Bella and Jacob's Love is Real
Discussion: Calling all members of TEAM JACOB?!?!?!....please explain...
In this discussion, it has been argued that Bella doesn't really love Jacob in a lover's way. That her love for Jacob is completely platonic and never more than a very strong friendship. That the love that she has for Jacob is not even the same kind of love as the love that she has for Edward. It is my position that the love that Bella has for Jacob is real love in a lover's way, and that if it isn't in the same species as the love that she has for Edward it is in the same phylum. So for example if Bella's love Edward is a great Blue whale then Bella's love for Jacob is a Humpback whale. Not as big and not as rare, but still very much a whale. I will use quotes from New Moon (NM) and Eclipse (EC) to track how Bella's love for Jacob grows and illustrate actions that Bella considers that she would never consider if her love for Jacob was truly platonic. Also I will examine reactions that Bella has that she would never have had if her feelings were completely platonic. I will also examine comments made by Stephenie Meyer (SM) that clearly show that Bella did; in fact, love Jacob in a romantic way.
Bella's Slow Slip into Love with Jacob
Bella quite literally fell in love with Edward. She was walking along one day minding own business and the next thing that she knows she it unconditionally and irrevocably in love with a vampire. She never saw it coming. Sometime love happens this way, but it is not the only valid way to come to really love someone.
When Bella sees Jacob again after Edward left her in NM, heart is broken. Perhaps that is not strong enough. Maybe it would be better to say that her heart is missing. No matter how physically attracted she is to Jacob, that part of her that should respond to that isn't working properly. At the time she isn't capable of responding to the fact that he is growing into a very hansom young man. But even her absent heart can't help but respond to his humor, and his warmth. Jacob made her feel light and buoyant. After what she had been through that was quite an accomplishment.
Jacob also speaks the same love languages that Bella speaks. This doesn't mean that they are in love, but it does help. It also doesn't mean that they share a romantic love. However, it makes it much easier for Bella to slip into love with Jacob. Jacob and Bella share the love language of acts of service. This means that when Jacob rebuilds the bikes for Bella and when he help her find the meadow, he is saying, “I love you.” Bella understands this on a subconscious or subliminal level because she speaks her love to Charlie by taking care of things around the house, so when Jacob communicates his love to her in this way she hears it loud and clear. Jacob and Bella share the love language of physical touch. So when Jacob communicates his love for her by reaching out to hold her hand, she hears it loud and clear. Maybe her mind isn't engaged, but her absent heart is able to hear Jacob's heart calling out to it.
Some have said that because she didn't swoon or gush over Jacob, she couldn't possibly be in love with him. After Edward left her, her heart was gone, and I don't think that she was capable of swoon or gushing over anyone. However, it could be argued that movement between the purple funk she was in after Edward left to the light buoyancy she felt after spending the afternoon with Jacob is as far if not farther. The high wasn't anywhere near as high, but the trip may have been longer.
When Jacob grabbed her hand, it felt rough and very warm. Some have argued that since there wasn't any electricity when they touched, that they couldn't really be in love in a lover's way. When she touched Edward for the first time, her heart was healthy. When Jacob took her hand, her heart was on life support. When you touch a weak battery with jumper cables, you will get a spark. When you touch a dead battery with jumper cables, you get nothing. At this point Bella's heart was much more like the dead battery than the weak one. At that point Bella's heart wasn't capable of arching a spark. Very warm is probably the best that she could do.
I want to notice the difference between the way she reacts to Jacob and the way that reacts to Mike. When Jacob suggests that they have a joint party to make up for missing each others birthdays, Bella says, “Sounds like a date.” When Mike invites her out to the movies, she say, “Like a date?” Her expression had to be very clear because even Mike knew that she wasn't all that excited about dating him. So he says, “If you want. But it doesn't have to be like that.” On page 166 Mike invites her out on a date, and her heart sinks. On page 168 Jacob announces, “I believe that ... we have a date.” It took her a second, but then she responded with joy.
Don't get me wrong. She is not there yet, but she is slipping.
After Jacob tells her about the La Push gang and she see how much pain he is in because of it, we read, “I threw my arms around him instinctively, wrapping them around his waist and pressed my fact against his chest.” She did this because she loves him. This is beyond simple friendship. I doubt that she would have thrown her arms around Mike even if he was hurting. It's not romantic yet, but it is love.
