Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Twi-Theories Tuesdays: Alice's Visions

This post will contain book spoilers from the entire series, as well as Midnight Sun.

Alice is probably my favorite supporting character in the series. Her acceptance of Bella, the bright and bubbly attitude, her humor, and the talent of predicting the future is pretty awesome, too.

Having a character that can predict the future in your story presents a problem for the author. You still want to be able to surprise your readers, so an omniscient character can be troublesome if they spill the resolution in chapter three.

We know Alice's abilities aren't completely infallible. She can't see a future involving the wolves at all, Renesmee gives her some issues. In Midnight Sun, she snaps at Edward for having her keep track of too many things. So, apparently, even with the super vamp brain, it's possible to miss things. And then, of course, the basic limitation. It's based on decisions. If a decision hasn't been made, she can't see the outcome.

What does the ability do to you, though? I've always found myself wondering this since I read the books. Alice lives in a whole separate world. She lives in the future, even if it's only a few minutes. Her reactions are different, because she already accepts the outcome of the decision, no matter what it is. She accepts Bella as her best friend immediately, because she's already seen it.
I wonder if there's a peace in that, not worrying over the outcome. Or seeing what you can do to change it, if need be. Like Edward's plans for self-destruction, knowing what he had planned helped her and Bella plan to interfere.

It must be nerve-wracking too, to not be able to see. To have to wait on the decisions. Especially a situation where there are a million small decisions that have to be made before the final outcome is visible to her. Will Aro kill Bella? Will he keep her and force her change himself? Will Caius step in? Will Demetri and Felix ambush them outside the gates?

I've always wondered why Alice made the promise to Aro that Bella would be changed. In truth, she probably didn't so much promise, as show him the visions she'd had of Bella as a vampire, living happily ever after with the Cullens. I think it was an opportunity for her to actually take charge of the future, rather than just watch it happen. It would allow for them to escape Volterra, at least buy them some time. And maybe, just maybe, force her brother to do what it is he really wants to do, and won't admit. Alice is like that.

In Breaking Dawn, Alice reaches almost a crisis with her ability. The involvement of the wolves, and Renesmee's presence made it impossible for her to see. As someone who has never known life to be any other way, that had to be extremely unnerving. Like suddenly going blind or deaf. She seized a vision that made it through and acted on it. How scary still, going in search of something she couldn't see, but she took the weakness in her ability and learned to work with it.

So, is it a blessing? A curse? Both? Probably both. Just like any other sense it has it's ups and downs. Perfect pitch is great for singing, but you hear every wrong note ever made, and there are way more wrong notes than right ones. Strong sense of smell? Could be good, except some things just shouldn't be smelled.

What do you think of Alice's visions? Would you like to know the future? Or do you prefer to take life as it happens. Let me know in the comments.


Fire Crotch said...

Would I want Alice's visions? I think I would be in the no category. Some of it would be nice, but I think there are a lot of good reasons for not being able to read minds or predict the future. But going with that thought, Alice would have to have had to be super strong mentally. While it seemed she got to kind of pick what she focused on, not all of it was flowers and kittens. Actually, it seemed like most of it was pretty awful. I can barely watch the news without crying like a baby, so I really don't think I could deal with seeing terrible stuff that hasn't even happened yet!

I think you bring up a lot of good points about this being a difficult character to write. I can't wait for your next post.

Annie said...

What an awesome post. I agree with you that Alice must have been a difficult character for Meyer to write, especially in Breaking Dawn. There's just such a fine balance between keeping your readers in the dark and tantalizing them with just enough information to keep them reading. And like the fiery nether regions said, I don't think I'd want Alice's abilities any time soon! It would be too much of a responsibility, I think.