posted by luv_warriorcatz
This was not written by me. It was written by the twilightsucks.com community. I would try to learn from it except that I fail at Health terms:
Copy and Pasted from the Twilightsucks.com community:
Quote: In literature, a plot is all the events in a story particularly rendered towards the achievement of some particular artistic or emotional effect. In other words, it's what mostly happened in the story or novel or what the story's general theme is based on, such as the mood, characters, setting, and conflicts occurring in a story.
The concept of plot and the associated concept of plot construction, also called emplotment, has developed considerably since Aristotle made these insightful observations. The episodic narrative tradition which Aristotle indicates has systematically been subverted over the intervening years, to the extent that the concept of beginning, middle, end are merely regarded as a conventional device when no other is at hand.
Quote: 3: the plan or main story (as of a movie or literary work)
Plot is a tricky subject, particularly in literature. For this reason, I apologize in advance for the rambling and confusion that is sure to follow throughout this post.
Problems arise when one attempts to draw up a definition of plot; either the definition becomes too open (calling “everything” plot, i.e. the characters and their arcs, the events in the story, the theme etc.) or narrow (calling only literal benchmark events plot, i.e. 1. Bella comes to Forks, 2. Bella meets Edward, 3. Bella and Edward fall in love (debatable)).
With Twilight, there come problems with either definition, so to be fair (since the average Twilight fan admits that in terms of linear plot events, Twilight is pretty lacking) let’s look at the open definition in particular.
“Character arc and development”
Quote: A character arc is the status of the character as it unfolds throughout the story, the storyline or series of episodes. Characters begin the story with a certain viewpoint and, through events in the story, that viewpoint changes.
Character development may refer to the change in characterization of a dynamic character, who changes over the course of a narrative.
Let’s consider characters. There is a complete lack of character development in the book, thus removing the idea of character arc as part of plot. Bella does not change in any essential way from page 1 of the book to page 400 (or however many pages there are) aside from meeting and “falling in love” with Edward. She is the same character. Meyer does not reveal that she becomes more or less trusting, more or less prone to anger, more or less kind, more or less world-wise, or any other possible changes for other characteristics. At the beginning of the book, she worries about her mother. At the end, the fact that she worries about her mother is the crux of the events-based “plot” that forms the dubious climax of the book.
Neither does Edward experience any great transformation as a character aside from his relationship with Bella. As a vampire, he is naturally unchanging, sort of preserved forever as a 17 year old boy, and Meyer does nothing to change this perception. He is presented as something of a loner, and that is the only characteristic to change simply by virtue of the love story. Aside from that, there IS no character to change in the first place; Edward, like Bella, is very much a blank slate on which the reader is intended to imprint themselves in order to live the story through Bella’s shoes and experience their personal vision of the “perfect man” with Edward as the vessel.
Meyer gives token “characteristics” to both characters (Bella is clumsy, Edward plays piano) but neither of these are true intrinsic traits which define the characters’ actions, wishes, and intentions. Rather, Meyer gives us traits which are focused outwardly rather than personal to each character, such as Edward’s jealousy over Bella’s friendship with Jacob. Given that he had no one to be jealous of in the past, this is not so much a character trait as it is an after-thought, a reactionary plot device to advance what little conflict there is in the series. Everything Edward focuses on and thinks about surrounds Bella; this is not a character which represents a three-dimensional person so much as the perfect (and non-existent) fantasy man. For this reason, Edward HAS no character of his own except for that which applies to Bella. Thus, the plot in terms of character arc is completely absent because there is nothing within Edward to change in the first place.
An argument against this might say…
“But the point is that Edward wasn’t truly “alive” until he met Bella, so his character arc happens when he meets Bella”
Wanting to kill her one day and then deciding that he can’t live without her the next does not a character arc make. And the idea that he wasn’t truly “alive” before Bella only reinforces the idea that Edward is just a blank slate; no real person (or even half of a person) simply exists for 100 years as a transient being with no personal characteristics and quirks and traits (talking old-fashioned does NOT count). Going from a “nothing” character to a one chock full of reactionary traits (e.g. wants to protect Bella) is not a character arc nor is it character development.