The on the ride to the hospital Bella has a Freudian Slip when she says, “Did you know, you're sort of beautiful?” Then Jacob held her hand while Dr. Snow was sewing. She tried not to think about why that was ironic. She just slipped another couple of inches.
On valentine's day, she decided that she needed to put some distance between her and Jacob and made it sound like she had a date on Friday. But she just couldn't do it. She was already in deeper than she had any idea, and she couldn't allow herself to cause Jacob pain.
Even at the movie theater while she is trying to explain to Jacob that she isn't capable of being more than his friend, she knows that she can't live without anymore.
After Jacob discovers that he is a shape shifter and has to stay away from Bella, she pines after him. Calling him all of the time. Looking up his illness on the Internet. She is truly hurt that he seems to have time for other friends but not time for her.
When Jacob said, “Go home, Bella. I can't hang out with you anymore.” We read, “The silly, inconsequential hurt was incredibly potent. The tears welled up again. 'Are you ... breaking up with me?' The words were all wrong, but they were the best way I could think to phrase what I was asking. After all, what Jake and I had was more than any schoolyard romance. Stronger.”
Then Bella says: “I'm sorry that I couldn't ... before ... I wish I could change how I feel about you, Jacob.” ... “Maybe ... maybe I would change,” ... “Maybe, if you gave me some time ... just don't quit on me now, Jake. I can't take it.” I know this feels like a lie to Bella, but it is very serious. At this point she loves him so much that she would never lead him on like this if she didn't mean it. She doesn't know if she can ever love again, but she is willing to try for Jacob. What she doesn't know. What she is unwilling to allow herself to know. Is that she has already fallen in love.
As she begins her drive home, she starts chanting Not as bad! Not as bad! Not as Bad! But Bad Enough!” She confides in us that Jake just carved out a hole in her chest like the one Edward had carved. She had already fallen for Jake, and I know this because her grief was so similar to the grief she experienced when Edward left her. Not the same species but the same phylum. If the grief she felt when Edward left was a great Blue Whale, the grief she felt when Jacob left was a Humpback Whale. She even has a dream where Jacob morphs into Edward. Her feelings are that similar for them.
Even when she thought that Jacob was a cold blooded killer, she couldn't just let him go. When she finds out that he is not a killer and he know that she doesn't care that he turns into a giant wolf, he gives her a crushing bear hug and she threw her arms around him while he stroked her hair. Just like with the motor cycles. Then it bothered her, now she doesn't seem to mind at all. She is slipping even further.
Then after she jumps off of the cliff she begins to really consider the decision that would change everything. “What if there were more to Paris?”, “What if she loved Paris?” She began to consider that it might be possible to give up on Edward completely because she had Jacob. Then on the ride home she thinks:
“I could stake a claim. I had that much within my power.
“I'd have to tell him everything, I knew that. It was the only way to be fair. I'd have to explain it right, so that he'd know I wasn't settling, that he was much too good for me. He already know that I was broken, that part wouldn't surprise him, but he'd need to know the extent of it. I'd even have to admit that I was crazy—explain about the voices I heard. He'd need to know everything before he made a decision.
“But, even as I recognized that necessity, I knew he would take me in spite of it all. He wouldn't even pause to think it through.
“I would have to commit to this—commit as much of me as there was left, every one of the broken pieces. It was the only way to be fair to him. Would I? Could I?
“Would it be so wrong to try to make Jacob happy? Even if the love I felt for him was no more than a weak echo of what I was capable of, even it my heart was far away, wandering and grieving after my fickle Romeo, would it be so very wrong?
“Jacob stopped the truck in front of my dark house, cutting the engine so it was suddenly silent. Like so many other times, he seemed to be in tune with my thoughts now.
“He threw his other arm around me, crushing me against his chest, binding me to him. Again, this felt nice. Almost like being a whole person again.
“I thought he would be thinking of Harry, but then he spoke, and his tone was apologetic. 'Sorry. I know you don't feel exactly the way I do, Bells. I swear I don't mind. I'm just so glad you're okay that I could sing—and that's something no one wants to hear.' He laughed his throaty laugh in my ear.
