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Breaking Dawn review, part III: Bella turns into a baby-breeding ‘bot.

Breaking Dawn review, part III: Bella turns into a baby-breeding ‘bot. published on 34 Comments on Breaking Dawn review, part III: Bella turns into a baby-breeding ‘bot.

Part I is here. Part II is here.

All right, I've fired my first salvo: to wit, Breaking Dawn breaks rules of good fiction by being inconsistent with the logic established in earlier books. Now my second reason for despising Breaking Dawn shall be detailed here. As I mentioned earlier, I find Breaking Dawn "philosophically objectionable." 

This is because the book uses the plot line of Bella's pregnancy to empty out her character of all thoughts, intelligence and personality [not that she had much to begin with]. In place of an identifiable character, Meyer leaves us with an individual so fixated on having a child that she is willing to sacrifice her life. Through the example of Bella, Meyer argues that nothing is so important in a woman's life as getting pregnant and having a kid. In the person of Bella, we see Meyer's true, misogynist view of the "ideal woman:" a mindless baby incubator. Now that's philosophically offensive.

In order to idolize Bella as the model baby incubator, Meyer first starts by taking away Bella's personality, perspective and status as a fully fledged character. For most of the Twilight Saga, Meyer writes in first person from Bella's point of view, allowing the readers to sympathize with her as a distinct character whose fate they are interested in. Meyer cuts this sympathetic tie between readers and Bella by writing Bella's pregnancy and delivery from Jacob's point of view. Because Meyer chooses to remove the readers from Bella's head, we have no idea what she thinks and feels when she's pregnant. Meyer's shift in perspective from Bella's view to Jacob's view turns Bella from a character that we experience the events WITH to an unconscious body that we look at. It's hard to sympathize with someone whose head you're not inside. By denying Bella the chance to tell readers firsthand about her pregnancy, Meyer takes away much of Bella's status as a character and turns her into an object.

As the second step in her project to transform Bella into a walking womb, Meyer literally destroys Bella's bodily integrity, reducing her to a life support system for a fetus that could kill her. We hear in excruciating detail how the fetus' movements sap Bella of her vitality and consciousness. Even more gruesomely, its kicking forms "webs" of bruises on her abdomen. As it shifts, it breaks first her rib, then her pelvis, then, finally, as Bella tries to push it from her body, it breaks her spine. Meyer chooses to inflict an almost comically horrific catalog of injuries on her supposed main character to break Bella off from her pre-pregnancy activities. Her shattered bones prevent her from driving, riding her motorcycle, screwing with Edward or doing any other physical activity that she enjoys. Her frequent unconsciousness largely prevents her from telling Edward that she loves him, making pathetic jokes at her own expense and otherwise talking the way that she enjoys. So, to recap, Meyer objectifies Bella by showing her pregnancy from Jacob's view and then further reduces Bella by physically paralyzing her and shutting her up mentally. Immobilized and mentally checked out, Bella can do nothing except for serving as a temporary holding pen for the Voracious Halfbreed Fetus of Doom.

Finally, to complete her elevation of childbirth as the highest vocation a woman can ever know, Meyer writes it so that Bella accepts her objectification. When Jacob points out that the fetus is "a killer," Bella pays no attention, insisting, "It's not just having a baby. It's…well…THIS baby" (p. 193). That is to say, Bella ignores her bruises, broken bones and weakness. She ignores the fact that Jacob is telling her the truth. She insists that "THIS baby" is more important than her own health, sanity and life. In fact, she aids in her own objectification when she downplays her health in comparison to that of the fetus: "He's not [a killer.] It's me. I'm just weak and human" (p. 193). Like a mindless object, she has no regard for her own bodily integrity and her own life; she claims that she is "weak and human," ergo unimportant. The important thing is "THIS baby," which is actually a fetus. It is a parasitic entity incapable of supporting its own life and, therefore, in the pro-choice perspective, it is not as important as the independent, fully cognizant individual in whose body it currently resides. But Bella and the Cullens, who eventually support her, don't think so. Who cares if the mother dies? At least a baby results. Yes, yes, I know that Bella turns into a vampire and, tra la la, she gets to be alive and have a Miracle Baby, O joy! However, that does not erase the fact that Meyer basically turns Bella from a psychologically interesting character into a completely thoughtless incubator who's willing to die so that she might achieve the ultimate pinnacle of womahood, which, in Meyer's mind, involves having a child.

