In Honor of Saint Carlisle Cullen, Vampire

From a more pointed perspective this time, I want to continue and expand upon what I started explaining in one paragraph of my previous post about Carlisle Cullen:
In the second volume, ‘New Moon’, of her ‘Twilight’ saga, Stephenie Meyer writes a very daring statement about what causes certain people to possibly go to Hell, and what doesn’t.
I know very well that the main vampires she focuses upon in her books, the Cullen ‘family’, are, as described by her, extremely different from the regular vampires of the horror books and films, but this is precisely why I am so interested in them, and want to speak about them in this blog as a new, wonderfully promising departure from the traditional, horrible and terrifying image we were used to.
This question of Hell and who goes in it and why, is one more reason for me to applaud the great new vision of them now emerging:
In a direct challenge of the belief held and affirmed within some of our western religions, that all vampires are demonic beings without a soul who will irremediably go to Hell, Stephenie makes her main character, the sweet and loving human teen-ager Bella, tell Dr. Carlisle Cullen, whom she knows very well to be actually a vampire (but a ‘vegetarian’ one,  feeding on animals only, not humans), that he can’t possibly ever go to Hell, being in fact such a good and compassionate and utterly loving person as he is.
When I first came across those astonishing great lines in that second volume, I rejoiced that someone – Stephenie – had written for everyone to read such a heretical perhaps, but nevertheless obviously true statement, against the usually accepted religious dogma.
But only the first film was existing then, the second film was yet to be realized, and I sighed, thinking it was such a pity that they would most probably never dare to keep those lines in the coming second film, adaptation of the second book.
Well, I’m so glad to say I was wrong: they did dare to!!!
Let’s go through the scene when it happens, which they kept just like it is in the book:

It’s Bella’s birthday, the Cullens, who like her very much, have organized a quiet family party for her at their own home, in spite of her usual shyness and reluctance to be ‘celebrated’.
It’s night time, the party is started, Bella is now opening her parcels one by one, when suddenly the paper ribbon on the gift she is trying to unwrap cuts her finger ever so slightly. A drop of blood pearls on her finger, sending its scent all over the room. Then all goes very fast: Jasper, the newest member of the Cullen family, cannot resist and darts towards Bella; Edward has just anticipated his move and, flinging Bella aside, he stops Jasper with a blow that sends him against the opposite wall, but Jasper, unable to control himself, comes right back towards Bella, as Edward and all the others, aghast, realize that poor Bella landed onto the table amidst the glasses there, and now things are much worse: she has an open cut on her arm, blood is gushing out of it. This becomes too much then for most of them, but as they leave the room, Emmett, the strongest of the big adopted children of Carlisle and Esme, tries at least to help, as we see now in the script I copied down below:

Emmett reins himself in, elbows Rosalie. They drag the snarling Jasper out. Esme holds her nose, politely exits with the others. Alice looks at Bella, apologetic:
ALICE: I’m sorry , I… can’t…
She slips out the door.
Edward’s still on guard as Carlisle examines Bella’s arm.
CARLISLE: I’ll have to stitch this up.
EDWARD: I’ll carry her to the kitchen.
He moves to pick her up, but his eyes dart to the blood.
CARLISLE: I’ll  take care of her, Edward. (Edward  doesn’t  move) . Check  on  Jasper. Go.
Edward looks from him to Bella. Then steps back, allowing Carlisle to lift Bella and carry her to the kitchen. But just before the kitchen door closes, Bella sees Edward’s agonized face. He turns away, unable to meet her eyes.
(CULLEN HOUSE – KITCHEN – NIGHT)
Bella sits in a chair opposite Carlisle who mops up her blood as he removes glass shards from her arm. He drops one into a bowl; PLINK. She tries not to look at the blood.
BELLA: I sure can kill a party.
CARLISLE: It’s not your fault. Jasper hasn’t been away from human blood as long as the rest of us.
BELLA: Seems like you’re the only one it doesn’t affect.
CARLISLE: Centuries of practice.
BELLA: Did you ever think of… living differently?
CARLISLE: I enjoy my work too much. Helping people, saving lives. I’m hoping there’s a point to my existence, even if I am damned.
BELLA: (shocked) Damned? (smiling, shaking her head) You’re not damned.
CARLISLE: Then you and I agree. But Edward doesn’t believe there’s an afterlife for our kind. (looking at her) He thinks we’ve lost our souls.
BELLA: (realizing) That’s why he won’t… He  thinks he’d be *damning me.*
CARLISLE: If you believed as he did, would you risk it?
BELLA: (off) No, not ever…

