything else you said.

RaShell said...

I think I read somewhere that Stephenie herself was telling people to read NM twice, because she knew already that the majority WILL skip those pages, just to make sure that Edward returns (and I suppose it was before the other two books came out, so this fact was not as widely known and obvious as it is now :)). All good points. I am also still Team Edward, but Jacob did "grow on me" a bit, especially after seeing the last NM trailer. Taylor did a good job showing this passionate lovestruck boy, fighting for Bella with the most perfect "ghost" ;)

Ashley said...

I have to say, i never eally paid much attention to Jacob the first time thru. I remeber feeling bad for him, but it wasn't until Taylor took the role that i even became interested in Jacob, and while I find him unbelievably annoying at some points, my heart breaks for him several times thru out the series. I'm always gonna be a Team Edward girl when it comes to Bella's heart, but yeah, Jacob's got a spot in my heart... now if only S. Meyer would get to work on the rest of the saga: JacobXRenessmee

7noelani7 said...

wow! that is a truly amazing post. i honestly loved reading it. i am honestly team jacob (between edward and jacob), and this post just gave me another reason to me one. i will have to re-read new moon with this post in mind. thank you!

Loren and Shaun said...

Woo! Yet another awesome post, ladies. I'm hesitant to say some things, because I don't want to start any fights, lol. I guess I'll say...I mean no offense to anyone with my thoughts/opinions.

I guess, in general, I have a difficult time understanding the Team Edward/Team Jacob thing. The reason there are these "teams" is because of who we want to "win" Bella, right? I guess I feel like if that's the case, I don't understand how there can BE a Team Jacob. Yes, it's another option that Bella could have had, but she was never going to love anyone the way she loved Edward. It may have been enough, but it would never be as much. So, that being said, I see Edward as being her one true love, the person she was meant to be with (even if he had left) and therefore no possibility of "Team Jacob" in that aspect.

As far as Jacob as a character, I agree that the readers need to be thankful to him for helping Bella to heal. While I do believe he tried to be a good friend, he also tried to push feelings onto her that weren't there. (Even if she "realizes this" in Eclipse, that's explained in BD). It could have been a lot easier for BOTH of them if he had accepted that she couldn't love him like she'd loved Edward...instead, he continuously pushed her, and gave her more opportunities to not only to hurt him but to hurt herself because of the love she did feel for him (as a brother).

I also agree that Jacob being in the story did give us an opportunity to see more into Edward's head, especially during the "tent scene" when they have that conversation. I LOVED the point about Jacob being in the story really did make Bella & Edward choose each other. I do think that Jacob is an essential part to the story, and please don't misunderstand. I just feel like he made a lot of an already difficult situation even harder than it needed to be. I was REALLY happy with how it worked out for him in the end. I know a lot of people found it really weird, but I was glad it explained "Bella's" feelings for him, and it gave him a happy ending too. I'm a sucker for happy endings, what can I say?

Kerry said...

Thank you all for your comments, I love hearing your thoughts!

@Loren and Shaun:

It's interesting what you say about the Team Edward/Team Jacob thing, I have some thoughts on that too, and I'll be bringing that up in the next couple Twi-theories.

Anonymous said...

I always liked Jacob. He was a good friend to Bella when she really needed one.

While reading NM, I thought as Jacob as representing a different kind of happiness for Bella. One where she could be normal and have a normal life. I think he represented an option she could have chose and also a choice that she definitely had to question. Hope that make sense!

Char said...

New Moon is my favorite book. Inasmuch as Jacob's presence gives us insight into Edward's character, I think he does this for Bella as well. I love Jacob. (This isn't to say that I don't like Edward...I swoon when I read Edward and Bella too.) The reason why I love Jacob is that Bella is so much funnier, feistier, wittier, and edgier when she's with Jake. I think Jacob brings it out of her. With Jake, we see a side of Bella that's often hidden because she's just so enamored with Edward's presence...his beauty. I think she totally gets it right when she realizes that there's a difference between Edward's Bella and Jacob's Bella.

Char said...

New Moon was my favorite book. I love Jacob! (which doesn't mean that I don't like Edward...I swoon when I read the Edward and Bella parts too!) I think that, inasmuch as Jacob gives us insight into Edward's character, I think he does this for Bella as well. Bella becomes a different person when she's with Jacob. She's funnier, wittier, edgier, and feistier. I think Jacob brings it out of her. We don't get to see this when she's with Edward because she's always so enamored with him. I'm always laughing out loud when I read conversations between Bella and Jacob. I think Bella got it right when she said that there were two versions of herself: Edward's Bella and Jacob's Bella. I like Jacob's Bella better...but I don't think it's completely irreconcilable... maybe after a couple of decades with Edward, she'll get used to his magnificence and have more interesting conversations with him :)