Friday, 22 May 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: Twilight, Chapter 3

Last week we started reading Twilight and seemed to end up with lots of questions and not many answers. We finally learned just why Bella had moved to Forks and also witnessed Edward Cullen undergo a complete personality transplant when he sort of flirted with Bella. Also he is cold and has magical colour change eyes.

This morning we’ve got the first of two chapters that we’ll be looking at today; first it’s Chapter 3: Phenomenon.

What Happens?

Bella is nearly killed by a runaway truck but Edward saves her even though he’s nowhere near her seconds beforehand. This still necessitates a trip to the hospital where she is checked out and pronounced fine but when she asks Edward what happened he won’t tell her. Then he gets mad at her again so we don’t get any more answers. Apparently men who have crazy mood swings are really attractive because now Bella has a crush.

Thoughts as I read:

Thought only tangentially related to the chapter: Phenomenon is a really hard word to spell, I never know exactly when to stop with it… phenomenonemonemonemon…

Just in case you’re wondering how Bella’s sleeping patterns are adjusting, we get an update right at the start of the chapter. Once again, I’m kind of reminded of the stories we used to write at school where all the action started when your character woke up in the morning and the story would end when they went to sleep at night.

And Yay! It’s snowed in Forks! Guess what? Bella’s not happy about it. No surprise there then.

In a lot of ways, living with Charlie was like having my own place, and I found myself reveling in the aloneness instead of being lonely.

This line raises two thoughts for me, the first is that we spent a whole unit of my Children’s Literature course studying books where children are away from adult influence for various reasons and the effects that this has on the story. You see it in loads of books; Harry Potter, Swallows and Amazons, Northern Lights, etc. and it gives the children the chance to act in adult ways as well as make mistakes they might not have made had there been an adult around. It’s very interesting and seeing it happening to Bella makes me suspect that sooner or later she will get in over her head.

The second thought that occurred to me is that wouldn’t ‘solitude’ have been a better word than ‘aloneness’? I didn’t even know ‘aloneness’ was a word until my spellcheck didn’t put a red wiggly line under it!

Despite the snow and lack of adult supervision, Bella’s got to go to school and she’s actually now looking forward to it. After all, school is where Edward is. Perhaps Bella’s been bopped on the head by one too many volleyballs and has forgotten how much he hated her before.

Maybe not, because she does admit to feeling frightened of him. Because who doesn’t want to get to know a guy who randomly radiates hostility towards you?

Bella’s dad has left her to get to school in icy weather. And she used to live somewhere incredibly hot. And probably has no experience driving in this kind of weather. And is a teenager. Smart move, Bella’s Dad!

It took every ounce of my concentration to make it down the icy brick driveway alive. I almost lost my balance when I finally got to the truck, but I managed to cling to the side mirror and save myself. Clearly, today was going to be nightmarish.

Isn’t every day, Bella?

Whilst driving on unfamiliar roads in inclement weather, Bella decides a sensible course of action is to distract herself by thinking about boys. She considers Mike and Eric and how she was undesirable in Phoenix but is apparently hot stuff in Forks. Of course being Bella, this is actually somewhat annoying for her and she laments the fact that she is getting attention.

It’s only when she gets to school that she discovers that her dad put snow chains on her wheels in order to make sure she made it there safely. That’s quite sweet of him, though it might have been sweeter to double check she was actually okay driving in that weather. Bella is clearly confused by the alien emotion that this compassionate act has stirred in her.

And then she almost dies.


By a runaway truck being driven by a fellow student.

Except she survives because either Edward Cullen’s got moves like Quicksilver or something funny’s going down in Forks. One minute he was across the road from her and the next he’s pulling her out of the way of certain death. It’s kind of nice but also really, really odd.

I get the distinct impression the Edward is trying to glamour Bella. Can sparkly vampires do that?

Is is significant that the two teachers who help move the truck away from Bella and Edward are named? We’re told that it took six EMTs plus Mr. Varner and Coach Clapp to move it. Why are they named and not the EMTs? Have we met these characters before? Should I be paying more attention when I’m reading?

In true Bella style, she survives almost being squished between two trucks and yet almost dies of embarrassment when she has to wear a neck brace after whacking her head. I’m not sure a neck brace is really that embarrassing, generally at my school people with unusual injuries were kind of cool.

Besides I don’t think that Bella’s got much to be embarrassed about when the guy who saved her life is apparently made out of marble. Despite being concussed, Bella is able to recognise that the dent in the truck was made by Edward’s shoulders. She’s quite with it for someone with a head injury, or perhaps completely delusional…

I tried to think of a logical solution that could explain what I had just seen – a solution that excluded the assumption that I was insane.

Well… if the neck brace fits…

Once at the hospital Bella decides that she can dispense with the neck brace. She is, after all, a teenager and therefore knows everything. All the same, this has me feeling really annoyed with her. You whacked your head, girl, you should keep the neck brace on until you’re cleared to take it off, no matter how embarrassing it is. She assumes that since they haven’t given her privacy by pulling the curtain round her, she doesn’t need the brace (which makes no logical sense); perhaps it was so they could keep an eye on you in case you passed out or decided to take off your neck support?

