Twilight: Cheating with Vampires

Twilight Recap: Bella has arrived at her new high school in the small town of Forks, and is still trying to get her bearings and gain familiarity with the new students, new campus, and new assignments she will have to grapple with in the coming months.

Twilight, Chapter 1: First Sight

I've banged on a bit about the setting, or lack thereof, in Twilight so far, and I promised myself I wouldn't keep griping about it, but you know what they say about best laid plans. I started this post this morning all set to talk about cheating in Twilight and how utterly fascinating and brilliant my thoughts on the subject matter are. But when I sat down to start the post, I had this momentary stab of utter panic when I realized that I don't remember what month it is right now in Twilight - I don't even know in a general sense like winter or spring. I've got no frame of reference at the moment and it's incredibly disorienting - how can I claim to deconstruct a text when I'm not even paying enough attention to know what month it is?

My first thought was that it must be spring - maybe March or April - because Bella talked about how green everything was on the way home from the airport, and of course it was raining at the time. But then I remembered that just a little later on in the novel, there's a bit of snowfall at school, which would point to it still being winter - January or February, maybe. I definitely remember having the recollection that the school year has already started at Forks High School, and that this "first day" for Bella isn't a first day of school for anyone else. But I couldn't remember how far along in the school year we are, and since we're only 14 pages in, I figured it wouldn't be too hard for me to backtrack and find out. You can therefore imagine how utterly flummoxed and defeated I felt when I re-read the first 14 pages only to still have no idea when it is right now in Twilight-time.

At this point, I turned to the internet for help. I managed to get a Google hit from "twilight bella starts in what month?" and got this from Twilight Saga Answers

In what month does Bella start Forks School?
In the movie version - it's March.
In the novel version - it's January.

Well, that's settled, January it is then. Only I generally always check at least one more Google result, just in case, which led me to find this page, also from Twilight Saga Answers

What month did Bella start school in Forks?
She started in May.

Picard facepalm. The hunt was on again. I booted up Calibre and opened my copy of the Complete Twilight Saga Collection. There's a very nifty search function in Calibre, so I determined that I would search for every month of the year until something came up to tell me when, exactly, Bella goes to school for the first time in Forks.

January doesn't pop up until the second book in the series, "New Moon", May seems to only be used in the non-month sense ("May I?"), and April doesn't appear until the third book, "Eclipse". February also doesn't show until "New Moon", but I finally got lucky with March - around 100 pages into "Twilight", one of the students mentions the March Spring Dance to Bella in conversation. At this point, she's well established at the school, though, so I think we can be pretty clear that she's been there for at least a month or two... maybe.

Whatever, we're going with January until anyone can point me to a better theory. That would put the Phil/Renee wedding in December, which is dreadfully inconvenient for guests, what with all the other holiday and travel plans that have to be made in December, but with Phil being a Minor League Baseball Player, maybe that was the only time they could work it in.

So here we are, one hour later, and I can finally talk about what I wanted to talk about: cheating. Bella has arrived in her new class and has been handed a syllabus and is absorbed in thought.

   I kept my eyes down on the reading list the teacher had given me. It was fairly basic: Bronte, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Faulkner. I’d already read everything. That was comforting . . . and boring. I wondered if my mom would send me my folder of old essays, or if she would think that was cheating. I went through different arguments with her in my head while the teacher droned on.

My first thought was, "Yes, she probably would think was cheating, because it is," but then I hesitated. I should first point out that inasmuch as I don't think lying is a categorically bad thing, neither do I think cheating (in the classroom sense, not in the marital sense) is categorically bad.

When I was in late-junior-high/early-high-school, a couple of job relocations (for my dad) and a major surgery (for me) contrived to send me to three different schools in three different years. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but I ended up with the exact same history textbook for three years in a row.  (The teaching styles were identical, too: six weeks on Ancient Sumeria and six days on everything that happened after World War II. I think we spent one afternoon, tops, on the entire Vietnam war.) I honestly don't remember if I reused my homework from year to year, but I do know that I had all the important bits highlighted long before I finished the book for the third time.

