Breaking Dawn Part 1: Is Edward and Bella’s Marriage Abusive?
There has been a lot of debate about the more graphic moments in Twilight: Breaking Dawn and how exactly they will be brought to the screen in the forthcoming movie. One of the more disturbing elements of the book that has not been much discussed is the physical toll that ultra-strong vampire Edward takes on his new wife Bella after their marriage. Apparently, vampires in Stephenie Meyer’s universe, are unable to control their strength when they get into, shall we say, passionate situations.
This is how the affects of her honeymoon night on Bella are described in the book:
“There was a faint shadow across one of my cheekbones, and my lips were a little swollen, but other than that, my face was fine. The rest of me was decorated with patches of blue and purple. I concentrated on the bruises that would be the hardest to hide — my arms and my shoulders. They weren’t so bad. My skin marked up easily. By the time a bruise showed I’d usually forgotten how I’d come by it. Of course, these were just developing. I’d look even worse tomorrow. That would not make things any easier.”
Of course, Edward is horrified afterwards, but then again, most abusive husbands are horrified with what they’ve done… when they’re not in a blind rage. The excuse that fans offer, which is that as a vampire, Edward just can’t help himself and that this is why he was reluctant to be with Bella in the first place don’t help much for critics who find this depiction disturbing. Both the story, and those who try to explain it, come too close to the cycle of abuse for the comfort of many.
Ashley Greene, who plays the part of Edward’s vampire sister, Alice, defended the scene to Movieline in a recent interview:
“I think that it’s a bit different because she’s the one choosing to allow what’s happening to continue happening. I think Edward is the one who’s saying, “We need to make this stop to protect you,” and he really cares about her well-being more than she does, and that’s how it should be. I think it sends a very good message, and if it were the opposite I would completely not condone it because I think it is very important that girls know that they’re important and that they deserve to be treated with respect.Luckily, Edward is in no way, shape or form abusing her. I think he would kill himself before he would let anything happen to her, and she’s the stubborn one going, “I want to keep this child.” And he can’t quite understand because I think until you are in that place you don’t know how it feels to have a child inside you. It was I think a really difficult place for both Edward and Bella to be in.”
What do you think? Is Edward and Bella’s marriage a good example for the teen and tween girls that idolize it? How do you think the upcoming film will depict it?