I have absolutely no idea what my life is.
We steal the Declaration of Independence.
But obviously with my own answers. Or so you think. Doing this because I haven’t done any self-assessment in about five years (denial?) and it’s about time, I guess?
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before? I finally progressed to my full drivers licence, after years of procrastination and fear.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I didn’t make any of note last year, but this year I’m going to try and get my 2&5. I know that’s really square, but I like vegetables! And I don’t get enough. Also to try more often/harder and to volunteer. Also maybe change my life.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? No, thank God. We’re a little young, don’t you think?
4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thank God.
5. What countries did you visit? None (if you exclude my extended visit to the People’s Republic of Queensland) :(. I can’t believe I’m a 25-year-old in the Western world and I’ve only ever been to New Zealand :(((
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011? A greater sense of well-being. A passport. Curiosity. Confidence. A better serve.
7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but when I read that question my mind goes completely blank. I don’t really see things in terms of dates. There are a few events I’m not all that keen to share, though.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Starting a business with my best friend.
9. What was your biggest failure? Probably letting myself down in a holistic sense; even though I probably did nearly everything I could to better my situation I still gave up too much. Also probably not making enough friends in Queensland.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Apart from my usual constant sinus thing, it has been a pretty clear year. The one advantage of living in Queensland is the lack of chest colds etc. I can see why pensioners like it.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Gotye tickets.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? The owners of the shop I work in, who decided to employ me.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Mine.
14. Where did most of your money go? That old roof-over-head/debt chestnut.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Working in specialty retail. Lulz. Also buying tickets for Ira Glass. Also Gotye.
16. What song will always remind you of 2011? Did I mention it’s been a big year for Gotye? Probably Save Me from Making Mirrors.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: i. happier or sadder? So much happier. ii. thinner or fatter? Pretty much static. Possibly slightly fatter? iii. richer or poorer: Poorer in cash, richer re: less debt/greater sense of life.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? More writing. My underachievement has reached chronic status. This must be remedied. But then I also fell out of love with it slightly and you should never try to resurrect something that hasn’t fully died. Also I wish I’d been more active/played more tennis.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Sleeping, moping, lying about.
20. How did you spend Christmas? I had a bust-up with my mum which resulted in our hopefully temporary estrangement. Thanks for asking!
21. What LJ users did you meet? N/A since leik 2004 lulz
22. Did you fall in love in 2011? Yes. If you stop, what’s the point?
23. How many one-night stands? Only two or three. Most upsetting, I would wake up with the same damn guy every time.
24. What was your favorite TV program? Oooh there were actually some good’uns this year. Like most lady-nerds I have a massive boner for Sherlock, but my boyfriend and I ploughed through The Tudors tpp. The This American Life TV show was really good too.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I think that ‘hate’ is a strong word that is bandied around a lot. I still hold distaste and resentment towards particular pundits, opinion columnists and politicians. Especially the ones whose jobs I think I could do better.
26. What was the best book you read? Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald. You can practically smell the gardenias on the terrace.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? No single artist stands out, but 2011 has definitely been the year I’ve regained an interest in music. Hurts, Lana del Ray and Kimbra are all highly commended.
28. What did you want and get? A new bicycle from mah hunney!
29. What did you want and not get? Let’s just say the body of my dreams. Also financial freedom. Also motivation and determination.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Crazy Stupid Love was smart, funny, sweet and well written. So I’ll say it.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? Twenty-five. I didn’t really do much because we don’t know many people here and, you know. Crippling social phobias.
32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Full-time employment and the lack of impoverishment/debt it brings.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Floral sacks and other refuge tents for the morbidly obese.
34. What kept you sane? Who is alleging that I was sane for the whole year?
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I must confess, after Crazy Stupid Love I finally get the Gosling thing.
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Usually ones we invented ourselves. I redesigned the education system about three times.
37. Who did you miss? The friends I thought I had, who never wrote back. ** 38. Who was the best new person you met?** Probably some of my partner’s colleagues, who shall remain nameless re: they’re important and I’m not.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. Progress is slow. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t occurring.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
All the dead ends, disappointments fading from your memory, ready for that lonely life to end. I swear, it’s an upbeat song! You should listen to it!!
At the beginning of the story, she is moving from Arizona to Washington on her own volition - she has decided to give her mother and her step-father some time and space and to spend some time with her father. At this point in the story, she is, admittedly, a bit of a Mary Sue, but an endearing one. She is sensitive to the needs of others (moves to Alaska for her Mom’s sake, helps her Dad around the house, is understanding and tries to give the benefit of the doubt even when the other students are somewhat cruel to her when she first arrives), clumsy, out-of-sorts, and a little insecure. She’s not a girly-girl or a cheerleader type, doesn’t get caught up in the typical sorts of high school behavior, and in general functions as an independent person.
It’s worth noting that if Tyler’s van had smashed her, she would have (at that point) died as a fairly well-rounded, empathetic individual. We certainly wouldn’t say she died in need of redemption, at any rate.
Instead, Edward ‘saves’ her - and this supernatural ‘salvation’ marks the beginning of a journey that ultimately destroys her.