“But Edward is caring, loving, smart, awesome, sweet, sexy, psychic, hot, etc. etc., so yes he DOES have personality”
Most of those supposed characteristics are subjective in the minds of readers (“sexy”, “hot” – just because Meyer says so doesn’t make it true) and some of them are flat-out contradicted by the text (“caring”, “loving” – go read the ‘Edward is abusive’ thread).
Even if those WERE characteristics, they undergo no important changes or development throughout the series, so they’re irrelevant to the plot (which is the discussion at hand).
Quote: In literature, a theme is a broad idea in a story, or a message or lesson conveyed by a work. This message is usually about life, society or human nature. Themes explore timeless and universal ideas. Most themes are implied rather than explicitly stated.
Deep thematic content is not required in literature; however, some readers hold that all stories inherently project some kind of outlook on life that can be taken as a theme, regardless of whether or not this is the intent of the author.
Most Twilight fans say that the “theme” of Twilight is supposed to be the “love” story of Bella and Edward. While this is obviously a woeful ignorance of what theme means, it does provide an interesting opportunity for me to really explore the merits of this supposed love story.
Let’s preface this argument with some words from Stephenie Meyer:
Quote: “Unintentional and rubbish [In answer to the question if vampires represent Satan]. No offense to your friend. It is possible to read TOO deep into a book. They're just vampires”
It’s interesting to me that Meyer calls an attempt at the basic identification of a metaphor “reading too deeply” particularly because I’ve heard that same argument many times from Twilight fans especially in the sexism and abuse discussions. It’s a popular argument (apparently learned from Meyer herself) to say that because the sexism/abuse was unintended, that it therefore doesn’t exist. This is obviously silly (and an argument I’ve covered before) so I won’t get into that too much except to say that the actions characters take (and in Bella’s case, her thoughts (or lack thereof)) DO send a message (the theme). In Twilight’s case, that message is almost certainly unintentional but it is projected quite clearly nonetheless; the message of sexism and abuse being acceptable.
Since Meyer herself argues that the books are NOT sexist and that the notion of Edward acting abusive is “hurtful” to her, it’s fair to say that she did not intend for that theme.
So what theme, if any, did she intend to portray?
I can’t think of one, and neither can the Twilight fans I’ve asked that question. They all say that “it’s just a love story.” While I disagree with them, I think it’s safe to say that the unintended theme (sexism is a-okay) and the intended “it’s just a love story” are debates for another day. For now, let’s just say that Twilight has a deadbeat theme and therefore, no theme contributes to the plot.
Since characterization and theme have been chopped down at the knees, I must turn my attention to the more narrow view of plot which is the basic step-by-step unfolding of events.
1. Bella moves to Forks.
2. Bella meets Edward.
3. Bella and Edward “fall in love” (given that this happens in about two weeks I really don’t know if it counts, but I’m giving Twilight the benefit of the doubt)
4. James comes after Bella.
5. James bites the dust (couldn’t resist, sorry).
Plot is incontrovertibly tied with conflict and that is another reason the antis argue that Twilight has no plot. Meyer supposedly used Pride and Prejudice as inspiration for Twilight, but the actual conflict of Bella and Edward getting together was resolved in a few pages; Bella whines about Edward shooting death glares at her, Edward disappears for a week, Edward comes back and starts following her around like a puppy dog.
Twilight fans argue that Bella trying to figure out what Edward was is another conflict. Given that the readers are told on the inside of the dust jacket that Edward’s a vampire, not only is this NOT a conflict for them, it’s more an annoyance. And once Bella finds out what he is, rather than being disgusted or afraid (a more likely response and one that could have led to some true conflict with Edward trying to win her trust or something), she is totally fine with it… that’s some pretty anticlimactic conflict resolution, if you ask me.
Then James comes. Most antis accept the James-wanting-a-taste-of-Bella as the main conflict of the book, yet it comes into play around 2/3 of the way through the book and reads like it was an afterthought, a conflict that Meyer tacked on once she realized that the book had no plot. It’s resolved easily enough considering the length of the book as a whole, and Bella escapes with a broken bone or two and no doubts at all about her relationship with a the guy of the same species as the guy who just hunted her down and nearly killed her. Whatever.
