Dear Deekin Chip –
Sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. I put my response to you on the back burner, knowing it would take some time – and then I forgot about it! Fortunately, Thankful Mom in the comment section reminded me to get back to it.
The first thing I want to confirm is that I have read all 4 books and seen the movie.
All I have time for today is to address the question of Jacob – I say Jacob lusts, you say he doesn’t.
For the sake of representing you accurately, I will quote the text of your comment here:
Jacob doesn’t “lust” after Bella; in fact, his is a ridiculously puppy-dog infatuation until the changes come to him later in the series (won’t spoil the plot for anyone who hasn’t read past Twilight). But his devotion to her is absolute, and chaste, except for the rare occasion that he makes a (bad) decision out of emotion instead of logic. There is nothing sexual about Jacob’s attraction as depicted in the books (or in the movie, as far as I remember).
First – you have used some pretty strong language to support Jacob. You say his devotion to Bella is absolute and chaste, except on rare occasions (which would mean that it is not quite absolute) – AND that there is “nothing sexual about Jacob’s attraction” depicted in the books.
I’ll present to readers here why I think your assessment is inaccurate.
How about in Breaking Dawn, p.181 – when Edward has proposed the idea of allowing Jacob to “share” Bella and impregnate her so that she does not have to carry Edward’s half-vampire children? What is Jacob’s response?
“I didn’t want to consider, didn’t want to imagine, but the images came anyway. I’d fantasized about Bella that way too many times, back when there was still a possibility of us, and then long after it was clear that the fantasies would only leave festering sores because there was no possibility, none at all. I hadn’t been able to help myself then. I couldn’t stop myself now. Bella in my arms, Bella sighing my name…”
Or how about Jacob’s reaction when Bella’s clothes are ripped off for medical reasons during the horrific delivery of her child? (This pregnancy required Bella to drink human blood to keep the child alive – and the child subsequently ate her way out of Bella, killing her in the process – at which point Bella was “turned” into a vampire.)
“How many times had I imagined her naked? Now I couldn’t look. I was afraid to have these memories in my head.” (Breaking Dawn, p.349)
Jacob doesn’t want the grotesque-naked-Bella images (which are real, by the way) messing with his fantasy-naked-Bella images. I am making an assumption here from the words of Christ – “Whoever looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28) that these statements of Jacob are sufficient to show his lust, but I will take things a little further.
How about the “Tent Scene” raved about by girls on fan sites? (The “Tent Scene” is in Chapter 22 of Eclipse. To give a little back story here – Edward the vampire is always cold. Jacob the warewolf is always hot. They are stuck out in a tent together with Bella, who is freezing… So, Jacob decides to get into her sleeping bag with her and zip it up… to keep her warm, of course. To understand these excerpts, you need to know that Edward has the ability to read thoughts…) Here are some excerpts:
p. 491 – “He crammed his body into the nonexistent space, forcing the zipper up behind himself. And then I couldn’t object – I didn’t want to anymore. He was so warm. His arms constricted around me, holding me snugly against his bare chest. The heat was irresistible, like air after being underwater for too long. He cringed when I pressed my icy fingers eagerly against his skin. ‘Jeez, your freezing, Bella,’ he complained. ‘S-s-s-s-sorry,’ I stuttered. ‘Try to relax,’ he suggested as another shiver rippled through me violently. ‘You’ll be warm in a minute. Of course, you’d warm up faster if you took your clothes off.’ Edward growled sharply…”
p. 494 – “‘Perfect. Now you can keep an eye on everything else, while I take care of your girlfriend for you’…
‘Please!’ Edward hissed. ‘Do you mind!’
‘What?’ Jacob whispered back, his tone surprised.
‘Do you think you could attempt to control your thoughts?’ Edward’s low whisper was furious.
‘No one said you had to listen,’ Jacob muttered, defiant, yet still embarrassed. ‘Get out of my head.’
‘I wish I could. You have no idea how loud your little fantasies are. It is like you are shouting them at me.’
‘I’ll try to keep it down,’ Jacob whispered sarcastically.”
p.504 – “‘Sleep well, Jacob, ‘ Edward murmured. ‘Enjoy the moment.’
