Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wherefore Vera

I've recent read a couple of stories about Vera, and have read (and reread, and reread) Eclipse, chapter 7 "Unhappy Ending," which is "Rosalie's" chapter, but, in a very real way, is Vera's chapter.

Because, I argue, the key to understanding everything between Rosalie and Bella in the canon, is to understand Vera.

Please allow me to explain.

First, I think we need to examine Rosalie and Emmett's relationship.

Emmett seems to fill a need, but their relationship seems to be more surface. They are "happy" with what they give to each other, but they don't probe to any depth. I would think Rosalie would need more than a strong, sexually charged, easy-going, funny man. I would think she would want somebody she could open her heart to, all the way, and really, not cry, because she can't, but scold her like Vera did, not let Rosalie get away with the stuff Emmett does (in canon), share with Rosalie her deepest sadnesses, and let Rosalie share hers with her.

I think Rosalie needs this, no? And I think she's not getting all that from Emmett. Nor from Royce (well, who she thought Royce would be), and that's why she had Vera then. A true friend, of the heart.

Now let's look at Vera, herself.

Rosalie doesn't have much good, in the canon (E, ch 7), to say about Vera. Vera married early and had a baby at 17 years of age. She married down. Far down. Sure, Rosalie and Vera are "only" middle class, struggling to climb the social ladder, but they were friends, so they were in the same social circle, and that circle?

Upper middle class. Rosalie's father worked at the bank ... during the Depression! ... Rosalie's father bought her dresses (not just an apple for dessert); Rosalie's mother introduced Rosalie around to the elite.

And Rosalie and Vera were friends. Friends of the heart. Why? What names does Rosalie mention in her life story? Emmett, Royce, ... and Vera. Not her parents' names, not her brothers' names; no: Vera's name.

Vera was Rosalie's only friend ... ever.

And Vera had ... as they said back then ... moxie.

She married a carpenter. Do you understand what this means? Her parents were in the first circles. So they told her this: "Don't marry him." And she did.

And they cut her right off. She lived at his house, on cheapside ... not at a house that her parents could provide for her.

Or they didn't cut her right off, and did offer easy living. And she told them no. "Thank you, Mother, Father, but I'm going to cleave to my man, and go where he will go, not where you tell him to go."

Either way, she chose her own path, not the path her parents "offered" to her.

And Vera was Rosalie's friend. Whom do you visit a week before your wedding? A casual acquaintance? Royce had his buddies, that he liked much more Rosalie, and Rosalie had Vera, whom she loved more than anybody in the world.

Because, as much as Rosalie belittles Vera in her story she tells in canon, Vera was the only person who put up with Rosalie, besides Emmett and Royce, but Vera went one step further, and this is implied by the canon: Vera chose her own path, and she let Rosalie choose hers, too, but she didn't let Rosalie get away with her lies.

Because Rosalie lies. All the time. She tells Royce or Emmett that everything's beautiful and pristine and happy. Worst of all, she lies to herself. She turns her nose up to everything and looks down: "I'm perfect; you're not."

She even does this to Vera. And Vera rolls her eyes and says "I'm happy for you, Rosalie, I really am. But I choose this. I choose true happiness, and this is what it is." And she shows Rosalie, not mean-spiritedly, but kindly what happiness can be.

She shows Rosalie so clearly that even Rosalie sees it, knows it for what it is, and acknowledges that Vera chose better.

I think Vera's been through enough in her life that she has the experience to share something and to know enough about Rosalie to know that there's more to her than she's letting on, and she's old enough not to allow Rosalie play her games with herself. I think maybe Rosalie needs Vera in soul-mate kind of way.

I think Rosalie needed Vera then, even though she had the perfect handsome prince in Royce, and I think Rosalie needs Vera now, even with her big teddy-bear of a perfect husband in Emmett.

Now let's look at the "relationship" of Rosalie and Bella

Woo, boy, does Rosalie want to tear Bella to pieces pretty much the first second Rosalie sees her, and why? Because Bella can have babies, but no, she's going after a vampire, for goodness sake!

Or so Rosalie says.

I would beg to differ with Rosalie's supplied argument.

We never get a physical description of Vera, but she wasn't as beautiful as Rosalie. We get a physical description of Bella, and we find out that she's not as beautiful as Rosalie.

Just like Vera.

No surprises there: Rosalie is the most beautiful person in the whole world. That's canonical.

But Bella chooses her own path, over the objections of Edward, her parents (NM, catatonia), the whole universe.

Just like Vera.

Bella forgives Rosalie her (very serious) mistakes (NM, post Vulturi) and accepted her, not holding Rosalie's faults against her.

Just like Vera.

