Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bella: Pride and Prejudice

"Boy, geophf," you say, "reading the latest, that Bella surely is ... well, frankly, stupid!"

I would beg to differ with your assessment (translation from Austen-speak: "Um, no").

"But," you insist: "How could she guess so wrongly as to why Rosalie would be wanting to teach her sign language?"

Okay, so, here's the thing. Reflect on her prior thoughts when she considered the presence of the American Sign Language book ... what was she thinking then?

Her thoughts precursored her thoughts now: "Rosalie is/will teach me this so she won't have to speak to me again."

That was her prejudice, or, as we say now: her preconceived notion.

Now, try this. Have somebody pick at you until you are thoroughly ticked off about it and about them. Become furious.

Bella's pride was offended, because Rosalie was criticizing her with compliments.

Now try to think straight.

You cannot, right? Because you're angry. It's called "a loss of perspective."

Bella's prejudice lead her to believe a certain thing ... she is very intuitive, after all, and what does that mean? It means she jumps to conclusions. And her pride was offended, that means she's very likely to stick by her guns, right or wrong, come Hell or high water.

Sounds a lot like Elizabeth Bennett as Mr. Darcy rattles off all her (and her family's) faults, and then ask her to consider something.

She surely "considers" something, all right! That Mr. Darcy got an earful!

Now, people are quick to criticize Bella in this chapter, including, particularly, Rosalie (which does not help matters any). Put yourself into Bella's shoes. The next time you are so furious you can't even see the person you are "talking" with, because all you see is red, ... well, I dare you to do what you accuse Bella of not doing: think about what you are saying.

Is your argument sound or ad hominem? Are you "thinking straight"? Or have you "lost perspective"?

That Bella Swan is just so "eat up with pride" and just so often jumps to conclusions, the wrong ones. Doesn't she!

Hm, yes, she does. But she's not reading the story. She's living it. So, you, living your stories: you have it all mapped out, now, do you?

Bella Swan has a mote in her eye.

But she's trying, sometimes, to look in the mirror.

Give her that, at least, please.

And before you cast a stone, recollect when you were seventeen. You knew everything there was to know then?

If you say you did, then you're not casting a stone at Bella. Doesn't feel like such a good idea now, because, of course, you know it is kind of like throwing the stone at the mirror, right?

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