Later, once I got to college, I got to experience some really truly horrible professors who considered it an absolute insult that they were expected to leave their labs from time to time in order to teach a bunch of college kids. As some form of public protest, or perhaps just drunk on the sort of power that small fishes can accrue in a largish ivory tower, they would spend their entire lecture periods talking about anything but the class material, laughing all the way to the bank. I remember one hour-long filibuster in particular being over The Wizard of Oz in an electrical engineering Introduction to Circuits course. The absolute only way to know what was going to be on the tests was to get a copy of last year's tests - which was, of course, the same test the teacher had been recycling for that course for the last ten years. The administration didn't want to address the issue; the students couldn't afford to drop out and take the class again with a "good" professor. If you didn't cheat, you failed. It was as simple as that.

After all these life experiences, I'm the last one to say that cheating is some kind of categorical wrong, and I certainly maintain a healthy skepticism when the hand-wringing starts up periodically from school officials or the media. At the same time, I don't think cheating is a categorical good either - it really boils down to why you feel the need to cheat.

Bella seems to be considering reusing (or at least heavily borrowing from) her old English essays because she doesn't want to go through the same subject matter all over again. She's wondering if her mother would consider that cheating, and whether or not she can convince Renee that it's not. Bella might have a good case, actually: Wikipedia defines cheating as "the overt or covert breaking of rules to gain advantage in a competitive situation," and it's fairly clear that Bella isn't trying to one-up her classmates or be declared valedictorian - she just doesn't want to read "Jane Eyre" again.

Bella might have a stronger case with her mother if she had some alternative planned to reading "Jane Eyre" again - if she was planning to use all the time saved by her cheating to do something constructive: to make new friends in her new home, or to get a job and start earning money for college, or to start studying in her free time for the college entrance exams. These would be cases, I think, where a reasonable parent might say, "Alright, while I do believe that reading 'Jane Eyre' a second time could be very useful to you, I can also see that the return on investment is higher if you were to invest that time in something else."

The problem, of course, is that Bella doesn't want to do those things - she dislikes going out with friends more than absolutely necessary and she seems to have no interest whatsoever in earning money, starting a career, or furthering her education. She doesn't want to do something better with her time than reading "Jane Eyre" again - she just doesn't want to be bored. And even this is interesting in itself since most of her "free time" is spent grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning house, and doing the laundry - one would think that at the very least "Jane Eyre" would hold the charm of "can't cook tonight, dad, must read homework instead!"

All this would be interesting within any YA novel, I think, but this is a YA novel that offers the very real specter of immortality. In a few pages, Bella will meet Edward Cullen and his family of vampires. As a family of ageless, immortal young people, they face an interesting dilemma: if they want to have any social interaction with humans at all, they have to live in areas that are perpetually overcast, and they have to move regularly to alleviate suspicion as to their agelessness. Edward will later tell Bella, "[T]he younger we pretend to be, the longer we can stay in any given place. Forks seemed perfect, so we all enrolled in high school."

Edward has been a vampire for 86 years. Assuming the family can stay in the same place for about 8 years without arousing suspicion (4 years in high school + 4 years after), he's been through high school ten times. That's forty years spent in high school. Of course, Edward hasn't actually been in school that long - they've lived with other vampires and out in the wilderness at various times over the years. But he could have been in high school that long if they'd craved human companionship more often - and presumably there's no reason why this pattern will change in the future.

What's absolutely astonishing to me is that this absolutely astonishing fact never seems to hit Bella square between the eyes in this novel. Twilight will end with Bella bound and determined to be adopted into Edward's vampire family as the newest newborn, and it will apparently never once occur to her that as bored as she is now hearing the teacher "drone on" after having already learned everything there is to know about "Jane Eyre" last year, she won't somehow be that much more bored twenty-four years from now, having heard the same "Jane Eyre" lecture for the fifth time.


Kit Whitfield said...

Hi Ana! Can I come play?

One of the things that stands out to me in the section you quote is Bella's relentless negativity. She apparently scans the reading list, concludes she has nothing else to learn, and switches off her ears to the teacher 'droning' on.