By my definition, Twilight has no plot. Events happen, sure, but they aren’t accompanied with and don’t effect change in character development, thematic development, and conflict. Instead, Twilight is 400+ pages of whiny rambling and immature gushing over the elusive perfection that is Edward Cullen, a tabula rasa of a character and no more real than a three-legged gnome casting love spells on unsuspecting Elvish citizenry.
Here is an example of a major plothole, once more provided by Twilightsucks.com(warning! science ahead!)
1. Edward's sperm.... Or, why Edward should be infertile.
There are a variety of problems here, so let's go through each of them.
a. "Edward is frozen! His sperm survived!"
Edward has been a vampire for several, several decades. If unused, sperm survive inside the testes for a few days, let's say between 3-7 days. Outside the body, they survive a few hours. Inside the female, they can survive up to three days. Additionally, sperm require a specific temperature to survive; specifically, around 96 degrees. That is why the testes draw up closer to the abdomen for warmth when males are cold ("shrinkage" when swimming, for example) and why they "drop," or extend away from the abdomen, in a hot shower (as the body heats up).
Remember what happens when humans turn into vampires? Their body dies. Their body stops generating heat. All conventional wisdom, therefore, says that Eddie's sperm ought to have died within a few hours of his human death. And although Meyer describes Edward as "icy" and "frozen in time," he isn't actually frozen. He's a corpse. So, the argument that Edward's vampiness preserves his sperm (which, by the way, he didn't ejaculate that sperm for over 100 years...yeah, okay).
But, for the sake of argument, let's say that Edward did have some viable sperm. The, the question is: why was Nessie half vampire. Since vampires don't age or grow or produce body fluids other than venom (...more on that later), Edward's sperm could only have been human. Why was Nessie not fully human, then?
b. The chromosomes changed! Like in, um, the rest of us body!"
Ah, Meyer's "chromosome" explanation. Haha, good one. More on that later.
But for now, let's make this explanation a simple one. The difference (and why mammals can maek_babiez) between body ("somatic") cells and gametes (ovum, sperm) is that body cells have 23 pairs of chromosomes (=46) and gametes have only 23 chromosomes, period. Further, the ovum's 23 pairs match up to the sperm's 23 pairs. When they fuse, they create a zygote with--wait for it, now--23 pairs of chromosomes, just like somatic cells! Thus, gametes are called haploid cells because they have half the number of chromosomes as somatic cells (diploid cells).
So what does all that basic biology talk matter? Well, here's the thing, in plain speech. Those gametes went through a delicate and complex process (meiosis) to arrive in their current form. There's no way that a vampiric "virus" or whatever could transform them into a viable vamp_sperm without totally fucking them up because they aren't the same as somatic cells. Even if this vamp_virus could somehow alter the genetic code of somatic cells (thereby turning each of Eddy's cells (and therefore, sets of DNA) into vamp cells, that same process would not work for a haploid cell without irreparably damaging it and rendering it useless in terms of babymakin.'
But, for the sake of argument, let's say that somehow Edward's sperm was viable, with its vampness intact (25 singular chromosomes...>eyeroll<). Meyer says that Nessie was born with 24 chromosomes (presumably 24 chromosome pairs). This does not make sense.
I've seen Twilighters use the mule/ninny defense, saying that horses have 64 chromosomes and donkeys have 62 and since some mules has 63, it "works" for vamp/humans and therefore dhampirs as well. Besides the fact that mules getting 63 is a total crapshoot, here are some reasons it doesn't.
Humans have 23 very specific chromosomes.
Vampires (and for the sake of the discussion, let's assume that this is possible) have 25 very specific chromosomes.
Human 23 match with the vampire's first 23 (assuming they are the vampire's original human chromosomes).
Human gamete has 0 left over, Vampire gamete has 2 left over.
Now, presumably, it's those 2 extra chromosomes which give the vampire its vampire traits.
What are those vampire traits?
Well, vampires are humans' predators. They hunt, kill, and gain sustenance from humans. This is NOT the same as the donkey/horse relationship, two animals which are very, very similar genetically - i.e., four-legged mammals, hoofed, living, herbivores, part of the equidae family and the equus genus.
