Thursday, June 17, 2010

Eclipse Discussion: Chapter 27. Needs

This week's discussion of the final chapter of Eclipse is written by one of our own, Sabrina. We thought it would be really interesting to get this chapter from a "Team Jacob" girl and I think she did a fantastic job. I got the same feelings reading this discussion as I did reading the chapter in the book! Be sure you comment. This is the next-to-last discussion! No more time for lurking...

In this penultimate chapter of Eclipse, we finally get to see the aftermath of the conflict that has divided Twilight fans everywhere. In the opening quote of the book, Robert Frost's poem "Fire and Ice" foretells an epic ending to the question: Hot or Cold? Comfort or Passion? Jacob or Edward? Of course, the question that Frost's poem is asking is not about which is more convenient to love, rather, which is the better instrument of destruction. And so, Needs is all about Bella's partial destruction by fire.

Bella doesn't make it far after leaving Jacob before succumbing to her own desolation. Edward runs to the rescue, but his very presence makes it worse, simply because a part of her craves Jacob's touch, and Bella feels guilty. Bella manages to let Edward know, between sobs, that she needs to get to Charlie before Billy can call and worry him, so Edward drives her home. She is able to make it through Charlie before really falling apart.

Through the night, Bella analyzes her situation, and among the mess she has an epiphany: it wasn't Edward and Jacob that she was trying to hold together, but Edward's Bella and Jacob's Bella. There were two pieces of her that both wanted something so polarizing that the only answer was the complete destruction of one half, Jacob's Bella. The fire rages, destroying a part of her, and Edward's Ice heals.

Morning brings acceptance. Bella is able to understand that she will always carry the scars where her love for Jacob had resided, and she is able to try to move on. Now, those of you who know a bit about my feelings on the Edward/Jacob matter, know that I've been officially Team Jacob, mostly because every time I read New Moon I get so mad at Edward, I just can't understand how Bella can continue to love him, regardless. In this chapter, though, I'm always able to lay my anger to rest because Edward is selfless enough, after watching her immense pain, to be willing to give her up if that will make her happier. Even after watching her grieve for another love, and after how excrutiating that must've been for him to watch, he is still only concerned about how he can lessen her pain. He doesn't understand how she could love Jacob so much, yet still want him.

Here, Bella gets a chance to explain her feelings for him. She pulls out her copy of Wuthering Heights. Bella says:

"Cathy's a monster, but there were a few things she got right," I muttered, I read the lines quietly, mostly to myself. "'If all else perished and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.'"
I nodded, again to myself. "I know exactly what she means. And I know who I can't live without."

And so, with her choice made and the consequences dealt with, Bella goes to Alice. Naturally, Alice knows exactly what's coming, and she's already gotten a head start. She takes Bella to see her vintage 1918-style wedding gown, and the wedding planning is on!

Alone in their meadow, Edward is concerned that Bella only wants the wedding to please everyone else (Edward, Alice, Renee, Charlie, etc), but doesn't want it for herself. So, he announces that he only wants her happiness, and immediately begins working on fulfilling his end of the bargain. Through the fog of lust, Bella manages to tell Edward that she really wants to do everything in the proper order. His soul is much too important to her to take any chances. Edward still shows a very male inclination to talk her out of being noble and virtuous, but in the end, decides to give her what she really needs -- closure to her human life.

So the two of them, thankful that Edward is indeed bulletproof, prepare to go tell Charlie the good news. And Edward slips her engagement ring on her finger where it would remain "conceivably for the rest of eternity."

Next Thursday we'll be covering the epilogue with Ginger of Gingersnaps in the Morning

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