I don't know about you, but I've been taught the same text by different teachers, and found that they had different perspectives on it. I learned new things by having new teachers.

I've heard that the teaching of literature is mechanistic in American high schools, but even so, this strikes me as a fundamentally uneducated attitude: books are like maths problems, if you've already taken the class then you've solved that particular problem, and there's no point doing the same sums again.

Bella having read everything comes across as an oblique boast - she's much better educated than her classmates, because she's read all of this! (Seriously? She's read enough of Chaucer that it's plausible she'd have covered anything the Forks school could come up with? I've got a paperback complete works: it's two inches thick and full of tiny print. And I haven't read it all.) But at the same time, she concludes that she has nothing to learn from rereading some major classics.

All of which strikes me as the attitude that the point of studying literature is being able to name-drop authors. It's about how you look rather than what you learn.

I think the book is trying to make Edward seem all the more special by making everything around him dull, but actually it makes Bella look dull. I mean, what are they going to talk about in eternity? Griping will surely pall after a while...

Technocracygirl said...

In terms of the timing debate, I can understand the confusion. If you step off of the plane at Sea-Tac, you will be hit by green. January, July, or November, the west side of the state is green. (That was always a wonder and delight for me when I was in exile in the SF Bay Area.) Spring and summer are more green than winter, and autumn can have gorgeous reds, yellows, and oranges, but there will *always* be green.

I totally understand Bella's boredom from a certain perspective. I read the Orestia once in high school, wrote an essay on it, and hated the entire thing. I got to college the next year, read the same work, and had an essay on the same prompt, and *still* hated the darned thing. (Worse, I'd thrown away the HS essay because I hated it so much, and therefore *couldn't* crib from myself.) But doesn't she like *anything* on that list? I'd love to talk about Julius Caesar again, or MacBeth. Chaucer has a lot of good in him, and that's usually what HS's focus on. I'll re-read Twain and Austen for fun, and talking about them afterwards is also awesome. At least in the nerdy crowds I run with, if you like a text, you want to talk about it, assigned reading or not. I don't know why there's *nothing* on the list that Bella likes and is excited about, especially if she enjoys some classical literature. (I remember a copy of Wuthering Heights being sold with "Edward and Bella's favorite book!" on the cover. Personally, give me Darcy over Heathcliff any day of the week, but YMMV.)

But on another thought, I would think that college is a much easier place to pull immortality off. Pamela Dean's Tam Lin is probably the best example of this. Four years undergraduate, then stretching 8-10 years for a doctorate -- it gives you more time to be in one place, plus the faces around you have a tendency to change. Not to mention the changes in teachers and curricula, plus you'll have a great pulse on the changes in society and in technology. And every decade and a half or so, uproot and go to a different state or country, rinse, and repeat. (Actually, that might be close to dream immortality for me...) You'll constantly be exposed to new people, new situations, new information (all of which are new methods for survival, if the non-existent hunters force you to leave.) You would probably be less bored than you would be at high school, though intro classes might suck if you keep majoring in the same thing over and over. Still, if high school is how they hide, you think that college, all things considered, would be better. Fewer questions, if nothing else.

SkyknightXi said...

Lo, Cullen, let me introduce you to a concept known as "homeschooling"...

Proton Donor said...

For the literature issue: I read Plato's Republic for two different classes in two consecutive years, at the same school. One was for a philosophy-oriented humanities class, the other for a social sciences class; *completely* different views of the book. Each class dwelt heavily on aspects of the Republic that the other completely skimmed over. An essay I wrote on Plato for humanities wouldn't have any chance of being retooled into something usable for social science. In fact this has been my experience with every book I've had to read twice for school, even in the American high school (and middle school!) system. So Bella's exasperation at reading the same stuff twice is reasonable, but reusing old essays? I just can't see that actually working. As well as the fact that the smugness of the lines "It was fairly basic: Bronte, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Faulkner. I’d already read everything. That was comforting . . . and boring" seems to drip off the page.

Dav said...