Saying that a human and vampire can cross-breed is like making the argument that tigers and antelopes can cross-breed. One predates upon the other. They have extreme genetic differences. Humans are living, omnivores, mammals, members of the hominidae family and homo class. Vampires are dead, sanguinivorous, asexual, and since while they're possibly a member of the hominidae family, they sure as hell don't qualify for the homo genus (also, because they're not real and based on fantasy, but then again that's the point of this whole discussion - the absurdity that Meyer tried to explain vampires scientifically). Not only that, but they are humans' natural predator (strength, speed, DaZzLe!).
Long story short? THEY DON'T MATCH UP TO HUMANS.
Besides that, even if those two left over chromosomes somehow joined up with each other, it'd probably result in some really fucked-up congenital defects (...they arguably did, but whatevs). They would not result in a perfect little creature like Nessie.
What about Nessie?
> Unless Edward's sperm doubles as Miracle-Gro, Nessie ought to grow very slowly.
> She should also require a more balanced diet, seeing as blood is actually very poor nutritiously and her body wouldn't get the required nutrients and fuel to sustain her metabolism and SuPEr!growth.
> This is also the reason that Bella's gallon of blood as her tasty pregnancy supplement is completely baseless. Blood has very low nutritional value as well as being bad for humans if they ingest too much of it. If anything, Bella ought to have become very sick and starved to death if all she was doing was drinking blood. There's a reason vampire bats have to ingest ridiculous amounts of blood in order to survive.. It's because blood sucks as a food source.
> If she does grow fast, then chances are her extra chromosome or two would really fuck that process up (...like, say, Down's syndrome, aka trisomy 21 [an extra chromosome! Why does that sound familiar?], which causes developmental problems in the brain as well as some physical oddities, like smaller, almond-shaped eyes, protruding tongue, shorter limbs, etc.).
c. "Yeah, but Edward doesn't have sperm! He has venom!"
Meyer has said (and I'm paraphrasing), "there are a lot of things that venom does."
Well, that's true. One of those things is that it gets into the bloodstream, it starts vamping a person. Given the fact that Edward banged (ha. ha. ironic?) Bella hard enough to leave bruises and the fact that she was a virgin... Chances are good that his venom_sperm should have come into contact with torn hymen or, once ejaculated into her uterus, should have been absorbed into the bloodstream. Meaning, Bella would very quickly have experienced a burning sensation inside her body and I really don't want to imagine Edward sucking that venom out in an effort to de-vampify her.
But, for the sake of argument, let's say that the venom somehow passed through her vagina, uterus, and into her fallopian tube where it reached the mature ovum.
There's this thing about sperm that makes it special. I'm not going to get into the nitty-gritty details of it, but there's a complex hormonal response within the egg and within the sperm that make it possible for the sperm (about 0.05 millimeters long) to penetrate and fertilize the egg (visible to the human eye). Not only that, but it's human sperm which are capable of going through this process.
But, let's say that venom could do the job, too. Now, as far as I know, there aren't any human elements to venom (especially as it's apparently lethal to humans). So, if somehow the venom got to the egg, there are a few scenarios that would play out:
> The venom's acidic (or basic, dunno which) nature would go Wicked-Witch-of-the-West style on the egg, destroying it completely (considering the egg is pretty fragile, and if venom can dissolve a contact lens in a few hours, then it would definitely fuck up an egg).
> If the venom didn't destroy the egg, then it would make the egg all vampire (remember, no human element)... and the egg would not mature at all. It would die, and then become a "frozen in time," dead egg.
> It would not turn the egg into a super-special super-speed growth demon spawn.
So. There you have it. Why Edward's sperm should exist, why venom doesn't work, and why Nessie's only possible origin is magic.
"But it's fantasy!"
This is one case where that argument works, kind of. Meyer was an idiot to try an explain her vampires via science. It's a cardinal rule of fantasy that if your explanation won't work, find one that does. You know what explanation works for vampires? Magic. Call them supernatural; that's what they are. Using science as a bizarre crutch for your fantasy only ruins your continuity and your world's logic and it brings down the writing to the level where I have rendered her plot completely unworkable by the application of basic biology. The reason this is a problem is because it is yet another symptom of Meyer's complete fail when it comes to basic writing technique and theory.