[For a more detailed discussion about Miracle Babies and their deleted mothers, please investigate my comments on the Divine Screw, in which a god-like male character impregnates a female mortal, and no one cares about the mother. This theme appears in countless books and movies, including the British TV show Hex and Tanith Lee's Tales of the Flat Earth.]

Meyer is wrong. The ultimate pinnacle of womanhood is NOT having a child. Do I really need to mention that women have a wide variety of paths to satisfaction in their lives? Some of us have kids and find happiness and strength in raising them. Some of us make friends with our peers, finding support and fulfillment in friendship. Some of us follow careers, pursue creative endeavors, devote ourselves to religious journeys, pursue knowledge and scientific experimentation, etc., etc., etc. Heck, as amazing as it may seem, most of us do several of the above! Just because some women are biologically capable of having heterosexual intercourse, getting pregnant and giving birth to kids does not mean that all women should do so. Nor does it mean that all women find heterosexual intercourse, pregnancy and child-rearing interesting or attractive. 

In the example of Bella, however, Meyer shows only one path for women to achieve happiness: 

1. Find a sexy abusive guy.

2. Become obsessed with him so that you have no other hobbies, interests or even friendships, beyond some weird love/hate relationship with another abusive guy.

3. Lie and cover up to your parents about the whole thing. 

4. Get married directly out of high school. 

5. Avoid human experiences explicitly offered to you such as a college education, a chance to learn new skills, a period in which to make friends with some normal human beings your own age and to expand your horizons.

6. Instead, just get knocked up.

7. Then nearly die while giving birth. 

8. You'll live sparkly ever after, you, D.H. and baby, in an isolated cocoon of heteronormative bliss completely divorced from reality!

The Twilight Saga promotes an unrealistic, narrow-minded view of the happiness that women can hope to achieve. Because the books basically say that you can only be happy if you're heterosexual, married out of high school and having kids, they, like so many other supposedly "romantic" fairy tales, are philosophically bankrupt. Hence, we need to expose the stupid assumptions underpinning them and the limited, insulting views of human capability that they portray.




*pops popcorn, gets comfy and waits for the teeny-bopper troll bridgade*


Unfortunately, pregnancy does involve a fair bit of disregard for one’s own bodily integrity (especially in the US where the emphasis is on invasive/unnecessary induction of labor and c-sections to increase turnover of patient beds instead of quality maternal care -but I’ll spare you all that rant), just by virtue of the rigors of pregnancy, labor and birth on the mother’s body. This does not make the mother “sick” – just more vulnerable. And given Bella’s predicament, she’s as fragile as glass.

Sometimes it is possible to ignore editorial issues (spelling errors, major plot holes) in the face of an engaging story – but Meyer is nothing short of dangerous. She really does seem to be pushing an agenda onto her readers. Her target audience is teenage girls (I’m putting aside the politically correct claptrap of calling teenage girls “women” for a moment), a population that is very vulnerable to emotionally abusive relationships. There is a major push right now to educate high schoolers in regards to what constitutes an abusive relationship and believe you me, the patterns do start at a very young age. The *last* thing these girls need is someone pushing the idea that these types of relationships are healthy and acceptable. It doesn’t matter if the male in question is a rich and handsome vampire or a juvenile deliquent with a XBOX addiction – it’s not healthy. Perpetuating the idea that emotional abuse is something normal (much less encourgaging it) is just as bad as the abuse itself.

Shame on you, Ms. Meyer!

Has Meyer ever been pregnant? Just curious. My womb content is kicking and squirming right now, and, yes, granted, he’s not half vampire, but, I can’t imagine anything that small and un-exercised having the strength to do the damage described above…especially since the health of the fetus is directly related to the health of the mother. I’m healthy; not-yet-sparkly Bella does not sound healthy. Again, though: not half-vampire, plus, even if I were half my age, I’d be pretty high up in teenage years, so, maybe I just don’t get it. Snerk.