“My breathing kicked up a notch, sanding the walls of my throat.
“Wouldn't Edward, indifferent as he might be, want me to be as happy as was possible under the circumstances? Wouldn't enough friendly emotion linger for him to want that much for me? I thought he would. He wouldn't begrudge me this: giving just a small bit of the love he didn't want to my friend Jacob. After all, it wasn't the same love at all.
“Jake pressed his warm cheek against the top of my hair.
“If I turned my face to the side—if I pressed my lips against his bare shoulder...I knew without any doubt exactly what would follow. It would be very easy. There would be no need for explanations tonight.
“But could I do it? Could I betray by absent heart to save my pathetic life?
“Butterflies assaulted my stomach as I thought about turning my head.
“And then, as clearly as if I were in immediate danger, Edward's velvet voice whispered in my ear.
“'Be happy,' he told me.
“Jacob felt me stiffen and released me automatically, reaching for the door.
“Wait, I wanted to say. Just a minute. But I was still locked in place, listening to the echo of Edward's voice in my head.”
At that point she had fallen completely in love with Jacob Black. She knew it subconsciously even if her conscious mind was still fighting it. She was in deeper than she had any idea. She had made the decision. Her subconscious using Edward's voice had given her permission to love Jacob. She would have kissed him and committed every broken piece of herself to him if he hadn't opened the door. But he did and you know the rest of the story.
Those two words spoken in Edward's voice, “Be happy.” Those were the last words subconscious Edward spoke to her. Subconscious Edward was very smart. Much smarter than Bella should have been, but that is the topic of another discussion. He would never have given her permission to make a decision that would have left her miserable. If she had committed everything that she had left to Jacob and not been able to love Jacob romantically, then they would have both been miserable. But Subconscious Edward knew that she had already fallen in love with Jacob. Subconscious Edward knew all of the emotions that Bella had been denying. Subconscious Edward knew that if she kissed him the fireworks would have been like the fourth of July. He had to know this. Which of course means that Bella had to know this, because subconscious Edward was a figment of her imagination. At that point Bella knew that she was in love with Jacob, eros, philo, and agape, and that is why she gave herself permission to give herself to Jacob Black.
The Heat of Jacob's Kiss
There have been comments that there was no electricity between Bella and Jacob. And that is correct. The passion between Bella and Jacob didn't manifest itself in electricity. It manifested itself in heat. And the kiss that Jacob and Bella shared on the top of the mountain was full of heat. I also want to put this into context. This kiss is vastly different from the one that they almost shared in NM. NM she had given herself permission to commit every broken piece of herself to Jacob. By this time in EC she had already agreed to give herself completely to Edward. She had already agreed to become Mrs. Edward Cullen. Edward wasn't gone off chasing his distractions not wanting her; he was in the woods near by wanting her forever and ever. Jacob's kiss has to break through all of that stuff that wouldn't have been there in NM to get to the part of her that still loves him.
Let's look at EC:
“The jolt of anger unbalanced my tenuous hold on self control; his unexpected, ecstatic response overthrew it entirely. If there had been only triumph, I might have been able to resist him. But the utter defenselessness of his sudden joy cracked my determination, disabled it. My brain disconnected from my body, and I was kissing him back. Against all reason, my lips were moving with his in strange, confusing ways they'd never moved before – because I didn't have to be careful with Jacob, and he certainly wasn't being careful with me.
“My fingers tightened in his hair, but I was pulling him closer now.
“He was everywhere. The piercing sunlight turned my eyelids red, and the color fit, matched the heat. The heat was everywhere. I couldn't see or hear or feel anything that wasn't Jacob.
“Why wasn't I stopping this? Worse than that, why couldn't I find in myself even the desire to want to stop? What did it mean that I didn't want him to stop? That my hands clung to his shoulders, and liked that they were wide and strong? That his hands pulled me too tight against his body, and yet it was not tight enough for me?
“The questions were stupid, because I knew the answer: I'd been lying to myself.
“Jacob was right. He'd been right all along. He was more than just my friend. That's why it was so impossible to tell him goodbye – because I was in love with him. Too. I loved him, much more than I should, and yet, still nowhere near enough. I was in love with him, but it was not enough to change anything; it was only enough to hurt us both more. To hurt him worse that I ever had.