We can see the wisdom and kindness of Carlisle, who, although he himself disagrees actually with Edward on this so important point, still understands him and manages to help Bella understand him too, without ever being judgmental about the one she loves, and he loves dearly too, as his adopted son.

Even towards the regular vampires who attack them already in book 1 and keep doing it in book 2 and 3 as well (and so also in the three corresponding films), Carlisle shows the same deep compassion and inclination to mercy, particularly in book 3: it becomes clear that the army of recently bitten vampires who were sent against them, being especially strong as ‘newborns’, but totally ignorant otherwise, were only used as tools by the more ancient vampires trying to get revenge from the Cullens after the latter had no choice but to kill the mate of one of them, a ‘tracker’ who had set his devious mind on making Bella his prey, and very nearly succeeded. But by the time the fight with this somewhat innocent army of ‘newborns’ is over and the Cullens, victorious, have taken under their protection a ‘newborn’ girl who prayed for mercy, it is too late: the executioners sent by the Volturi have arrived on the scene, and in spite of the personal request by Carlisle himself, won’t give a second chance to the poor ‘newborn’ vampire girl, killing her with even unnecessary cruelty, under the revolted eyes of the Cullens, helplessly watching.

What we see all along in all members of that extraordinary vampire ‘family’ gathered by choice around Carlisle Cullen is the full emergence of the true love that can come actually only from our soul – and Bella is totally right: that true love in itself is the sure sign that they do have a soul, quite capable of developing just as in normal human beings, if only they find the inspiring example of an exceptional being like Carlisle.
If he had never been bitten and would have remained a human being, in that lifetime he would probably have become an example of true goodness, and have inspired the lives of many other people, and so would probably have been called a saint; the added extreme problem of having been turned into a vampire made his new kind of existence even more challenging for his natural goodness than it would have been had he remained a mortal human, so I feel as a vampire even more than as a human, Carlisle deserves to be called a saint or something like that, respected and honored as such by all other beings in whom a soul is present, active and growing too.

So I start here my campaign, as you can see, for the very special vampire named Carlisle Cullen to be ‘canonized’, not especially in the official way of any specific religion, but in the equivalent manner in our minds and hearts, recognizing and saluting the special quality of a being under whichever skin s/he happens to exist… 

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nina
    Jun 24, 2012 @ 17:24:50

    hmmmmm almost makes me want to reconsider the series……

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 25, 2012 @ 02:21:43

      Really, I think you and lots of other intelligent people should. I still have more to say, by the way, that I hope will show you other quite remarkable aspects of this saga and sway you all to being as admirative and fond of it as I myself quite unexpectedly have become after giving it a fair and thorough examination.

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  2. Nina
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 02:57:06

    I was offended by the author bragging about her failure to do any research

    but mostly because she ripped off the TV show Roswell

    and just made the aliens into sparkly vampires

    I have concerns when Mormon Apologists try to do Sci Fi

    and I think the current trend of message about vampires and sexual repression is not the best message for society or relationships.