*inserts her two cents* Meyer has three sons. *goes back to hiding in her corner*

Thanks…although…that makes it even more baffling to me…

remeber, meyer’s is mormon.

most of my mormon friends are great people. they dont talk down to woman, they dont think woman are just conveyer belts for babies. but meyers seems to be apart of the fundie chirstian right as a mormon, and belives a womans only value is how many children they put out. I know it is stereotypical mormon, but I have never met anyone who matched that mold. meyers seems too.

I haven’t even read the book yet, but I must say: bravo.

Sorry, I don’t even know who you are, I just found this entry while looking for BD spoilers. As an adamantly childfree person, I approved every word of it.

Someone over at posted a couple of questions about BD. Would you allow me to post your entry on this community? I’m sure other CF-folks would enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks in advance.

Breaking Dawn

I agree.
The fact that Edward offer Jacob as stud service was the breaking point for me. I keep hearing for the BD lovers that he was just trying to save her, but he had 2 medical degrees I’m sure he could have thought of something else!
I also hate that fact that in the first three books it was about Bella sacrificing and SM offers up everything she wants on a silver platter. Wow, I wish that were true in real life.
This is a horrible ending to a good series.

You have some great things in here, and I agree that this book robbed Bella of her personality, but I’d like to point out that throughout the series Bella has had a tendancy to completely disregard her own safety. New Moon’s plot was based around Edward’s reaction to Bella’s lack of self-preservation.

I also think that writing the pregnancy from Jacob’s perspective was more dynamic than it would have been from Bella’s. It was very clear early on that Bella’s only conflict with the pregnancy was protecting it from Edward and Carlisle, which was resolved when she called Rosalie. Narrating from her point of view would not have provided much more than “I love this baby so much”, etc. Narrating from Jacob’s point of view, however, allowed the reader to experience his internal struggle with protecting Bella from his own pack and being forced to witness the woman he loves have a baby with his mortal enemy.

That being said, I agree with you that SM poorly portrayed how to achieve lifetime happiness (in this case it’s merly gratification) to young women.


twilight is amazing

from my perspective i find these books intresting many of my friends resd these books aswell as e and found that it was a little oasis of fiction its only a book but it grips you and i dont agree with anything your saying.

in my opinion the book has twists and excitting jurnies that you take with bell thei a fresh new perspective of the timeless clasic of vampires and i very much enjoyed it.


(i got an account so i could post this)

umm you guys do know that ITS JUST A BOOK!!! hello what is the point of ranting about how stupid the book is when thats all that it is….?? HELLO come on. its like you people dont have a life and all you can do is trash someone’s writing. there are plenty of people that like this book. and if you have so much to say then GO WRITE ONE YOURSELF!!!

Re: (i got an account so i could post this)

If it bothers you so much, why did you go looking for reviews on it in the first place? A little hypocritical, too, that you would read through the whole thing and then take time to resond to it (as your name suggests). As for accusing this person for ‘trashing’ Stephenie Meyer’s writing? Isn’t your response proof of ‘trashing’ theirs?

Similar to what other commenters have said, I appreciate you posting this. I admit to being addicted to the series. I liked the novels quite a bit. But despite this, it didn’t stop me from cringing over the abusive relationship and childbirth incident. Even though I enjoyed many little parts of the novels, I still had to keep critiquing it myself. I think you critiqued this very well and I appreciate that you really focused on the cultural and philosophical context and didn’t merely attack her writing (which unfortunately has been the case with several other critiques). Anway, kudos.

I know I’m REALLY late to the party, want to put in my 2 cents. Even though I’m only on the 2nd book, I pretty much knows what’s going to happen in “Breaking Dawn”.

Very interesting and thought-provoking post. I have to agree with you on most of the parts. What you said about Bella and what she needs to be happy, this is pretty much why it’s so hard for me to read through the 2nd book.

