In the sixth chapter of New Moon, Bella and Jacob's friendship grows as the two (mostly Jacob) work on the set of motorcycles Bella picked up. Bella stops moping, for once, though her penchant for sexism and irritating gloom-and-doom is still present. Bella might actually be happy for once, werewolves are disgustingly foreshadowed, and we deal with possible Mormon propaganda. Intrigued? Then it's time for Mark to read New Moon.
There won't be any gimmicky narratives today, mostly because this book is pretty uneventful and boring at this point. So we'll just jump right into it.
CHAPTER 6: FRIENDS
As with the last chapter, Bella suddenly becomes more tolerable, reasonable, and normal once she's around Jacob, which I've heard will get ruined. Terribly. So let's just stick with it for a while and enjoy the sanity, shall we?
Jacob is respectful, infectiously happy, and genuinely interested in Bella as a person. Sound like the complete opposite of the entirety of Twilight? You'd be correct in this assertion. This leads me to wonder why Jacob is even here at all; Edward is clearly Meyer's glorification of the perfect human being, so why even include this third character? To pass the plot? To complicate the plot? I don't get it. (I'll expand more on this in a second, inspired by a comment another user made on one of my reviews.)
Charlie is happy to see Bella end her perpetual depression and approves of his daughter hanging out with Jacob. Billy is happy with Bella hanging out with his son. Jacob is more than thrilled to hang out with the girl that he has an obvious crush on. And Bella admits, multiple times, that she feels wonderful when she hangs out with Jacob. YET WHY CAN'T SHE JUST ACCEPT AND BE HAPPY? WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?
And here's where I begin to build a case against Stephenie Meyer that I imagine I'll be able to complete by the end of the series:
STEPHENIE MEYER IS A SEXIST PIG
This is my hypothesis and here's the evidence provided by the author in chapter 6 of New Moon:
Meyer writes Bella in a way that represents the worst of the stereotypes of women. This is not to say there isn't truth in stereotypes or that there aren't women who do act like this. (Besides, if you tried to make that point, it would be very easy to prove that Meyer isn't stretching for realism. At all.)
In this chapter (and throughout this and the last book), Bella is appears to be a stereotype on steroids; all of her qualities, which are traditional recognized as distinctly "feminine" by douchebags everywhere, are exaggerated to extreme degrees. She's needlessly fickle, unable to physically support herself in even a basic manner, and her emotions rule her decisions on a daily basis.
Chapter 6 sees Bella hopelessly clueless about motorcycle parts. That's fine. There are plenty of people (myself included) who are absolutely clueless when it comes to those sort of things. But then we get this gem on page 139: "Many of the words they used were unfamiliar to me, and I figured I'd have to have a Y chromosome to really understand the excitement."
Again, it's not that she doesn't know anything about motorcycle parts that bothers me; it's the fact that Meyer insists on making this about gender. Because Bella is a weak, clumsy woman, she can't possibly understand cars.
Ugh. Thanks, Meyer. You probably think stuff like this is witty:
Again, my problem with Meyer's characterization isn't the fact that Bella is fickle or emotional or any of these things. People are absolutely this way in the world. What's upsetting is that Meyer assigns these actions to women only. Women are the only characters who can't make up their mind, who gossip, who are more than willing to be unreasonable and overemotional, and who are catty and rude. Men in Meyer's universe are noble, handsome, above reproach, heroic, strong, and rarely, if ever, selfish. It's the same here in Chapter 6, as Bella tries to have lunch with all of her old "friends." Guess what? They're all harpy bitches to her. SURPRISE. (And it's not that I don't understand their reaction to Bella, who locked herself away from the world while dating Edward and then mourning him. It's the persistence of themes that bothers me.)
Why is this? Why is there such an obvious divide in characterization between gender? I imagine this will only get worse. :(
One more point before I'm done. Buzznet commenters enoughallready and zafrin brought up some really fascinating points about how New Moon sets up a really bizarre set of coincidences between Edward/Jacob and what is/is not acceptable in Mormon theology. And I quote:
enoughallready: Thats the point though isn't it. If you look at these books from the point of view that they are overflowing with mormon symbolism. Edward is all things good and pure it only fits that Jacob the anti-Edward is all thing bad in the mormon world (after all he is stealing Bella away from her "goddly" true pure love)
a) he's dark skinned
b) he uses fowl language
c) he WANTS SEX (and doesn't even care if its before marriage..gasp)
d) he is always giving Bella soda also which is loaded with caffeine another mormon nono
So jacob is the anti-edward and anti-mormon, he never stood a chance. I think thats why meyers tries to make him worse in other books, she never expected him to be so well liked. After all he represents all thats wrong in her world of beliefs.
zafrin: I don't think she actually intended the books to be so full of symbolism. Whenever these people have come door knocking, they are anything but subtle. I think it all comes out like that, because she has been so steeped in it, that it is her reference point. And then, also because it is combined with the characters being so two dimensional (that's being generous). I tried to remember when I was 18, and I went to a camp, and there was this guy, who was really good looking. I remember thinking it was amazing he was willing to say 2 words to me. But then, after 2 days, I started to realise, that he actually talked alot of garb. I still liked him, but it took some of the shine off.
What amazes me, is that nothing takes the shine of Edward for Bella. That does not mean it's true love, that means it's unrealistic. He's a Greek god, perfection, angel, etc. How about that it feels like she is touching a corpse? Not less perfect? How about when you ask him not to read your friend's mind, but he does? How about when he constantly says other boys are irritating to him - (Mike, Jacob)? May be that is the appeal - it is so like a children's fairy tale, that it is escapism. Nothing in real life is really like it, and so it is not relatable.
The Vampires and werewolves can be fantasy, but the relationships could still be realistic, and they are not. I actually quite like the idea of Edward, good looking, brooding, tormented (supposed to be) more than Jacob myself, but she ruined it by not developing it. We can see the faults glaringly, but we are also meant to see him through Bella's eyes, and he is like a fairy tale prince through her eyes, and you feel like slapping them both.
I studied Mormonism in college and I'll have to brush up on it for future reviews, as I'd like to investigate this further, but I didn't even think of either of these points. But....holy god, that's kind of eerie, especially in terms of what Jacob as a character represents to the Mormon religion.
More on that when I can give it a proper read through. I don't want to be that douche who bastardizes someone else's religion to make a point. But still, it's an interesting interpretation of the characters. What do you think?