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 25, 2012 @ 10:10:20

      – Extract from my pre-previous post (penultieme) : “Twilight: At last good….”
      ‘Back home in Forks the re-united Cullens continue to coexist pacifically with those crowds of humans around them, including Bella’s own family, all still unaware of what those slightly strange but so nice and good-looking Cullens really are. Edward and Bella decide to get married, according to the wish of old-fashioned Edward, and then only will he transform her; ironically – and Bella’s ego cringes with humiliation -, such a marriage at their young age will appear to all as one rendered necessary by a pregnancy, when in reality it is not so at all: Bella had no such principles and would have been quite willing, but Edward had always insisted in having no sexual relations in spite of their mutual desire, not only because of his own principles, but also because he was afraid it could be dangerous for Bella, much too fragile for him with her still human body.
      Once they are at last married, though, she manages to convince him to at least give it a try, while she still is human, so that she does get to have a normal human honeymoon before being changed.
      In spite of Edward’s lingering fears everything goes fine also for Bella, but what they didn’t know could happen does happen: Bella becomes pregnant. Their unborn baby, a half-human, half-vampire hybrid, is loved instantly by Bella, but its extraordinarily rapid growth quickly puts her life in danger, to Edward’s total despair, but he respects Bella’s choice to have that baby even if it might kill her.’

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 25, 2012 @ 10:30:16

      Extract from my first ‘Twilight” post, Nov. 18, 2011:
      ‘Let’s warn the potential readers: the ‘Twilight’ books cannot be reduced to one easily recognizable genre. As Stephenie herself says in the first of the following few extracts from the Wikipedia article on the series (pictures added by me), she doesn’t like being asked to categorize her books :
      « I have a hard time with that. Because if I say to someone, ‘You know, it’s about vampires,’ then immediately they have this mental image of what the book is like. And it’s so not like the other vampire books out there–Anne Rice’s and the few that I’ve read. It isn’t that kind of dark and dreary and blood-thirsty world. Then when you say, ‘It’s set in high school,’ a lot of people immediately put it in another pool. It’s easy to pigeonhole with different descriptions. »

      And the Wikipedia article goes on, with more answers from Stephenie on questions she is often asked about :
      ‘Twilight vampires differ in a number of particulars from the general vampire lore:
      « It wasn’t until I knew that Twilight would be published that I began to think about whether my vampires were too much the same or too much different from the others. Of course, I was far too invested in my characters at that point to be making changes… so I didn’t cut out fangs and coffins and so forth as a way to distinguish my vampires; that’s just how they came to me. »
      For Stephenie Meyer says the idea for the whole thing came to her in a dream on June 2, 2003. The dream was about a human girl, and a vampire who was in love with her but thirsted for her blood. Based on this dream, Meyer wrote the transcript of what is now chapter 13 of the book. Despite having very little writing experience, in a matter of three months she had transformed that dream into a completed novel.
      According to her, her books are “about life, not death” and “love, not lust”. Each book in the series was inspired by and loosely based on a different literary classic: Twilight on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, New Moon on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Eclipse on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and Breaking Dawn on a second Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.[16] Meyer also states that Orson Scott Card and L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series are a big influence on her writing.[13]
      Other major themes of the series include choice and free will: Meyer says that the books are centered around Bella’s choice to choose her life on her own, and the Cullens’ choices to abstain from killing rather than follow their temptations: “I really think that’s the underlying metaphor of my vampires. It doesn’t matter where you’re stuck in life or what you think you have to do; you can always choose something else. There’s always a different path.”
      Meyer, a Mormon, acknowledges that her faith has influenced her work. In particular, she says that her characters “tend to think more about where they came from, and where they are going, than might be typical.”[12] Meyer also steers her work from subjects such as sex, despite the romantic nature of the novels. Meyer says that she does not consciously intend her novels to be Mormon-influenced, or to promote the virtues of sexual abstinence and spiritual purity, but admits that her writing is shaped by her values, saying, “I don’t think my books are going to be really graphic or dark, because of who I am. There’s always going to be a lot of light in my stories.[18] (end of extract from Wikipedia)

      Well, I am myself no Mormon and I have no intention of becoming one, but I do appreciate the values they seem to have, at least from what those values seem to be as exemplified in the books… although with a quite significant difference regarding sexual matters and other pleasures in life: her good vampires do enjoy an especially abundant and robust sex life once they have found their mate!!! They may limit it to night time (that is, full night, as they don’t need to sleep), but only in order to keep the days for enjoying what all of their other perfected senses do offer them to enjoy too!… One must keep a balance between all that is to be enjoyed…’

