Twilight, Chapter 7: Nightmare
“I told Charlie I had a lot of homework to do, and that I didn’t want anything to eat. There was a basketball game on that he was excited about, though of course I had no idea what was so special about it, so he wasn’t aware of anything unusual in my face or tone.”
This is the first paragraph of the chapter. I knew as soon as I read it that things were gonna be bad. And Meyer didn’t disappoint.
So Bella is in a huffy, emo mood for absolutely no reason. Seriously, if it was explained what her problem was, I missed it completely. She runs upstairs, blasts some music, covers her face with the pillow to block out the light (because turning the light off would be too logical I guess) and listens to the same CD over and over for hours, eventually falling asleep and having a dream that’s actually just Stephenie Meyer “foreshadowing” everything by flat-out telling us what’s what. Jacob turns into a wolf, Edward has black eyes and fangs, they’re a vampire and werewolf. Thanks, Meyer. We got that. In fact, you gave that away ON THE BACK COVER OF THE BOOK. And then you had Jacob say it in the previous chapter. And now, just in case no one was paying attention, Meyer has Bella dream about it. That’s just soooooooooo clever of you, Stephenie. You’re so deep! Ugh.
Bella wakes up the next morning and Meyer goes into great detail describing how she showered, blow dried her hair, and made her bed. Because more is more, right, Stephenie? Then something amazing happens: Bella uses the computer, presumably for the first time EVER.
“With another sigh, I turned to my computer. Naturally, the screen was covered in pop-up ads. I sat in my hard folding chair and began closing all the little windows. Eventually I made it to my favorite search engine. I shot down a few more pop-ups and then typed in one word.
Let’s break this down a bit. Bella turns on the computer, connects to the internet, and is immediately drowned in pop-up ads. Does she have her homepage set to porn or something? Why would there be millions of pop-ups BEFORE SHE HAS EVEN DONE ANYTHING? This book was published in 2006. Not 1996, 2006. And Bella still has dial-up internet and massive pop-up attacks. Has Stephenie Meyer ever actually been on a computer? Like, ever? “Eventually I made it to my favorite search engine.” Lines like this make me lean towards nope.
Furthermore, why does Bella need to Google VAMPIRES? How stupid is she? What exactly is she looking for? Does she think someone has put out a study on them, written some academic journal? Or is she genuinely so stupid that she needs to look them up to see what they are? This whole scene, which takes up more than two pages, was written for just that purpose. To take up space. That’s the only explanation. Stephenie Meyer, you are an awful, awful writer. But it doesn’t end there. No, Bella is strangely angered by what she reads.
“Aggravated, I snapped off the computer’s power switch, not waiting to shut things down properly.”
WHO DOES THAT?! Stephenie Meyer has never touched a computer in her life. Of this I am certain. She seems to think you just turn your computer on when you want to use it and off when you don’t. Even I know that’s not how you use computers. Would you turn your cell phone off when you weren’t using it? NO!
Bella is so upset about her incredibly strange yet mundane vampire internet search that she just has to get out of the house. So she wanders off into the woods behind her house and we learn that she’s not just clumsy, she also can’t find her way out of a paper bag with a map and a flashlight.
“My sense of direction was hopeless; I could get lost in much less helpful surroundings.”
Stephenie Meyer, WHY DO YOU HATE BELLA SWAN?! Meyer seems to have gone out of her way to give Bella literally nothing but negative, unattractive traits. She is an amalgamation of every cliché angsty teen trait you can think of. It’s just so lazy. None of it has any point to it. She suffers internally. No one makes fun of her, it doesn’t ruin any situations, it doesn’t add levity. They’re just there for her to complain about. I’m just so done with Bella’s constant whinging.
She spends a considerable amount of time out in the woods thinking about Edward and Jacob’s claim that he and the rest of the Cullens were vampires. She decides she has two options: listen to Edward and avoid him or do nothing and take her chances. I’ll give you three guesses which options she went with. Here’s a hint:
“I was gripped in a sudden agony of despair as I considered that alternative. My mind rejected the pain, quickly skipping on to the next option.”
Somehow, Bella manages to find her way back home and blah blah blah. God this book sucks.
The next day at school, she is now bizarrely cheerful and upbeat. Maybe she’s as bipolar as Edward. There’s really no explanation for her mood because Stephenie Meyer can’t write a grocery list. She has a painful interaction with Mike before class. He tries some small talk and she’s her usual asshole self.
“‘I mostly worked on my essay.’ I didn’t add that I was finished with it—no need to sound smug.” Okay, Bella, sweetie, you took EIGHT HOURS to write your essay. You have nothing to be smug about. Don’t be a dick.
And now my favorite part OF THE WHOLE BOOK SO FAR. Mike asks Bella what her essay topic is and she answers: “Whether Shakespeare’s treatment of female characters is misogynistic.” WHAT?! Okay, Stephenie Meyer, you’re just trolling us at this point, aren’t you? First you have Bella aware of how creepy and unhealthy her behavior is and now you have her analyzing Shakespeare to see if his work was misogynistic? Do you have no sense of irony whatsoever? Because this book is about as misogynistic as they come. No female character is portrayed as being strong or decent really at all. Jessica is petty and jealous, Lauren is mean and nasty, Bella is…Bella. Maybe you should write that essay on your own work, Meyer.
Mike, oblivious to the fact that Bella is a huge weeping asshole, asks her out to dinner. Mike is a nice guy. I like Mike. He’s helpful and respectful and everything Bella seems to despise in her men. So she turns him down by pointing him in the direction of Jessica, who likes him, then runs off to class.
As is tradition in this travesty of a book, at lunchtime we’re treated to her usual creepy Cullen hunt. And, again, as is customary every time her Edward Perfectface isn’t there, she feels like blasting Evanescence and cutting herself.
“Desolation hit me with crippling strength.
“I shambled along behind Jessica, not bothering to pretend to listen anymore.”
Let me just reiterate that this reaction is a response to Edward not being at school that day. The absence of a person whom she still barely knows at this point (they’ve had MAYBE three conversations) and who has repeatedly treated her like garbage has affected her to the point where she’s essentially a broken, empty shell of a person. God I hate Bella Swan.
She mopes through the rest of lunch and Bio then picks up a bit during Gym because apparently the instructions for badminton took THE ENTIRE PERIOD to explain. And the teacher was apparently not even finished, so he has to finish the next day. What version of badminton are they playing?
The end of the chapter was really the perfect bookend for all the crap in the middle. Bella is at home and, as usual, treating her father as if he were some idiot child. She’s constantly condescending to him. When he wants to know why she’s going dress shopping with her friends if she’s not going to the dance, her reaction is, “I wouldn’t have to explain this to a woman.” She is actually concerned that he won’t even be able to feed himself while she’s gone for the night. And even after he reminds her that he managed to survive for seventeen years on his own before she came to live with him, she tells him she left some lunchmeat in the refrigerator. Because her adult POLICE OFFICER father is apparently so inept that he can’t prepare his own meals and without her, he’d starve to death.
Guys, I hate Bella. I really hate Bella. I hate this book. I hate this series. I hate Stephenie Meyer.
H E L P M E