Now about the pregnancy and the baby. I can completely understand what you’re saying and it makes me wonder what Meyer was thinking. But I also have my own thoughts. Mothers in general are known to put their child’s life in front of their own, including unborn babies/fetuses/etc. And yes, even though the baby/fetus was half-vampire and basically killing her, she still loved it or rather her. We may not understand it, but look in real life. Mothers with very high-risk pregnancies push their bodies to the limit to make sure their babies are healthy. Pregnant women with the condition called hyperemesis gravidarum (an extreme form of morning sickness) are at risk of STARVING to DEATH during their pregnancy. Fortunately there’s treatment. Now I know in Bella’s case it was EXTREME, but in a way I can understand. To me it’s all about “in the eye of the beholder”: to a mother it’s a baby – a precious life, to others it’s just a fetus. To the Cullens (at least most of them), I would like that Bella was actually more important than the baby, or rather AS important. The only way to get Bella to have an abortion was to force her, and you know that wasn’t going to happen.

But yeah, I definitely agree that the viewpoints shouldn’t have changed, at least not entirely. As someone said, yeah Jacob’s viewpoints would probably be more dynamic than Bella’s, but at the same time we would have gotten more insight into what Bella was thinking. In the end, as you mentioned, it was hard to sympathize with her.

Well I think I got all of my 2 or 20 cents out πŸ˜› Once again, I really like this post.

P.S. PLEASE don’t think I assume to know what ALL potential-mothers do in those situations. I’m not saying that all women don’t get abortions when their lives are at stake, I was just looking at it from another side.

“Finally, to complete her elevation of childbirth as the highest vocation a woman can ever know, Meyer writes it so that Bella accepts her objectification. When Jacob points out that the fetus is “a killer,” Bella pays no attention, insisting, “It’s not just having a baby. It’s…well…THIS baby” (p. 193).”

Actually she isn’t a killer, since she never kills anyone.

“That is to say, Bella ignores her bruises, broken bones and weakness. She ignores the fact that Jacob is telling her the truth.”

This is insulting to women who choose (the term is pro-CHOICE, remember?) to carry on with high risk pregnancies. Women can choose to do with their bodies what they feel is best. It isn’t the place of any one else, particularly a man, to tell women “what’s really best for them”.

But it’s not as if that’s ever been a problem, right?

“She insists that “THIS baby” is more important than her own health, sanity and life.” In fact, she aids in her own objectification when she downplays her health in comparison to that of the fetus: “He’s not [a killer.] It’s me. I’m just weak and human” (p. 193).”

This completely ignores the fact that many women who are pregnant by their own choice and want the baby do not view the “fetus” as merely a fetus, but their developing child. This may not be your point of view, but your point of view is not shared by every woman. If it were, miscarriages would not be as traumatic and heartbreaking as they are to many women.

But it’s just a fetus, so I suppose they should all just get over it, right?

I agree the “weak and human” comment is stupid.

“Like a mindless object, she has no regard for her own bodily integrity and her own life; she claims that she is “weak and human,” ergo unimportant. The important thing is “THIS baby,” which is actually a fetus. It is a parasitic entity incapable of supporting its own life and, therefore, in the pro-choice perspective, it is not as important as the independent, fully cognizant individual in whose body it currently resides.”

Language is important. I suggest you tell the next happily pregnant woman you meet that her baby is simply a “parasitic entity” and see how well that goes over. Or tell that to a woman who’s been devastated by a miscarriage. This is just as offensive as telling a woman who’s had an abortion she’s just “killed a baby” or “murdered her child”. In both cases, the personal feelings of the woman in question don’t matter and are completely ignored.

You’re also implying your own point of view on the subject should be shared by all women. What, women with high-risk pregnancies should just smarten up and listen to you, since their just carrying “parasites”? What about THEIR choices and opinions? Oh wait, I forgot, we aren’t talking about actual women here; this post is 100% ideology and 0% real world. You get to decide what’s more important for women & what their priorities should be, not them.

“But Bella and the Cullens, who eventually support her, don’t think so. Who cares if the mother dies? At least a baby results. Yes, yes, I know that Bella turns into a vampire and, tra la la, she gets to be alive and have a Miracle Baby, O joy! However, that does not erase the fact that Meyer basically turns Bella from a psychologically interesting character into a completely thoughtless incubator who’s willing to die so that she might achieve the ultimate pinnacle of womahood, which, in Meyer’s mind, involves having a child.”