“I didn't care about more than that – than his pain. I more than deserved whatever pain this caused me. I hoped it was bad. I hoped I would really suffer.
“In this moment, it felt as though we were the same person. His pain had always been and would always be my pain – now his joy was my joy. I felt joy, too, and yet his happiness was somehow also pain. Almost tangible – it burned against my skin like acid, a slow torture.
“For one brief, never-ending second, and entirely different path expanded behind the lids of my tear-wet eyes. As if I were looking through the filter of Jacob's thoughts, I could see exactly what I was going to give up, exactly what this new self-knowledge would not save me from losing. I could see Charlie and Renee mixed into a strange collage with Billy and Sam and La Push. I could see years passing, and meaning something as they passed, changing me. I could see the enormous red-brown wolf that I loved, always standing as protector if I needed him. For the tiniest fragment of that second, I saw the bobbing heads of two small, black-haired children, running away from me into the familiar forest. When they disappeared, they took the rest of the vision with them.”
Notice that when Jacob breaks through her protective wall, she “attacks” him just like she did Edward during their first kiss. Instead of electricity, with Jacob she feel heat. This is not “I love you but I am not in love with you.” Bella says it with her own words, “I was in love with him.” Even after accepting Edward's proposal she was still in love with Jacob too.
When Edward tell Bella, “You love him,” it wasn't a question because he knew. He also wasn't talking about as a friend either because that was well established. When Edward said, “You love him,” he meant as a lover, as a woman loves a man. And all Bella could say was, “I love you more.” It was the best that she could do.
She loved him enough to check the balance. Say you put her love for Edward on one side of the scale and her love for Jacob on the other side of the scale. If her love for Jacob was not even in the same phylum as her love for Edward, she would not have even needed to check the scale. But when adding to her love for Jacob Charlie, Renee, and children she wasn't certain that it wouldn't tip in Jacob's favor. This is why she asks Alice if she still see her becoming a vampire. Bella thinks that she knows what she wants, but she needs to ask Alice to be sure. If it wasn't even close, there would be no cause to ask.
When Jacob and Bella discuss it after the battle, Jacob clearly states, “At least I made you see that you do love me.” There was never any question that Bella loved Jacob in a platonic way. This could only mean that he had made Bella see that she loved him as a lover. Bella make no attempt to deny it. Again Bella confesses saying, “Does it make things better or worse for you, having me know that I'm in love with you?”
At one point Bella asks, “How can we be friends, when we love each other like this?” This statement doesn't make good nonsense unless Bella loves Jacob in a lovers way.
Later Bella realizes that Jacob was her soul mate, or would have been her soul mate if Edward's claim on her heart hadn't Eclipsed his.
Then she can't even make it home before the grief hits her. What is she grieving? She and Jacob parted as friends. She isn't going to loose the friendship that pulled her through the dark times. The only thing that she looses is her romantic love for Jacob. If she didn't love Jacob romantically, there would be no reason to grieve. And she grieves all night long. Clinging to Edward as she cries the night away. Her grief is so intense that it gives Edward second thoughts. How can this be the “right” decision if it hurts her that much.
The Authors Words
Here is what SM said about this subject.
Q. What are the characters' biggest mistakes in Eclipse, their tragic flaws?
A. Bella's is a lack of self-knowledge; she never would have pursued her friendship with Jacob if she had realized how much more than friendship it really was. You don't give up your friends when you fall in love; however, you do give up your other romantic interests. If Bella had understood herself better, she could have saved everyone a lot of heartbreak. Sometimes that happens when you try to do the right thing.
Edward's big mistake is overreaction. It's in his nature to be too extreme (see: New Moon). He's a very all-or-nothing kind of person, and it makes him unreasonable. In the beginning of Eclipse, he's too overprotective. When he sees the error of his ways, he goes too far in the other direction. He could have chosen a middle ground—maybe admitted to his jealousy and asked Bella to choose him, rather than watching her get in deeper with Jacob. Of course, he has other issues that make forcing this issue problematic. What if Jacob is better for her? What if Bella could have a more complete life with him? Should Edward really insist that Bella give everything up for vampire life? Or would it be better to let her make a fully informed choice? Can you see his dilemma? Part of Edward wants Bella to choose Jacob (and life).
