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Symbols, Imagery, Allegory
While reading the book you probably noticed that, following Chapter 3 in which Edward breaks up with Bella, there are some blank pages, merely titled "October, November, December, January." In Chapter 4, the first page only holds one paragraph:
Time passes. Even when it seems impossible. Even when each tick of the second hand aches like the pulse of blood behind a bruise. It passes unevenly, in strange lurches and dragging lulls, but pass, it does. Even for me. (4.1)
It seems that Stephenie Meyer wanted to give us a visual representation of how, after Edward’s departure, Bella loses all sense of time. It passes like meaningless, blank pages until she finally wakes up from her stupor months later.
Love is pain. That’s the long and short of Bella’s "hole" where her heart used to be. Of course she didn’t actually lose the squishy, pumping thing inside, but she did lose her "spiritual heart," so to speak. Since mind and body are connected, there you have the mess:
It was a crippling thing, this sensation that a huge hole had been punched through my chest… my heart must have been beating but I couldn’t hear the sound of my pulse in my ears; my hands felt blue with cold. (4.258)
When she meets Jacob, her hole eases up on her a bit, but when things go downhill with him, more holes show up:
I’d thought that Jake had been healing the hole in me – or at least plugging it up… I’d been wrong. He’d just been carving out his own hole… (11.235)
Finally, by the power of love, her hole magically disappears when she reunites with Edward:
I knew we were both in mortal danger. Still, in that instant, I felt well. Whole… It was like there had never been any hole in my chest. It was perfect – not healed, but as if there had never been a wound in the first place. (20.70)
In New Moon, some symbols are very apparent while others hide deeper in the text – or maybe in more subjective interpretations – so bear with us. Descriptions of Jacob as "the sun," for example, run rampant throughout the story. (For details, check out his "Character Analysis.") Sure. It makes sense. He’s warm and sunny. Got it.
But Bella also describes Jacob as a rock – the rock that saves her from drowning after she jumps off the cliff. At first she believes she merely hit a rock in the current that’s sucking her to the bottom, but then she realizes it's Jacob:
The rock wasn’t cold like the water; it was hot on my skin. I realized it was Jacob’s hand, trying to beat the water from my lungs. (16.10)
Ever heard of "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18, King James Version)? Jesus built the future and the life of his church on the apostle Peter. The Biblical connection makes even more sense since Bella mentioned earlier that Jacob was "a gift from the gods" (5.151).
You can also think about Jacob in terms of the Biblical figure. In Genesis 28, Jacob is the third patriarch, and has a dream in which a ladder or a staircases stretches from earth to heaven. During this vision, God tells him that he's given Jacob and his descendents the land of Canaan. (You can read more about the Biblical Jacob here.)
So maybe these connections to Peter and the Biblical Jacob are telling us about some of Jacob's essential qualities: he's dependable and a leader. So there might be more to him (in future sequels) that meets the eye. In many ways, Bella has already built her future on Jacob, because he saved her life. But what does his future have in store? And will he rise up to be a leader?
We’ve already discussed Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as it relates to the epigraph, a passage from the Shakespeare play. If you have already, check out "What's Up with the Epigraph?"
The epigraph is just the beginning. The story of Romeo and Juliet runs throughout New Moon as a parallel, or working template, to help Bella understand her own tragic love story and decide what to do next.
At first glance, the two stories have much in common. They both deal with losing your one true love. Bella and Edward's love is also forbidden, and though they are not from warring families, as the Montagues and the Capulets were, in the end their relationship renews a feud between two families – the werewolves and the vampires.
Both Romeo and Edward leave their lovers, forced by circumstances, which subjects them to terrible love pains. When Juliet and Bella appear to commit suicide, a series of misunderstandings leads Romeo and Edward to believe their loves have truly died, at which point they decide to commit suicide as well.
In the end, though, Bella saves Edward while Juliet is too late for Romeo and kills herself because of it. So instead of a tragedy, we get a happy reunion.
Now let's consider the werewolf, or should we say, the Paris/Jacob complication. In Shakespeare’s play, it’s pretty clear that Juliet is not interested in her suitor Paris. But in New Moon, especially in Chapter 16, Bella struggles with her feelings toward Jacob. Sure, "Juliet gets dumped and ends up with Paris" (16.75) would have been a lame story, but Bella finds herself wondering if to give "Juliet and Paris" a chance.
When Edward returns however, and the hostility between him and Jacob becomes tangible, Bella fears that their love triangle might have a Shakespearean ending: "They fight. Paris falls" (Epilogue.28).
Bella’s dreams and hallucinations in New Moon provide insight into Bella’s psyche – they trace her character arc, and the way she moves and grows through her painful breakup. The story starts off with Bella’s dream about her grandmother, who turns out to actually be her:
Me – ancient, creased, and withered… Edward… excruciatingly lovely and forever seventeen. (1.21)
The stages of Bella's pain are connected to her recurring nightmare of running through the forest on desperate search for something that only leads into nothingness (5.17). Her dreams also foreshadow future events that help drive the plot forward – Jacob’s transformation into a werewolf, for instance:
The dream veered off… The wolf stared at intently at me, trying to convey something vital with his intelligent eyes. This black-brown, familiar eyes of Jacob Black. (12.156)
Bella's last dream leaves her with the image of an angel who turns out to be Edward, who’s come back to her (23.1).
Bella’s hallucinations present a projection of her subconscious desires. For details, check out her "Character Analysis."
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