Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twi-Theories Tuesday. The Matter of Marriage.

This post will contain book spoilers for the entire series, as well as movie spoilers for New Moon. Proceed with caution.

Recently, I've had a few brief-but-interesting conversations with a friend of mine regarding the Twilight saga. To my knowledge he has not read the books, but he has seen both movies, and has expressed his enjoyment of New Moon. A unicorn? No, not really. Maybe we'll call him the Almost-Unicorn. He does, however, have a deep appreciation for vampire stories, and, most importantly, an open mind to the details. In a discussion yesterday regarding New Moon, he posed a question:
"What is so shocking about a marriage proposal when the item on the table is immortality?"
Now, granted, he's referring to the final moment of the film here, but the end of New Moon, and nearly all of Eclipse (and even a little Breaking Dawn) is filled with Bella's rather extreme reservations regarding marriage. I know he's not alone in wondering this question. Even I, over-analyzer extraordinaire, was initially confused by this. Marriage seems such a small detail, when you're talking about becoming an immortal being, possibly risking your soul, with the same person who's proposing marriage to you. Just have the wedding already! What's the big deal, Bella? Conversely, why wait on details, Edward? Doesn't making her an immortal vampire essentially amount to the same thing?

Answer: It is a big deal. And, no, it doesn't amount to the same thing.

I realize that in our current time, marriage is much the subject of debate on the technicalities. I don't wish to discuss religion or politics with you, though. Can we agree on...tradition? Only in the context that marriage is intended to be a forever agreement, between two people that love each other deeply. Can we all agree to that for the moment? As long as we both shall live....

Bella hardly has the example of a solid marriage. Her parents marriage was over before it really started, and long before she would have been old enough to witness it in action. Her mother is flighty and prone to only dabbling in things that seem interesting at the time. Given this, how is Bella to know that her mother's new marriage is any different from the various new fads her mother has tried at one point or another. She even tells Edward at one point that, to her, marriage and eternity are not necessarily mutually inclusive or exclusive concepts. She is hung up on a corrupted concept of the idea. The idea that marriage is a trivial thing, subject to the scrutiny of others, putting yourself and your chosen one up for either acceptance or judgment. She is missing the point, that the concept of marriage is a covenant between two people, both an agreement and a declaration of choice.

Choice is the word I want to focus on here. Hand in hand with the theme of humanity in the series, is choice. That the choices you make with the lot you've been given make all the difference. And here is another choice. A choice to tie yourself to someone, to be with them, for all eternity, whatever eternity deals you.

There's a difference between falling in love with someone, and choosing to love them. Falling in love is great, but the true power of a relationship comes from choosing to love that person. Falling is subject to emotional whiplash. Choosing allows you to deal with all of the issues, and still love the person you have chosen.

Edward has seen more than a century, and is just now beginning to see his own humanity, By mid-Eclipse, he has admitted to wanting Bella to be immortal, so that he can have her forever, and confessed to the feelings of selfishness that it creates. Combine that with the Jacob factor. He knows Bella has feelings for Jacob, as well. Can you blame the guy for wanting a formal declaration of choice?

It's important, in the end, for both Bella and Edward to get married. The symbolism of choice. "I choose to be with you, forever and for always." That is much more powerful than..."You bit me, and I became a vampire, and now you are stuck with me."

Bella finally understands this, at least at some level by the end of Eclipse. "I will tie myself to you, in every human way, before I ask you to make me immortal." Even with her reservations about the spectacle of the event, it's the concept that's important.

I hope I am making sense in trying to explain my views on this subject. Please feel free to continue the discussion in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

*Fan Art found at Twilight Guide.


bouncy72 said...

Great post, good insights. Lol & I agree with you 100% bb.

Especially loved this passage...
"There's a difference between falling in love with someone, and choosing to love them. Falling in love is great, but the true power of a relationship comes from choosing to love that person..... to deal with all of the issues, and still love the person you have chosen"

Wise words hon!

Fire Crotch said...

I think you make a lot of sense. Lots of people in the second showing I saw definitely did not read the book because they were all dying at the proposal. I think a lot of Bella's reluctance is just because of Renee. But let's face it, Bella never really likes to do anything. She doesn't like to dance, didn't want to go to prom, didn't want to go to college. She's kind of a party pooper. At least she gets her act together and finally understands Edward's reasons for wanting to get married!

Shaun said...

I agree that a majority of Bella's reservations about marriage come from her previous environment. Two things make you who you are, heredity and environment, and I do not think until she changes her environment in the books that her mind actually begins to change. You see before with Renee and Charlie being all she has known, it is exactly what she based her perception and views on this matter on. I think that after seeing the Cullen's who have all been together for many years and to see that they all still look at each other with a love that can only be the forever type of thing. I think her environment caused the change of mind more than anything else.

Comment said...

I totally agree with you, you explained it in such a sensitive but also accurate way. I'm glad I've found this because it's exactly what i think and you embodied the thought perfectly.