Rosalie had a conversation with Bella. Who is the only other person in the whole world that Rosalie ever had a conversation with? Conversation, not diatribe. Emmett? No.


Your point, geophf?

Rosalie is a hurting person. She wants to kill Bella (MS, post Phenomenon), because, I argue, Bella sees too much, even, possible will see into Rosalie's soul.

So Rosalie's hurting.

And Vera's dead.

And here's a little quiet, brown-brown girl, who forgives Rosalie, talks with her, and chooses her own path.

Rosalie wants to tear Bella to shreds, because if Rosalie dares to take that risk of opening her heart to VeraBella again, she'll just die on Rosalie ... again.

So that explains Rosalie's (very) antagonistic attitude to human Bella.

And (pre-)vampire Bella? Now that Bella has made her irrevocable choice and has stood up to everyone, just like Vera, Bella may die (and Rosalie is just so fiercely protective of VeraBella here, and of herself, possibly preparing herself for being hurt again when VeraBella dies again), but VeraBella "re"born, that is "newborn"?

Suddenly, it's a BxRose love-fest. Why?

Because now, NOW, VeraBella can be a friend of Rosalie's heart, and not go dying on her, as humans are wont to do.

Everybody says: "Rosalie wants Renesmee."

Everybody is missing the point.

Rosalie likes Renesmee. Rosalie loves Renesmee. But her babysitting and all that serves two purposes: it gives her time with the baby. And it gives VeraBella time with her husband.

Rosalie is doing this for herself. Rosalie does everything for herself. But Rosalie is being selfless, as well.

Rosalie is being selfless.


Because, I argue, when she was alive, she didn't appreciate Vera for what she was. A friend. Just that. A friend.

Rosalie has never had a friend before or since.

And Vera was there for Rosalie, in spite of and despite the fact that Rosalie is just so Rosalie.

And now here's VeraBella again. Now, finally, Rosalie can say "thank you" to her for that one thing Vera gave to Rosalie that nobody else in the world ever did. AND Rosalie can finally, finally-finally-finally, have that true friend that she can (maybe some day, centuries from now) open up a bit more than she did in Eclipse, ch 7.

You know, a relationship like Alice has with Bella. Bella's not a replacement, nor substitute, for Jasper.

A relationship like that, but, because this is Rosalie, after she gets over her vanity, it will be a relationship so much deeper than that.

Even though she doesn't know this herself, even though she's fought so fiercely against it, she'll have a relationship that she's been looking for her entire existence.

If we look at the relationship of Rosalie and Bella through the lens that Vera provides, we see that it is consistent from start to present (not "finish" because now, thankfully, it will never end). It's not baby-envy. It's not "human"-envy. It's Rosalie. Hurting Rosalie, scared; protective Rosalie, scary, and, eventually, trusting Rosalie, loving and understanding, and finally ... opening.

Just like the relationship she had with Vera, more than seventy years ago.


When Juliet says "Romeo, o Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" She's not saying, "Where are you Romeo?" she's saying "Why are you Romeo?" That is "Why are you my family's enemy, and not some other cute guy to make this whole liebestod thing easier for me?"


LiLa said...

You have it exactly right in regards to Emmett not being everything that Rosalie needs. But he is some things that she needs -- things that neither Vera nor Bella could ever provide, and I'm NOT talking about a certain vital appendage...well, I'm not JUST talking about that.

You see, I don't buy into this whole 'soul mates' thing. I don't think it's possible to be anyone's everything, and I don't think it's fair to expect someone else to be yours. So I can see where Vera or Bella can offer something to Rosalie that she needs and yearns for -- Bella's friendship can complete that piece of Rosalie's puzzle, but take away Emmett, and Rosalie is incomplete again, because she'd miss that person she can be with that doesn't look too deeply into her, that lets her simply be and not feel a need for pesky self-examination. Plus he's got that whole appendage thing going. ;)

And there you have LiLa's not-so-deep thoughts.

Master of the Boot said...

So you're insinuating that Bell and Vera are more or less similar? Not a bad point. Not exactly something that jumped out at me. It's been a while since I read eclipse.

I get what you're saying about Rosalie being a person who hurts. But unlike you, I'm not impressed by that.

Rose is just a spoiled brat who greatly exaggerates her own imporatnce; therefore I never take what she says at face value.

I belive that she has the capacity to be selfless but she is NOT selfless.

There are people in life who have been hurt much worse than Rosalie who aren't stuck up b**ches. There are people who have less than Rosalie ever had. There are so many people who have suffered more than her.

So, Rosalie does not impress me and she does not have my sympathy.

If anything, what she needs is somebody who can tell her to shut her ugly trap. Let her know that being a HALE isn't a big deal at all. Most of us had that happen to us throughout life.

None of us are that great, or as good as we think.