Fun Despite the Depth! TUGPM Take Three

General discussion about the Twilight Series Universe.

Postby Tennyo » Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:32 pm

I feel I have to call into the conversation the innocent people who were murdered by the Cullens. After all, it's only Edward that conciously murdered "bad" people. How would the victims-and perhaps more importantly, their families and friends-feel if the murderer wasn't punished because they "tried" after the fact?

And I think it's a really interesting point about Bella choosing this life. However, being a vamprie isn't necessarily "sinful". What you do as a vampire, and how you percieve it, would seem to be. I can't say she would be as "innocent" of any crime if she knew what she was getting into beforehand...a thinker...

LisaCullenAZ wrote:Oh and thanks for clearing that up for me Tennyo, I wasn't clear on the rules of religious posting. I haven't been here quite that long. Also glad to see you are returned from your fasting without any noteable signs of extra irritability


:D I wouldn't have thought it possible myself!
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Postby llovetwilight » Sun Sep 23, 2007 4:37 pm

Alcyone wrote:Why should the Volturi kill her? If anything, they'll turn her and force her to join the Guard. Aro was incredibly interested in her. They won't discard her ability so easily.


Good point, they wouldn't necessarily kill her... but the alternative to her death is that they turn her anyways.

So, I would still say that, either way, Bella's soul will not be in any worse shape than the other Cullens.
I'm really glad Edward didn't kill you. Everything's so much more fun with you around."- Emmett to Bella, EC

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Postby Alice's Grandma » Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:21 pm

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I think they already are atoning for their sins in a way. To live for eternity on earth wondering what will happen when God comes would be pretty heavy in my opinion especially when all those around you pass life by, living normally, raising families, working their average jobs and so on. They have to fight daily against what they really want and learn to master self control.


How does that make the Cullens different from other humans?. None of us know what awaits us at the end. They get to live life also, just on some different terms. Outside of having children they can have everything we do they just need to be more creative. Don' t we as humans fight daily for what we really want and have learned self control in order to be ' good' ? Granted, it doesn' t physically hurt me to not steal cars and kill people I hate, but there still is a close similarity to the Cullens and the rest of the human race. Don' t we all do the best we can with the hand we' ve been dealt?

As I read through some of the posts I wondered what the Cullens are atoning for. Are they atoning for their ' sins' (killing, forgery' ) or are they atoning for simply being vampires? Are they atoning for their belief that they don' t have souls, or because they have acted upon being soulless (killed, forged' )?

Upon more reflection, going back to my own post, I' d love to say that I thought the Cullens were truly sorry, but I just don' t see it. Refraining from killing humans has its merit, but if they aren' t sorry for the deaths they have already created, why bother trying to not commit more? Abstaining from killing now can be interpreted as being truly sorry, but it isn' t coming across to me that way, not when Emmett and Jasper are betting on how many people Bella will kill in her first year. It' s ironic that the one who has the least to atone for, Carlisle, still lives the most respectable, honorable life.
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Postby amoredward » Sun Sep 23, 2007 5:36 pm

Well, I think that the Cullens do feel regret for killing any humans they did (with the exception of Rosalie, because I think she still believes they deserved it--which they did, to me). I suppose that we may not see this remorse because we are looking through Bella's eyes. She comes into their little circle quite a while after any of them have taken a drink from a human.

So I think they feel regret for a bit after they did it. Bella just came in too late to see that emotion in evidence. Also, I fully don't expect the Cullens to mope around for years because they killed someone by chance. Sure, feel bad for a while, but don't live in that misery.

Imagine how that would be for Jasper!!!
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Postby Alice's Grandma » Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:41 pm

amoredward wrote:Well, I think that the Cullens do feel regret for killing any humans they did (with the exception of Rosalie, because I think she still believes they deserved it--which they did, to me). I suppose that we may not see this remorse because we are looking through Bella's eyes. She comes into their little circle quite a while after any of them have taken a drink from a human.

So I think they feel regret for a bit after they did it. Bella just came in too late to see that emotion in evidence. Also, I fully don't expect the Cullens to mope around for years because they killed someone by chance. Sure, feel bad for a while, but don't live in that misery.

Imagine how that would be for Jasper!!!


It's a good point about it being years later and we're only seeing it through Bella's eyes. I hadn't thought about that. I don't expect them to atone forever for killing people, but I also don't expect them to act jovial when it comes to Bella's possible killings. I'll admit that I laughed, but Emmett and Jasper betting on human lives was out of line. After killing people you shouldn't get to joke about it no matter how many years have passed.
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Postby December » Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:44 pm

Alice's Grandma wrote:Don't we as humans fight daily for what we really want and have learned self control in order to be 'good' ? Granted, it doesn't physically hurt me to not steal cars and kill people I hate, but there still is a close similarity to the Cullens and the rest of the human race.


I don't know. To me that makes quite a difference. Maybe it depends how much it physically hurts them (was Stephenie exaggerating a bit when she talked about plunging your hand in a bucket of water because it was on fire?). I think there is an ambiguity in the books about whether we are talking about acute temptation (God, if I don't have that car/that drink of water/that person's blood I will just go to pieces RIGHT NOW) or acute pain.

And I think it matters which it is. To my mind, it isn't fair to class the desire to escape pain as a failure of self-control or succumbing to temptation. I mean obviously in one sense that is a reasonable way to see it: the person who keeps silent under torture successfully resists the temptation to speak because there is something that matters more to them than relief from pain. In the same way, the Cullens resist the temptation to drink human blood because not killing people is worth the suffering. But that's not the same as ordinary temptation. Maybe the best way I can put it is this: the "temptation" to escape physical suffering is a desire to get back to some base level of an endurable existence. The temptation to steal the car, kill the enemy etc. is a desire to improve one's lot beyond the merely endurable. And Stephenie says Edward began killing humans because he was tired of being in pain.