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 25, 2012 @ 11:26:46

      Two paragraphs I just wrote at the end actually of this post about ‘Saint Carlisle Cullen’ while finishing it, and then cut out but kept aside, as it was actually on a different topic: the one we are precisely discussing now!…
      – ‘Quite frankly, I don’t understand how so many critics of high reputation besides all the normal usually male movie-goers who clamor again and again against ‘Twilight’ every time a new film comes out, can go on stating that it is a stupid and totally uninteresting story, just good enough for teen-agers (girls especially) in the throes of sexual awakening and first romance. To insist on reducing this story and all the heroic efforts by these consciously evolving vampires, to a mere transparent and boring metaphor for sexual tension not yet allowed to fulfill itself, seems to me absolutely ridiculous.
      May I underline the fact that all the vampires in the Cullens family are happily paired with a chosen and dearly loved companion, and that all have a very robust, passionate and un-inhibited sexual life? If Edward was an individual case of old fashioned principles about ‘no sex before marriage’, that was just him, and Bella herself, the human girl, wasn’t like that at all, although both of them happened to experience for the first time lust, as they were also for the first time falling in love, being both quite idealistic persons who didn’t fall in love easily, having very high standards as for whom they would respect and admire and want to live with.’

      During their first ‘honeymoon night’, in spite of his sincere efforts to be careful with Bella’s still human body, Edward breaks the bed-head, ruins a pillow and discovers with horror the next morning the many bruises on Bella’s body. Although she protests that her own experience of it all has been of pure delight, and she wants more, poor Edward, afraid he might end up breaking his beloved into pieces, will obstinately resist repeating the attempt – but as you can see, certainly not because of any repressed sexuality, oh no!…
      And later on in Book 4, when they are both in strong vampire bodies, their so caring and fun-loving Cullen family nicely provides them with a lovely cottage in the forest near the big family house, so that they can have all the love life they might wish to enjoy together, without having to care about noise and neighbours!

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  3. Nina
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 02:58:02

    I include fantasy and horror as SciFi sub-genres

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 25, 2012 @ 11:35:43

      Thank you for this piece of information! As I never read horror books, and still don’t (‘Twilight’ doesn’t qualify at all as a horror book like normal vampire stuff does), I never needed to have a category for them, and I keep the two other genres as separate, Sci-Fi on one side and Fantasy on the other – but that’s just me.

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  4. Nina
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 15:26:55

    I think genres have really become blended so to have mostly lost all distinction – and I do not see that as a bad thing

    I enjoy a number of romantic comedy chick lit supernatural titles

    Betsy the Vampire Queen in particular.

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 26, 2012 @ 03:14:26

      I agree with you about the blending and that it is not a bad thing… True writers don’t write for a ‘genre’, they write first of all for themselves; often not even thinking of publishing what they write, because it is so much the spontaneous expression of their personal inner world. They are surprised when other people are interested in reading it and it becomes a big success! Then the intellectuals (the critics etc) try to fit it into genres and categories, but it is a totally artificial attempt, which cannot really work…

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  5. Nina
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 15:28:25

    many classic sci fi novels from the 60’s often had a tech culture with a magic culture

    which is why it is generally SciFi/Fantasy – and horror is often the fantasy version of our darker sexual energies – which is why vampires and werewolves are such great metaphors

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    • Bhaga
      Jun 26, 2012 @ 02:58:43

      You have obviously read much more than I did and are much more knowledgeable in all these matters. My only contribution is the ability I have to detect new approaches to Life or to our own mythology, that are subconsciously but quite visibly inspired by the new evolutive step and the major changes it will lead us to.

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  6. Nina
    Jun 26, 2012 @ 05:51:12

    I have been reading science fiction for a long time, my parents raised a reader!

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