Unending high school is like my person version of No Exit. That would make me rethink immortality *really hard*. (Better than unending middle school, though.)

The nice thing about pretending to be somewhere between 19 and 25 instead of 17 is that you get not only college, but any of the young people experiences. You can go backpack through Europe. (At night, I guess, but European nightlife would still be okay.) You can sail a boat around the world. You can do any entry level position - I'd say pre-30 is your stopping point. You can write, you can have an apartment in New York (where your weirdness will barely be recognized by other people on the subway), you can be a fashion designer or an artist or a secretary or a plumber or a night watchman or almost anything you want. Even bare bones clerical work would be better than Year 50 of Lord of the Flies.

Worse than class, I think, would be the social stuff - Bella can barely stand to have boys talk to her, but once vamped, she's going to be extra beautiful, and presumably do some emotional maturation. Can you imagine being emotionally 60, but having no one to hang with but a bunch of high school students? Talk about forced isolation.

Thalia said...

That reminds us we had to assume that vampirism just froze you emotionally as well as physically while watching Buffy in order to explain A) what Angel would see in her and how it wasn't totally oogy and B) why he could go around being so misunderstood and angst-ridden when really, dude, 200 years of that gets old....

Dav said...

Which is really, really creepy. I mean, I was a relatively well adjusted teenager, but part of being a healthy teenager is continued emotional development - that is a BAD place to be stuck. (Or would be for me.)

I still find Buffy/Angel kind of oogy. Even if he really, truly loved her, she's IN HIGH SCHOOL and he's 200. Bad, bad, bad.

Ana Mardoll said...

Can you imagine being emotionally 60, but having no one to hang with but a bunch of high school students? Talk about forced isolation.

Re: Maturity Themes,

I'm also stunned at how they manage to pull it off. I have to believe that a 100-year-old person talks and thinks differently from most 17-year-olds. The point is made in the text that the Cullens don't socialize much, so maybe no one notices that, but if they aren't into the social scene, then what's the POINT of the high school cover (instead of homeschooling, as previously suggested).

Not to mention that the Cullens are attending school with their spouses, but having to pretend to just be dating. That really blows my mind - I'm fairly certain that if *anyone* saw me and Husband together on a daily basis, they'd figure out pretty quickly that we were married, no matter how hard we were trying not to let on. You just know so much about someone after a few years together and it's reflected in your demeanor far differently from, say, a couple who is in the early stages of a high school crush.

I completely agree that college, or homeschooling, or practically anything else would be more believable and less tedious than an eternity in high school.

Patrick Pricken said...

Hey there! I found this via the slacktivism link. Since I'm also doing a Twilight review series, I'll probably be commenting in the future. But don't fear the competition because a) after the first book, I switched to reviewing whole chapters so I could hope for the books to end somewhen; I've just started with reviewing "Breaking Dawn"; my reviews are in German.

I think it's interesting that you have, at least, read the first book, and I like when you put things into perspective that way. I let myself be surprised, but that meant that things like constant lies more or less crept up on me. I'm a teacher, btw, and I'm not sure *I* would be against what Bella is thinking about doing. I mean, I'd rather she come to me to tell me she already did that stuff so we could maybe work on a different syllabus for her or the whole class, but I get it.

What I don't get is the horrible, horrible communication these characters have which, coupled with Smeyer's foreshadowing, makes things sometimes mind-numbingly unnecessarily convoluted.

TheDreadPirateM said...

I wonder if the reason the Cullens stay in high school (rather than go to college/homeschooling as mentioned above) is simply lack of imagination.

There's the old authors' adage that you cannot write a character smarter than yourself (what I like to refer to as "Dan Brown syndrome") and it's possible that Bella/the Cullens/everyone else lacks imagination simply because SMeyer does. I wouldn't be surprised if this comment thread already contains more thought about the logistics than the author ever put into it.

Alternatively, colleges are often liberal and therefore evil.

And since when is Chaucer (or Shakespeare, or even Brontë -- at least with the original text) "basic"? Unless of course she means basic in the sense of "common"?

Ana Mardoll said...