(More examples below)
Science, part 2
1. Diamond-skin & body-heat
Meyer says about the vampires’ sparkle motion power that “their skin hardens into a diamond-like substance (only harder). This material has prism-like qualities. The sun does not damage the skin regardless of the reflecting.”
…The problem with being “harder” than a diamond is that diamonds aren’t, you know, flexible. Now while it’d be an interesting idea (and alternate solution to the vampires-don’t-go-out-in-sunl... aspect of vampire lore) if they suddenly turned to stone in the sunlight, Meyer doesn’t do that. Their skin is just diamond-like. How do they move? It should be impossible.
About body heat: We learn from the approximately 234250907811 times that Bella says it that Edward is cold and hard and pale and icy, even when they’re in bed together. My question is this: how does Edward’s body NOT absorb Bella’s body heat? It’s not as though his body can’t react to other forms of energy, so why does Bella’s delectable 98.6º flesh have no impact on him whatsoever? If you hold a rock in your hand, the rock eventually warms up. If you sleep next to a corpse, you’ll wake up to the fact that the parts of the corpse that your body has touched are in fact warm. It’s not as though Edward’s body is generating ‘cold’, since ‘cold’ doesn’t exist in scientific terms. In theory, since Edward isn’t keeping ice cubes in his pants (we don’t think), he should always be room temperature, which means that to a human’s touch, he should feel slightly cool. In hot weather, he’d feel warmer. But seriously—perpetual iciness makes no sense at all.
2. Beauty (and omg, sparkles!)
I’ve ranted on about this elsewhere, but for the sake of covering my bases I’ll do it again. Why do vampires suddenly become Greek gods/goddesses upon transformation? Fans like to say that their beauty makes them attractive to their prey, making it easier for them to catch wee, sparkle-struck Homo sapiens. There are two problems with this, namely that the text contradicts that theory and that even if it were in the text, it makes no sense scientifically.
What does the text say?
Much fuss is made over the vampires’ inhuman beauty, yet Bella is the only idiot actually ATTRACTED to it. Edward says several times how other humans are instinctively afraid and wary of the vampires ON SIGHT; so how does that make any sense whatsoever with the theory that their beauty is a secondary adaptation for hunting? Answer: it doesn’t.
What does evolutionary theory say?
Refresher course for those of who have forgotten: evolution (and if you don’t believe in the humans-and-apes-have-a-common... theory, remember that evolution is happening every day in bacterial populations—MRSA is the product of evolution [the bacteria which had mutated to be resistant to penicillin and other antibiotics reproduced to create MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant forms of bacteria] so it’s okay to believe in natural selection) works on the principle of natural selection. Basically, natural selection is the idea that on average, the strongest, most-adapted organism will survive (and therefore procreate) and the weakest, least-adapted organism will not (and therefore its gene set is nullified). Evolution is based on reproduction; a lot of biologists argue that reproduction is the overarching biological need in all organisms and that all behavior works to that end.
What does this have to do with meyerpires and how pretty they are?
1. Vampires are already pretty much indestructible as well as the prefect predator for their prey; they are infinitely stronger, faster, smarter. Thus, the following questions must be asked:
a. How could beauty have evolved as an adaptation when hardly ANY of them die (meaning that even an ugly vampire would be able to feed and survive), and even if they DID…
b. THEY DON’T REPRODUCE. Vampires are not BORN; the only possibility for genetic diversity (reproduction & genetic recombination) is completely NULL thanks to the fact that females are infertile (more on the males later).
“But making a new vampire IS reproduction”
No, it isn’t. In Meyer-land, humans become full vampires rather than half-vampires when turned. This means that there is no sexual reproduction happening because, as we know, sexual reproduction requires two separate sets of DNA (and in the vamping process, the human’s DNA would theoretically combine with the vampire’s to make themselves a half-vampire… this doesn’t happen.). If it was asexual reproduction, like mitosis, then the newly-turned vampire would be an identical copy of its maker, but again this obviously isn’t the case. The only possibility then is that Meyer’s version of vampirism is more like an STD than anything—that is, a virus or bacterial infection that happens to transform its host into a sparkly, scintillating, stunning monster.
So what does this prove, exactly?
Simple: that the vampires’ beauty makes no sense and serves no purpose other than to Mary Sue-ify and Gary Stu-ify the Cullens (and of course Bella).