I'm not sure I would demand atonement of someone who succumbs to torment -- though they themselves may feel intense guilt at their failure. (If any of you are Tolkien fans, he has some superb things to say on this subject in his collected letters (Ed. by Humphrey Carpenter)). On the other hand, as I have said before somewhere, I'm inclined to think the hand-on-fire-bucket-of-water analogy must be an exaggeration. The Cullens don't act like they're in that kind of pain. In which case, yes, most of us face pretty pressing temptations at one point or another.

Though I think continuous temptation of the sort the Cullens battle with is pretty taxing and maybe deserves some extra forgiveness. (They're like kleptomaniacs who are burning to steal the car every minute of the day. I think the kleptomaniac who slips occasionally is in a different position from me or Alice's Grandma).

Abstaining from killing now can be interpreted as being truly sorry, but it isn't coming across to me that way, not when Emmett and Jasper are betting on how many people Bella will kill in her first year.

Then again, this is so true. Great point. They definitely get less credit for their struggles if they aren't that bothered about struggling... But do you think maybe this is more in the way of black humour, than genuine indifference to whether Bella kills lots of people? I mean, they all must know that Edward isn't going to let her actually kill anyone...

Oh bother it all. I'm not sure I can think clearly about any of this, because I'm still having trouble really seeing this as being about real deaths of real people, when the whole premise is so fantastical to begin with. Stephenie does a great job of making plausible those aspects of vampire's lives and psyches she enters into -- with her help I can imagine, say, what it feels like to love a human girl but feel yourself too monstrous to deserve her. But she doesn't really explore what it feels like to see human life as inviolable and yet crave taking it, so my inadequate imagination breaks down here. (I know she begins to look at this in the one chapter we have of Midnight Sun, but it's too isolated to really help me here). So maybe none of what I said is really valid...
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Postby amoredward » Sun Sep 23, 2007 7:25 pm

Alice's Grandma wrote:It's a good point about it being years later and we're only seeing it through Bella's eyes. I hadn't thought about that. I don't expect them to atone forever for killing people, but I also don't expect them to act jovial when it comes to Bella's possible killings. I'll admit that I laughed, but Emmett and Jasper betting on human lives was out of line. After killing people you shouldn't get to joke about it no matter how many years have passed.


Yes, I don't mean that Emmett and Jasper should be jolly about Bella killing people. I did laugh when it first came up (though it was just a chuckle), but now it is kind of foreboding and not-so-funny.

And yeah. It shouldn't be such a light matter, no matter how many years have passed. Didn't mean to say that!
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Postby jenni_elyse » Sun Sep 23, 2007 7:25 pm

How long should Edward and the Cullens atone for their murders, and should they have to?

This is a hard question for me to answer because I believe the whole reason we are here on earth is to learn, grow, be tried and tested, die, be forgiven through Christ's sacrifice as long as we've done everything in our power to do and be good, and become gods ourselves. Since the vampires live forever, the die, be forgiven, and become gods does not exist. So, if that is the case, why does it matter what they do? I guess it comes down to the debate between Carlisle and Edward. Do vampires have souls? If they do, then I think they should atone/repent of their sins and be forgiven like any human. But, if they don't have souls, then it really doesn't matter all that much, does it? However, at the same time, maybe it comes down to what they can live with. Even if vampires don't have souls, I'm sure the veggie vampires don't want to spend eternity feeling guilty.... Hmm...very thought provoking and interesting this question is. (Sorry, Yoda moment! :wink:)
Last edited by jenni_elyse on Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby llovetwilight » Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:42 pm

jenni_elyse wrote: I guess it comes down to the debate between Carlisle and Edward. Do vampires have souls? If they do, then I think they should atone/repent of their sins and be forgiven like any human. But, if they don't have souls, then it really doesn't matter all that much, does it?


I think this is what is so special about Edward ( and maybe the other Cullens, we don't really know what their view on the whole soul debate are). Until the very end of NM he doesn't even have a hope for his soul. He thinks that it was lost and he was damned the moment he became a vampire. So the fact that he tried to "be good" by feeding on bad humans and then felt so guilty even with that kind of feeding that he went back to the veggie life shows us his character. He doesn't think his attempts at saving human life by being a veggie vamp are going to get him anywhere- he isn't doing it to redeem his soul and try to atone so he may have a chance at heaven. Edward has all but given up on an afterlife- so all he does is simply because he is a good person...
I'm really glad Edward didn't kill you. Everything's so much more fun with you around."- Emmett to Bella, EC

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Postby December » Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:06 am

Ilovetwilight wrote: Edward has all but given up on an afterlife- so all he does is simply because he is a good person...


Absolutely. The Cullens struggle not to take human life -- Carlisle works so hard in the hospital to save lives -- not because it will earn them anything, but because they feel it is right. ("I don't know that I'm making up for anything...Like everything in life, I just had to decide what to do with what I was given." NM p.35). Like Bella, I can't myself imagine the Deity not being impressed by Carlisle: it's a completely selfless, uncalculated dedication to being good. Edward is younger, his moral compass may be less steady, but he isn't thinking about himself either: his worries are entirely about Bella's soul, not his own (ok, he talks in Eclipse about his own chastity, but that's just a ploy to get Bella to safeguard hers).

For me, part of the brilliance of the series is the way the books can reflect Stephenie's own values and beliefs without requiring them of the reader -- they bridge the gap between the agnostic and the believer. What her characters say and do has moral value whether or not there is a God. At the same time, books take this question seriously (and hopefully). For agnostics like myself, it is a rare and wonderful combination.
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