Nicole, you are now an honorary goddess in my eyes - you have come bearing dates and even more wonderful sources of snark, thank you!! I think this is truly hilarious, and it's just one more example of why I think the Twilight editors really deserve a stern talking to.

Although, I guess to be fair, the setting and dates in Twilght are so vague that not only do I not know what *month* it is, I don't know what *day of the week* it is in Twilight-time. I suppose it's possible that Bella started school on a day OTHER than Monday - hold on, let's dig around the text.

We don't know the day of her arrival in Forks, but we know that school is the *next* day. We're assuming Sunday, for a Monday start date. The next day she goes to school (Monday?) and meets Edward Cullen. The day after that (Tuesday?), Edward doesn't show and it bothers her (pg. 43). On page 55, we get:

Edward Cullen didn’t come back to school.
Every day, I watched anxiously until the rest of the Cullens entered the cafeteria without him. ..
By Friday I was perfectly comfortable entering my Biology class, no longer worried that Edward would be there.

So the third day (Wednesday?) Edward doesn't come to school and then "every day" she watches for him until "by Friday", she's confident he's not coming. So it seems almost a given that our first assumption - a start date of Monday - is the correct one. Which is, as you and Dana point out, impossible.

But, wait, there's more! On page 48, Bella's mom writes her in a panic wanting to know where her pink blouse is. Bella writes back "Your blouse is at the dry cleaners — you were supposed to pick it up Friday." Aw, now I'm really confused. If Renee was supposed to pick up her blouse "on Friday" and Bella flew to Forks on Sunday, why didn't Bella remind helpless Renee on Friday while she was still living with her??

Maybe Bella forgot to remind her mother to get the dry cleaning? BUT SHE'S SO RESPONSIBLE!

This book confuses me so much. :P

Kit Whitfield said...

*I wonder if the reason the Cullens stay in high school (rather than go to college/homeschooling as mentioned above) is simply lack of imagination. *

I don't think that's really fair. To my mind, at least, the reason the Cullens stay in high school is fairly straightforward: Meyer wanted to write a book about the giddy, all-encompassing, hypnotic kind of love you get in your teens. For that, you need a teenage girl. For her to meet Edward, he has to be where she is, which is to say, in school. There's also the intense pleasure teens feel in having a big secret: by having Edward be in plain sight of her friends, she can flaunt and hide their secret at once, which again would be harder if he were off-stage at college.

The book's very much from a teenage perspective; having Edward somewhere more age-appropriate would mess with that.

Asha said...

Following from Slacktivist, and I tend to react strongly to anything Twilight related. I had a very, very strong dislike of the series. Trying to analyze why, and in response to Kit Whitfield, I think I'm getting somewhere. This story is from a teenage perspective, and I hated being a teenager. It was one of the most miserable, depressing times of life despite life being fairly normal then. As this story is written towards people who start living Bella's life and substitute themselves for Bella, if you aren't? It feels like the written equivalent of sandpaper.

As for cheating? I have had professors tell me that there is nothing wrong in reusing a paper from a previous class. You aren't plagerizing yourself, you're saving some time. I am just baffled as to why that would be considered bad. You have already done the work, you aren't buying it offline. It would be cheating if the work hadn't been yours to begin with, but just tweaking something that you, yourself, did? Why is that cheating?

Nenya said...

Yes, but it doesn't *make sense*!


JE said...

I actually think reading this is more fun for a view into american culture. Both using work you've done earlier and using old exams to prepare are things I'm so used to being expected and encouraged to do that I've never really thought about other ways of doing it

Keep up the good work

Randy Owens said...

Actually, Dana Did Not Do The Research. On this planet, we have these things called "leap years", which throw a big ol' monkey wrench into Dana's reasoning. Jan. 18, 2008 was a Friday; Jan 19, 2009 was a Monday. And the pattern will be repeated in 28 years, i.e. in 2036 & 2037, as it was repeated 28 years earlier, in 1980 & 1981. So, it certainly narrows down possible years considerably.

Randy Owens said...