If this wasn’t Bella’s choice, I’d agree with you.

But you aren’t really pro-choice. You’re pro-choice as long as women make choices that you agree with. If a pregnancy involves more risk than you personally find acceptable, or they have convictions you don’t share, they’re “thoughtless incubators”.

How very feminist of you. How very “pro-choice”.

Shame on you.

THANK YOU!!! I agree with alot of what the OP was saying, but the parts that you quoted that were made by the OP bothered me also. I’m glad I’m not the only one who pointed this out (although I think you worded it better).

Bravo! I found this critique poorly organized and lacking depth. For instance, the defense of analysis(the only part I found insightful) should have come first.
The more important topic was the fear women have whenever ideas which once trapped us sans rights rear their heads. But pregnancy does change your personality. A woman does change emotionallyand mentally when pregnant. It’s different for everyone. The woman acts as a shield (usually) to potential outside harm. She feltbonded to the life growing inside of her. Who are we to judge what it felt like to have a different species, weird hormones in your blood. The fact is pregnacy hormones affect you and your body does take control. The woman is merely the vessel. after a while, she will become more pre-mom as the child gains more independance. This is biological life.

Totally agree. While I think this critique has some good points, it does fall down when it gets incredibly rude about Bella’s choice to remain pregnant.

To the OP: Some of us women are feminists, equal-opportunists and pro-choice advocates, and still think that pregnancy is beautiful, and a woman ought to have a right to have a child and be a mother. If it were me in Bella’s shoes, I would give myself for my child.

And I’m no mindless walking womb, either. :X

Breaking Dawn

It’s a fantasy novel. FICTION! She’s not saying all women have to live there lives this way to be happy. It’s a made up character and made up story line. If you don’t like it read other books with plots you would enjoy and quit bitching about a book that millions do enjoy.

Breaking Dawn Assessment

I actually couldn’t agree with you more despite the other posters objections. I think the part that bothered me the most is that we, the readers, are expected to swallow the fact that Bella, who didn’t have any motherly characteristics or inclinations to speak of, is suddenly absolutely thrilled to know that she is pregnant. This is obviously a far cry from reality or else there wouldn’t be any such thing as abortion. I am still undecided on whether or not I would like to have children at the moment, but I am absolutely certain that if I were to become pregnant right now, some motherly instinct that has never been there before wouldn’t just suddenly crop up in the absence of my menstrual cycle. I’m fairly certain the opposite would happen. Of course, this is anecdotal, but there is nothing in any of the previous books to suggest that Bella would be any more thrilled than I would be to find out she is pregnant. She was very adverse to the idea of marriage, but children are ok apparently. I’m not buying it. In fact, I had to put the book down for a couple days and cool off from Meyer’s thinly-veiled attempt at forcing her anti-abortion agenda on her readers. I had almost given up the first book when she chose to have Bella make some off-the-cuff remarks that hinted that she either questions evolution, or at the very least feels very certain of some god’s existence. However, I decided that since it was not a major plot element, I would try to forget about it. At any rate, I was very disappointed to discover that Meyer’s views on controversial issues were not only prominently displayed, but forced on her readers in this book. Anyway, I won’t take any more of your time ranting. Good Post. πŸ™‚

Re: Breaking Dawn Assessment

I agree with you and the OP on that point–Meyer is obviously pushing an agenda, whether she wanted to or not. Meyer is a young mother with three children and most likely has strong Christian beliefs (she went to Brigham-Young); obviously her beliefs are more on the fundamentalist end of the spectrum, especially when it comes to children and relationships. That’s just simple fact. Every writer imparts their own beliefs onto their work. Though die-hard pro-life stances are not always the product of Christianity.

However, I do see the Anonymous poster’s point as well. I think both points are well-articulated and of equal value.

Re: Breaking Dawn Assessment

I have to disagree with your statement that Bella showed no maternal instincts before she got pregnant. While the subject of children is never brought up beforehand, her character always lead me to see her as a maternal type figure.