It was quiet again, and the tent held still for a few minutes. The wind seemed to have decided that it wasn’t going to flatten us after all, and was giving up the fight. Edward groaned softly. ‘I didn’t mean that quite so literally.’
‘Sorry,’ Jacob whispered. ‘You could leave, you know – give us a little privacy.’…
Edward started humming to himself, louder than usual – trying to drown out Jacob’s thoughts, I assumed.”
Then, we have a later scene between Bella and Jacob, where Jacob is heading off to a fight, and Bella asks for a kiss (yes – she who claims to be hopelessly in love with Edward is playing Jacob at the same time). WARNING – the following passage has the type of eroticism that I don’t think vulnerable persons should be exposed to. Please skip it if you have any doubt in your mind as to whether you can read further without it causing you difficulties:
Eclipse, p.525 – “Jacob rocked back on his heels, and then lurched forward, closing the distance between us in three long strides. I knew he would take advantage of the situation. I expected it. I held very still – my eyes closed, my fingers curled up into fists at my sides – as his hands caught my face and his lips found mine with an eagerness that was not far from violence.
I could feel his anger as his mouth discovered my passive resistance. One hand moved to the nape of my neck, twisting into a fist around the roots of my hair. The other hand grabbed roughly at my shoulder, shaking me, then dragging me to him. His hand continued down my arm, finding my wrist and pulling my arm up around his neck. I left it there, my hand still tightly balled up, unsure how far I could go in my desperation to keep him alive. All the while his lips, disconcertingly soft and warm, tried to force a response out of mine.
As soon as he was sure I wouldn’t drop my arm, he freed my wrist, his hand feeling its way down to my waist. His burning hand found the skin in the small of my back, and he yanked me forward, bowing my body against his.
His lips gave up on mine for a moment, but I knew he was nowhere close to finished. His mouth followed the line of my jaw, and then explored the length of my neck. He freed my hair, reaching for my other arm to draw it around his neck like the first. Then both of his arms were constricted around my waist, and his lips found my ear.
‘You can do better than this, Bella,” he whispered huskily. ‘You’re overthinking it.”…
p. 527 “My arms were already around his neck, so I grabbed two fistfuls of his hair…struggling to pull my face away from his. And Jacob misunderstood. He was too strong to recognize that my hands, trying to yank his hair out by the roots, meant to cause him pain. Instead of anger, he imagined passion. (Ed. note – Isn’t it interesting here that Jacob’s fantasizing plays a role in his misinterpretation of reality?) He thought I was finally responding to him. With a wild gasp, he brought his mouth back to mine, his fingers clutching frantically against the skin at my waist… 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 a strange, confusing way they’d never moved before – because I didn’t have to be careful with Jacob and he certainly wasn’t being careful with me. (Ed. note – this reference to being “careful” refers to Bella’s relationship with Edward. They have to be “careful” in their passion – not because it would be immoral to use each other for pleasure – but because Edward has super-human vampire strength which could kill her if he got carried away.) My fingers tightened in his hair, but I was pulling him closer now….”
Bella does come to her senses and stop, and they share a final, less passionate kiss before Jacob leaves.
As I said above, that is all I have time for today.
Now – let the readers decide: does Jacob lust, or doesn’t he? This is a vital question. We need to be able to recognize lust. Why? Because sexual fantasizing is grave matter – meaning that if it is undertaken with full knowledge and full consent, it is mortally sinful. Actions like Jacob’s in the “Tent Scene” (and elsewhere…) could send a person to hell for eternity if they occur with full knowledge and consent and the perpetrator dies prior to repentance. An eternity in hell for that? Are you serious? Yes. Why? Because these actions are not loving – they are seriously selfish. Think about it – Bella is freezing to death, and this supposedly noble young man exploits her vulnerability completely by indulging in sexual fantasies all night while she is close to him. This is not loving. Using another – and in this case using another at a time of extreme vulnerability – for selfish pleasure is an abuse of human dignity. The degree of selfishness here would kill the life of Christ in the soul. This is not absolute or chaste devotion akin to the love of Christ.
These matters should not be treated lightly. What do you think?