Oooh, but I just realized a little something extra. That January 19 was MLK Day. Apparently, on Planet Meyers, (assuming the anniversary discussion took place at school), they don't see fit to observe his memory. That just seems too weirdly coincidental to be an accident, but I suppose I'd bet it is just coincidence, with a side of nasty implications.

Launcifer said...

With respect, Kit, it still smacks of the easy option to me. The author is asking me to buy into the existence of a chap who simultaneously appears, physically at least, to pass for highschool age and yet has the benefit of experience afforded to someone having seen a momentous century. Edward Cullen has seen the rise and fall of empires, the advent of some truly astonishing social and technological changes... and this guy is what I get for my money? I'm sorry, but having bought into the premise a well-constructed character would not have to be of highschool age to allow me to enjoy its extension: he simply has to be in a position where he's not felt that first, all-encompassing onrush of emotion we call "first loves".

Being honest - and looking back through cynide-tinted glasses - I would perhaps have preferred to see Cullen as someone who is incapable of embracing the current age for social and/or emotional reasons. Hell, it might make for a better story if he's able to take the technological developments in stride and yet finds himself unmanned (and there's a loaded phrase if ever I saw one) by the onset of gender-politics that occurred during the 20th century (and here I know I'm doing women a gross disservice, but this is the most relevant stratum for old/young Edward). A man trying to find his place in the modern world once everything has shifted on a six-pence would be far more attractive to me, as a reader, than what we have here - a socially inept reading based upon a purported wet dream. And age-groups be damned because it would make for an equally affecting story for our male (or female) protagonist to have to shuffle through the motions of current convention despite his (or her) lack of understanding having found himself in love with a genuine teenager. Whether we're talking Twilight or some amped-up version of Nabokov matters little in this particular context, because the age-related life-experience makes little or no sense. Edward totally ignores the benefits of the century that 'Bella does not have. *You* could write the story of someone hampered by that interregnum, but SMeyer can't. With a risk of presumption, not wanting to smear a fellow writer is frankly a separate issue when compared with the breakdown of basic storytelling that occurs throughout this series.

Jenny Islander said...

This and other excellent responses in this thread are why I summarize these books as "something I can find online for free, and better written." For instance, there's a sci fi TV show in which a middle-aged colonel, Special Forces veteran and survivor of some seriously bad things, wakes up one morning in a body about 15 years old. But wait--he's not the Colonel after all; he's the Colonel's clone! The real Colonel is rescued and then the clone has to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. For starters, the Air Force sends him back to high school so he can learn how to act like someone from his apparent generation. And that's the end of his plot arc.

Fanficcers, not content to leave it at that, have created many plausible futures for the clone. He could be:

*A suicide. His support network is gone--he's completely alone--and he still has PTSD, survivor's guilt, yadda yadda yadda.
*The class weirdo, because he is too smart, too mature, and too in control of his hormones to blend in.
*The coolest kid in school, because he is too smart, too mature, and too in control of his hormones to blend in.
*One of several weird or cool kids because the Colonel's buddies refuse to just cut him loose without backup and have themselves teen-cloned as well.

The point is, it's impossible for him/them to blend in, ever, because he/they cannot go back and be young, dumb, and surprised by puberty anymore. They can act naive and sheltered, but they can't be naive and sheltered.

A bunch of amateurs got this right. I should pay Meyer for something not nearly as good?

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

"Unending high school is like my personal version of No Exit. That would make me rethink immortality *really hard*. (Better than unending middle school, though.)"
"Worse than class, I think, would be the social stuff - Bella can barely stand to have boys talk to her, but once vamped, she's going to be extra beautiful, and presumably do some emotional maturation. Can you imagine being emotionally 60, but having no one to hang with but a bunch of high school students?"

THAT was the underlying assumption that got to me. I don't know about you, but I was the Omega Male of my high school, and have spent the following 30+ years trying to forget those four ever happened. Yet EDWARD (sparkle sparkle) is not only a 107-year-old virgin, but has spent around 80-90 of those years ATTENDING HIGH SCHOOL OVER AND OVER.

