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by Stephenie Meyer

What's up with the handwriting?

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

In our computer day and age, handwriting often falls by the wayside. If we do use it, our hands hurt and we often frown at our handwriting, because it's so messy and imperfect compared to the even shapes our computers and cell phones type out for us. But the way we right can often express a lot of emotion, personality, and truth. That might be why, in Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer allows us to examine the handwriting of the main characters.

In Chapter 1, we get to read Jacob's letter to Bella. It's terribly messy. Half of his writing has been crossed out, the pencil's eraser leaving blotches all over the paper. What's left tells us the gist of his message: "Yeah, I miss you, too. A lot. Doesn't change anything. Sorry" (1.7). The crossed-out section reveals his emotional struggle: his hatred for his natural enemies, the vampires, and his search for the right words to explain why he can't be friends with Bella anymore when he truly longs to see her. Jacob's disregard for neatness in his writing also mirrors his impulsive straight-forwardness and spontaneity when expressing his emotions. He lets them spill out, no matter how messy.

Edward's handwriting in Chapter 3, in contrast, looks like a work of art. It reflects his cool self-control. Every word and the emotion behind it seems to be carefully chosen. We can also read his true age in his antiquated script.

Then there's Bella's handwriting. Just like she envies Edward for his beautiful looks and speed, she envies him for his handwriting and dismisses hers in comparison. Although she tries to write as neatly as he does, it requires much more effort on her part: "It took him less time than me though he wrote an entire paragraph" (3.252). Despite her own self-control and maturity, her handwriting appears tentative, almost a bit insecure. Maybe she's not as mature as she thinks she is…check out Bella's "Character Analysis" for more clues.

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