Sunday, December 27, 2009

Eclipse - Twilight Series, Book 3

Violence: 5
Sexuality: 4
Adult Themes: 2
Title: Eclipse - Twilight Series, Book 3
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Ratings Explanation
Language: Bella writes a note to Edward - “Screw the protecting me crap.”  She also demands, “What the hell is this all about?”
Violence:   A clash between the werewolves and the Cullen Coven as they try to capture Victoria who treads along the boundary between the Quileute Reservation and the Town of Forks.  Rosalie refers to Bella’s experience in Twilight, where Bella was cornered by four men that were planning to rape her, had Edward not rescued her.  Rosalie recounts her last human experience.  She was violently raped by her wealthy fiance’ and his cluster of friends.  One friend ”…looked me over like I was a horse he was buying.”  The five men raped Rosalie and left her in the street for dead.  Rosalie was rescued by Carlisle and transformed into a vampire.  Rosalie systematically killed all who had raped her.  Jacob’s hand gets sliced by a boning knife while doing dishes with Bella.  Vampires break into Bella’s home and steal belongings that have her scent on them.  The Newborn Vampire Army creates havoc in Seattle with hundreds of unexplained deaths.  Jasper recounts gruesome vampire wars in Mexico.  Bella attends a tribal council with Jacob, where the History of the Quileutes is recounted.  The history includes the vampire’s slaughter of their tribe.  The suicide sacrifice of Taha Aki’s wife, as well as the tribe’s metamorphisis into werewolf protectors.  Jacob physically forces himself upon Bella, kissing her.  Bella breaks her hand punching him in the jaw.  Victoria and Riley, evil vampires, fight Edward and Seth the Werewolf.  The werewolf rips Riley the vampire to pieces and dismembers his body.  Edward kills Victoria.  The Cullen Coven defeat the Newborn Vampire Army.   The Cullen Coven collect the pieces of the dismembered corpses of the vampires and burn them.  A Newborn Vampire girl survives the battle.  She cannot control her thirst.  The Volturi arrive and dispose of the girl. 
Sexuality:  Meyer’s describes the most innocent of kisses in a very slow, sensuous manner.  Charlie, Bella’s father asks her if they are having  sex.  Bella is mortified.  She has never been immoral.  Jacob Black and Edward are described in vivid detail.  ie.) “..six foot seven inches of Jacob’s long body, muscled up the way no normal sixteen-and-a-half-year -old ever had been.  I saw those eyes rake over his tight black t-shirt….”  Werewolves are imprinted to their mate.  They instantly know who their soul mate is when they see them.  Quil imprints when he sees a two year old girl.  (He will be her friend, until she is older and comes to the realization that they are mates.)  Edward tells Bella, “You look…sexy.” Edward lifts her onto a counter to kiss him.   Bella does not want to give up the human experience of sex.  She begins to take her clothes off the seduce Edward.  Edward tells Bella he will not have sex with her until they are married.  She gives him a hard time about protecting his virtue.  He will not back down.  He is protecting her virtue as well.  Bella freezes in a snowstorm.  Jacob has to be the one to warm her up, since werewolves are hot-blooded.  Edward is upset, but sees that he has to allow Jacob to climb in Bella’s sleeping bag to warm her up.  Jacob suggests Bella take her clothes off and she would warm up really fast.  Edward tells Jacob to control his thoughts.  (Edward can read other’s thoughts.)  Jacob and Bella share an intense first kiss. 
Adult Themes:  Bella lies to her father about where she is going so that she can spend the weekend with Edward.  Bella loves both Jacob and Edward.  She can envision her life with each of them.  She has to make a decision and live with the consequences. 
Bella and Edward are back to together again.  Bella laments the passing of time.  Each day is a day she will be older than her non-aging vampire boyfriend, Edward, who was transformed into a vampire, when he was just seventeen.  The last few months of high school rapidly pass as Bella anxiously awaits and woefully dreads graduation.  Bella’s human days are numbered.  She tries to live her final human experiences to the fullest.  Bella has decided that after graduation she will become a vampire; and she desires Edward to be the one to make her immortal.  Edward agrees, if and only if they are married first.  Bella ponders the consequences of her impending decision to become a vampire.  Most poignantly, the impact upon family and friends.  She is fearful of what she may become.
Bella discovers that she is torn between her love for Edward and surprisingly, her unrequited love for her best friend, Jacob.  She wishes she could be divided in two and live both lives.
Meanwhile, Victoria seeks revenge.   She has created an army of “Newborn Vampires”, who are ravaging the city of Seattle.  (Victoria was James, “ The Tracker’s” mate, from the first book, Twilight.  In Twilight, the Cullen Coven dismembered and burned James - the only way to kill a vampire; to save Bella’s life.)  The werewolves and the Cullen Coven unite to fend off the “Newborn Vampire” Army.  Edward and Jacob personally unite to protect Bella.  The Volturi, from book two, New Moon, also make a chilling appearance after the vicious battle is fought.
Meyer’s talent lies in capturing the intense emotions you experience in a first crush/first kiss/first love.  The soap opera quality of the Twilight Series hooks young and younger readers alike, as you consume the drivel to see ”What will happen next?”.   In book three, Bella is finally developing into a more mature character.  She thinks about the ramifications of her impending “immortal” decision.  What will be most identifiable to young readers will be Bella’s torn heart, between her “True Love”, Edward and her “Best Friend”, Jacob.  Bella will always wonder what her life would have been like had she chosen the other. 
Bella Swann, as a role-model to young women is extremely discouraging.  Bella has redeeming character traits.  Bella is a responsible teenager, who competently handles the running of a household.  She grocery shops, prepares meals, and does her laundry, in addition to being an A+ student.  Bella also expresses maturity in relationships with her peers. 
Although, Bella’s relationship with Edward is unhealthy.  Bella has low self-esteem.  (Most teenage girls will identify easily with this.)  Bella is extremely self-deprecating, and she frequently describes Edward as perfect.  She juxtaposes her woeful inadequecies next to his perfection in her thoughts and voice.  Bella constantly diminishes her self-worth and her frequent self- descriptive words are “ordinary” and “regular”. 
The underlying message is, “Bella is of exceptional value, as long as someone of the opposite sex loves her.”  Edward is perfection.  Bella reminds us of his perfection and how lucky she is to have him.  Never does she acknowledge that she deserves to have someone attractive love her.  All of Edward’s controlling behaviors are deemed acceptable, and forgiven, on the premise that he loves her.
Eclipse would definitely be a great book to open discussion regarding self-worth, as well as the importance of virtue in relationships.  Eclipse is more appropriate for high school age readers.
©2009 The Literate Mother

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