Jacob doesn't have a tragic flaw. He has one goal and one hope. His goal is to save Bella's life. His hope is that he'll win her heart in the process. He fails at both. But that doesn't mean he regrets trying. If he could do it over again, he'd do the same thing. Jacob couldn't live with himself if he didn't give saving Bella his best effort—he knows it's going to hurt when he loses, but he knows it would hurt worse if he didn't try. Does he do everything right? Heck, no! But he's sixteen and he's making it up as he goes along. Those who are upset by some of his tactics should consider his youth and the fact that he is, after all, right. Bella is in love with him. (In the end, it's truly healthier for her to be aware of this as she goes forward with unalterable decisions.)
Q. What's the deal with Bella just falling in love with Jacob in the eleventh hour of Eclipse? Don't you believe in true love anymore? What happened to blacken your soul, woman??
A. First of all, let me say that I do believe in true love. But I also deeply believe in the complexity, variety, and downright insanity of love. A lucky person loves hundreds of people in their lives, all in different ways, family love, friendship love, romantic love, all in so many shades and depths. I don't think you lose your ability—or right—to have true love by loving more than one person. In part, this is true because you never love two people the same way. Another part is that, if you're lucky, you learn to love better with practice. The bottom line is that you have to choose who you are going to commit to—that's the foundation of true love, not a lack of other options.
Next, Bella does not fall in love with Jacob in Eclipse. Bella falls in love with Jacob in New Moon. I think it's easy to understand why this fact doesn't occur to her. Bella has only fallen in love one time, and it was a very sudden, dramatic, sweep-you-off-your-feet, change-your-world, magical, passionate, all-consuming thing (see: Twilight). Can you blame her for not recognizing a much more subtle kind of falling-in-love?
Does this love devaluate her love for Edward? Not for me. For me, it makes that perfect true love stronger. Bella has another option. She has a really good one. An option that's easier in many ways, that takes nothing—like her family, present or future—away from her. She would have love, and friendship, and family—an enviable human future. But she chooses Edward over all of this. This makes it real for me.
Allow me to quote from Steve Oedekerk's brilliant Star Wars parody, Thumb Wars:
Loke Groundrunner: "I will go with you and fight!"
Oobedoob Benubi: "Oh, big sacrifice; everyone you knew is dead! Glad you could tear yourself away!"
When SM says that you do give up your romantic interests she could only mean that Bella was romantically interested in Jacob.
SM says that you don't lose you ability – or right – to have true love by loving more than one person. The bottom line is that you have to choose who you are going to commit to – that's the foundation of true love, not a lack of other options.
SM clearly says that Bella falls in love with Jacob in NM. The way she words her answer she make a distinction between the way Bella falls in love with Edward and the way Bella falls in love with Jacob, but falling in love is falling in love.
I have been trying to make the point that if Edward were gone, that Bella and Jacob could make it as a couple. SM says almost exactly this when she says, “Bella has another option. She has a really good one. An option that's easier in many ways, that takes nothing—like her family, present or future—away from her. She would have love, and friendship, and family—an enviable human future.”
Bella's love for Jacob is real in a lovers way. We clearly see her falling in love in NM. In EC she comes right out and tells Edward and Jacob that she in love with Jacob in a lovers way. She see future loving Jacob and wants really bad. She in enough doubt that she has to ask Alice if she is still on the path to be with Edward. SM comes right out and says that Bella loves Jacob romantically. She said clearly that Jacob would have been not just a viable but a good option.
The love that Bella has for Jacob is similar to the love that she has for Edward. In the same phylum if not the same species. If Bella's love for Edward is a Great Blue Whale, then Bella's love for Jacob is a Humpback Whale. They are close enough so that added family past and future might have been able to tip the scale. If Bella's love for Jacob was a dolphin, she wouldn't have even needed to check.
There has been a lot of discussion on this topic, and these are my last words. This is the best that I have. If you can't see it now, then you will never be able to see it, and we will have to agree to disagree.
However, Dragon's can fly, and it is spelled S-T-E-P-H-E-N-I-E. ;-)