Tyler is very apologetic for his almost running Bella over. I’m not sure I’d be anywhere near as apologetic about that. Then again, if it gives her something else to moan about then we’ll all be very, very sorry.

I’m curious about whether or not X-rays actually show concussion. My google-fu shows me not, but hey, at least Bella doesn’t have a fractured skull. That’s one less thing for her to complain about.

Edward was standing at the foot of my bed, smirking. I glared at him. It wasn’t easy – it would have been more natural to ogle.

This is another of those bits that I’m not sure if it’s intentionally funny or not. Reading it doesn’t make me think Edward is sexy, it just makes me think that Bella is kind of hilarious.

With all the business at the hospital taken care of and Bella completely non-concussed, Dr Cullen (Edward’s dad) shows up to discharge our heroine. I’m surprised at how desperate Bella is to get back to school. Considering how mortified she is by her peers being in the waiting room and anything which draws attention to her, I was expecting her to be desperate to avoid school, after all, virtually the whole student body saw her with that neck brace on!

Dr. Cullen raised his eyebrows. “Do you want to stay?”
“No, no!” I insisted, throwing my legs over the side of the bed and hopping down quickly. Too quickly – I staggered, and Dr. Cullen caught me. He looked concerned.
“I’m fine,” I assured him again. No need to tell him my balance problems had nothing to do with hitting my head.

Just in case you’re keeping track of these things, Character Flaw: Bella is clumsy. Got it?

Away from the adults, Bella takes an opportunity to ask Edward just what went on when he was saving her life. And I can’t keep up with Edwards mood swings because apparently this is the wrong thing to ask:

His unfriendliness intimidated me. My words came out with less severity than I’d intended. “You owe me an explanation,” I reminded me.
“I saved your life – I don’t owe you anything.”

A few minutes ago he was smiling at her and being all friendly. He’s a bit of a jerk Bella, I’d just walk away and forget about him. But Bella isn’t me and she can’t let it go. Instead she points out all the crazy facts, like how he wasn’t there and then he was, just in the nick of time and how he left a dent in the body of the truck. And Edward points out that no one will believe this story. He makes a very valid point, I mean, I read it and I find it all very hard to believe.

We scowled at each other in silence. I was the first to speak, trying to keep myself focused. I was in danger of being distracted by his livid, glorious fact. It was like trying to stare down a destroying angel.


I have no idea what that means.

Bella once more demands and answer and we get a wonderfully disappointing response from our hero. He doesn’t know. I don’t know why you did it either mate. I get the impression that perhaps he’s regretting it now. Edward’s now had enough of being bugged by Little Miss Negative, so he walks away, leaving Bella to be reunited by her father, because, y’know, when a minor is in hospital with a suspected head injury it’s not like they need a parent or guardian with them.

Bella’s new friends are waiting to see that she’s okay but she doesn’t want to see them. I can understand wanting some privacy, but considering she was desperate to get back to school earlier this comes across as weird. Did she think they wouldn’t want to spend time with her and check she was okay in between classes? And also, if none of these kids are injured, why aren’t they at school?

When Bella and her dad get home, he tells her to call her mom to let her know she’s okay and Bella is mad about this. I do not get this girl at all. She’s now annoyed that her dad told her mom about the near fatal accident she was involved in. The horror!

At least the accident has had one positive effect on Bella; she doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave Forks now. Of course her reason for wanting to stay is all kinds of stupid, it’s all about Edward, but we can’t have everything, can we?

And so the chapter ends, with Bella heading to bed where she is all drugged up on Tylenol and dreaming of Edward Cullen. See, just like those stories we used to write in school

So let’s just recap on our questions for the book (and add some more):
  • Just why is she in Forks anyway?
  • What’s Edward Cullen’s problem?
  • Will Bella ever be able to get through a day without whinging about something?
  • Why the hell did she have to get all of her teachers to sign a slip?
  • What’s the deal with Edward’s eyes?
  • Just where was Edward for all that time?
  • Why is Bella so interested in someone who has such crazy mood swings?
  • What’s the deal with Edward and how did he move so quickly?
  • Who are Mr Varner and Coach Clapp? Why do they get named and not the six EMTs?
  • Do X-rays show concussions?
  • Do people actually find Mood Swing Boy attractive?

Stop by this afternoon for Chapter 4, which is called ‘Invitations’. I hope there’s a party.


  1. I love this! We don't often get to see someone's thoughts while reading. I didn't care for Twilight--there just was nothing all that special about it to me. I suppose it was original for its time and maybe something is lost now that there have been so many ripoffs of it.

    1. I was involved in a 'book tree' where a group of us shared and annotated our favourite books and it was great fun seeing what other people had been thinking as they read. I'm always curious if other people think the same things as me.

      When it came out it was so popular, that alone put me off it, but I've been kind of curious about it and these seemed like the best way to share my thoughts. ;-)


Let me know what you think. :-)