She took care of Rene and describes the experience as raising her. Not to mention her tone when speaking about her is always affectionate in a maternal way.
One of the most striking parts of her character is that she is essentially self-less, never wants to hurt anyone else and generally strives to take care of them. (Be it her mom or dad, Edward or Jacob..)

Now I can definatel agree that Meyers wrote these books from her own perspective, relying heavily on her own life/upbringing and faith and what not, but I disagree that that is in and of itself a bad thing.

@OP Your post was very well written and you brought up a great point with Meyers switching the story telling away from Bella’s perspective and the effect that had. But I have to say that personally I think your points, while valid are also heavily tainted by your own perception.

I have never seen Bella as a fundamentally weak character, despite her flaws and I think the pro-choice debate has gotten off center here. As someone else said, just because you were not planning for a baby doesn’t make in inconceivable that the mother may fall in love with it and want to keep it, despite the changes that will bring.
Being pro-choice to me doesn’t mean knocking any young woman who chooses to have a family instead of a career. Just as motherhood isn’t the pinnacle of female achievement(to many), neither is a successful career wanted by others. The issue here should always be CHOICE.
And all though I can see the “incubator” issue as possibly legit considering Meyers background. I agree with the other poster in that your tone is wildly degrading. I suppose my personal view point is that when I read a book the characters take on a life of their own, and I can see Edward and Bella and the rest with all their flaws and still like them for the most part, because I’m not necissarily looking for the authors message as much as I am creating my own interpretation.

Meyer is Mormon

Meyer happens to be Mormon, and she has stated in interviews that her religious views have informed her work.
Mormon culture and religion dictate that women marry and have children. Many Mormon girls marry very early as well. The Mormon church has a history of treating women not as equals. The Mormon church was the main instrument behind the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment. Institutionally, women are not granted roles in the church nor are they spiritually, other than as wives and mothers. And, of course, the Mormon church doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose.

Re: Meyer is Mormon

What about Bella having a baby with Edward because she is in love with him? Why does it have to be that Meyer wrote it the way she did because she is Mormon? I like Twilight even though I am a 36 year old non-Mormon, single heterosexual female who doesn’t believe it’s in anyone’s best interest (male or female) to get married out of highschool. Any woman I have ever talked to who has been pregnant said she loved the baby before he/she was ever born. I think Bella being willing to sacrifice her life for her baby is consistent with the very beginning of Twilight when Bella asserts that she has never given much thought to how she would die but dying in the place of someone she loves seems like a good way to go.
As far as Edward being abusive ~~ I’m just not seeing it. He does everything he can to protect her. How is that abusive?
I agree that we should have interests and goals outside of a relationship but this is very difficult for some of us to actually carry out. I was 33 when I met my boyfriend and he is actually the first serious boyfriend I have ever had because I justr didn’t want to be with anyone until I met him. Then at 33 everything changed. I already had 2 college degrees when I met him and had started some work on a Master’s degree. I am still slowly working on a Master’s degree after taking breaks off and on. I haven taken IQ tests that show me to be above average intelligence. So keeping that in mind I have to say that even though I’m intelligent I still, at 33 years of age, fell in love when I was not expecting it and have to work to keep myself balanced and not put all my focus on my boyfriend. He wants to be my priority and I hate what happens if he feels he is not my priority. He just acts like a big fat baby. I really hate it when he acts in certain ways as if he is younger than he is however I do care about his feelings ~~ but sometimes I have to be rude to him in order to get some space. And when he pouts I have boundaries so that he knows I don’t accept stupid behavior. It’s difficult at times but I’m starting to think relationships are just hard work no matter what.

c’mon really?

it’s a story, a story that made millions. sorry but most that grill over the details that obviously numerous fans can overlook are most likely jealous. ya know, those spells from harry potter weren’t very realistic either, hmmm,,,guess it was just a story, go figure…..sheesh


obviously twilight isnt real but its not making women think about doing those things u listed. i love twilight. and women love the romance in it. not every single book has to be realistic. meyer made it creative just like every other author should make their books creative. its something us women enjoy. and people should stop thinking negatively about things like you have, and live life and enjoy things by being positive. jeez. how boring would books be if they only stuck to realistic things.

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