As she gets more entangled with Edward, she becomes less and less independent, more and more selfish. She is accepting of his abusive behavior (stalking her on trips with her friends, removing parts from her car so that she can’t go see Jacob, creeping into her window at night, emotional manipulation) to the point that when he completely abandons her (walking out on the trust and commitment they’ve built together, in spite of having vowed to remain with her no matter what), she is willing to take him back. Edward is clearly entirely morally bankrupt.
Her father, Charlie Swan, is sort of the Jimminy Cricket of the story. His intuition is a proxy for the reader’s intuition, and he’s generally right. He doesn’t like Edward, because he can sense the truth - not that Edward is a vampire, that doesn’t matter in particular - but that Edward is devoid of anything approximating a ‘soul’ (for those strict secularists, you could just say Charlie can see that Edward is a terrible person).
Bella is warned by numerous people and events throughout the course of the story that she is actively pursuing her own destruction - but she’s so dependent on Edward and caught up in the idea of the romance that she refuses to see the situation for what it is. Charlie tells her Edward is bad news. Edward tells her that he believes he is damned, and devoid of a soul. He further tells her that making her like him is the most selfish thing he will ever do. Jacob warns her numerous times that Edward is a threat to her life and well-being. She even has examples of other women who have become involved with monsters - Emily Young bears severe and permanent facial disfigurement due to her entanglement with Sam Uley.
Her downward spiral continues when, in New Moon, she turns around and treats her father precisely as Edward has treated her - abandoning him after suffering an obvious and extended severe bout of depression, leaving him to worry that she is dead for several days. She had been emotionally absent for a period of months before that anyhow. Charlie Swan is traumatized by this event, and never quite recovers thereafter. (He is continuously suspicous of nearly everyone Bella interacts with from that point on, worries about her frequently, and seems generally less happy.)
Her refusal to break her codependence with Edward eventually leads them to selfishly endanger Carlisle’s entire clan when the Volturi threaten (and then attempt) to wipe them out for their interaction with her - so she is at this point in the story willing to put lives on both sides of the line (her family and the Cullens) at risk in favor of this abusive relationship. Just like in a real abusive relationship, she is isolated or isolates herself from nearly everyone in her life - for their safety, she believes.
Ultimately, she marries Edward, submitting to mundane domesticity and an abusive relationship - voluntarily giving up her independence in favor of fulfilling Edward’s idea of her appropriate role. Her pregnancy - which in the real world would bind her to the father of her children irrevocably (if only through the legal system or through having to answer the kid’s questions about their paternity) - completely destroys her body. The baby drains her of every resource in her body (she becomes sickly, skeletal, and unhealthy) and ultimately snaps her spine during labor.
Her physical destruction tracks with and mirrors her moral and psychological destruction - both are the product of seeds that she allowed Edward to plant inside her through her failure to be independent.
Ultimately, to ‘save’ her (there’s that salvation again), Edward shoots venom directly into her heart. Let me repeat that for emphasis: The climax of the entire series is when Edward injects venom directly into Bella Swan’s heart.
Whatever wakes up in that room, it ain’t Bella.
I’ll refer to the vampire as Bella Cullen, the human as Bella Swan.
Bella Swan was clumsy.
Bella Cullen is the most graceful of all the vampires.
Bella Swan was physically weak and frequently needed protection.
Bella Cullen is among the strongest and most warlike of the vampires, standing essentially on her own against a clan that has ruled the world for centuries.
Bella Swan was empathetic to the needs of others before she met Edward.
Bella Cullen pursues two innocent human hikers through a forest, intent on ripping them to pieces to satisfy her bloodlust - and stops only because Edward calls out to her. Not because she perceives murder as wrong. (Breaking Dawn, p.417). She also attempts to kill Jacob and breaks Seth’s shoulder because she didn’t approve of what Jacob nicknamed her daughter (Breaking dawn, p.452). She no longer has morals .
Bella Swan was fairly modest and earnest.
Bella Cullen uses her sex appeal to manipulate innocent people and extract information from them (pp.638 - 461) - she does so in order to get in touch with J. Jenks.
In short, her entire identity - everything that made her who she was - has been erased.
This is powerfully underscored on p. 506, when Charlie Swan (remember, the conscience of the story) sees his own daughter for the first time after her transformation:
“Charlie’s blank expression told me how off my voice was. His eyes zeroed in on me and widened.
Shock. Disbelief. Pain. Loss. Fear. Anger. Suspicion. More pain.”
He goes through the entire grieving process right there - because at that moment, he recognizes what so many readers don’t - Bella Swan is dead.
The most tragic part of the whole story is that this empty shell of a person - which at this point is nothing more than a frozen echo of Bella, twisted and destroyed as she is by her codependence with Edward, fails to see what has happened to her. She ends the story in denial - empty, annihilated, and having learned nothing.
I would say that read in the proper light, it’s a powerful cautionary tale about accepting traditional gender roles and conforming to expected societal norms. Particularly with regard to male dominance (rather than partnership) in relationships."