All I can figure is SMeyers' High School career was vastly different from mine, since her Author Self-Insert and her Perfect Hunk (sparkle sparkle) want to go back and relive their High School years over and over and over and over... I suspect SMeyers was the Alpha Female of her high school and like Al Bundy from Married with Children, High School was the Absolute Best Years of her life (and she wants to spend eternity living them over and over and over and over and over....)

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Somebody on YouTube put it this way:

"Bella? You want Sparkling Eddie to make you immortal because TURNING 18 IS GETTING TOO OLD? At least wait four more years, then you can at least buy booze!"

It would make much more sense for a group of immortals like the Cullens (sparkle sparkle) to post as being young adults in their twenties who just happen to LOOK younger. I know of two people who were getting carded well into their thirties, so the combination is not unknown. As legal adults, they would have much more freedom of action, but then SMeyers is so into Reliving High School (to the point that All YA Paranormal Romance MUST Be Set In High School)...

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

"I completely agree that college, or homeschooling, or practically anything else would be more believable and less tedious than an eternity in high school."

But then SMeyers couldn't relive The Best Years Of Her Life (i.e. High School Alpha Female) over and over FOREVER.

Dav said...

A lot of people seem to respond to the trauma of high school (and the traumas of college or workplace) by pretending high school was awesome. Even some people who were miserable in high school seem to be able to gloss over it, carefully replacing their actual experience with trope.

I'm not sure where I was in the high school hierarchy - not absolute bottom, as that tended to be the kids with Down's syndrome. I was, at least, academically successful, and involved in a few groups that didn't actively despise me. It was an incredibly difficult period of my life, though, and I was grateful to graduate. (I was super-resentful that I was expected to go to the senior class field trip. I was so ready to be DONE.)

But all those movies and books about returning to high school? Yeah, I'm not ready for that.

Melinda Hoffman said...

If I were immortal and preternaturally strong and beautiful and I looked like could be in high school, but I had the accumulated knowledge of even ten years beyond that, I would totally go back to high school and live out revenge fantasies on the popular kids. And the teachers. Maybe get expelled a few times. Defend the chess club from bullies. Give swirlies to the football players.

I might go back regularly, if I found my knowledge of 'how the world works now' slipping and I needed to learn computers anyway.

Ed the Vampire is apparently not taking proper advantage of this opportunity for joy and chaos. But, while highschool was terrible and you cannot be blamed for not wanting to go back, there is a lot of potential for fun if you are an indestructible immortal with superpowers and no need to make grades or avoid the wrath of parental figures.

Wasted potential. I think we've uncovered a theme.

Katmeguy said...

Well, to be fair, its mentioned here and there that the Cullens don't JUST repeat the four years of high school. It's implied that all of them have advanced degrees, in a few subjects. However, they are characterized by wanting to have a long term base/home, unlike other vampires we see that are highly nomadic. Having the "kids" start out in highschool has a way of establishing them in a community and "age" can be implied by some strategic choices in presentation.

Plus, when one of them "slips" it often means they have to pull up roots and start over somewhere else.

At least one of them (Rosalie) is really, really invested in pretending to have a "normal" life, and all of them have a reason of sorts for going along with the charade.

Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little said...

Between you and... someone else at the Slacktiverse, I forget... I've been gobbling up Twilight criticism lately. The "Reasoning With Vampires" tumblr blog is made of awesome, especially if you've got a copy editor lodged away in the back of your very soul. Reading it tonight, I found this bit from Dana's dissection of Eclipse, and it seemed apropos for your Hunt For The Read October January? March? May? In any case, Bella recalls the anniversary of her first day at Forks High, and Dana is compelled to snark (with helpful illustrations! because Dana shows her work!),
There is no January 19th that falls on a Monday that could have a January 18th the previous year that would be a weekday.

If you are going to give dates within your book, open a calendar to see if it is feasible.

If this day is the 19th, and the 18th of last year was a school year, I have to wonder...

ON WHAT PLANET IS BELLA SWAN LIVING?So, apparently, "It's January, Jim, but not as we know it."

Post a Comment