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Twilight 3: Eclipse

To be able to see how we can eclipse others, for our own good or for selfish reasons.

by Helen Bryant

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To be able to see how we can eclipse others, for our own good or for selfish reasons.

Preparation and materials

  • None required.

Assembly

  1. We’re now on our third assembly following the trials and tribulations of the love affair between Edward and Bella and the activities of the very funny little town of Forks. It is hard to discount the fact that he is a vampire who spends most of his time trying not to devour the love of his life. He shows amazing restraint and control. For us mere mortals it’s difficult to appreciate the self-discipline involved.
  2. Think about a time when you have had to give up something, either through your own choice, or because you haven’t been able to have something. Eventually you may have given in, cracked, and had that small piece of chocolate or just eaten that bit of cake, or borrowed something you shouldn’t have, or even gone to a party you’d been told not to go to. I am not sure many of us have the willpower not to give in to our temptations for too long. Edward, however, lives with it constantly. Every time he and Bella are close, it must be near impossible for him.
  3. Bella herself, of course, doesn’t help, wanting to be changed, both longing and fearing for that time. Edward, however, refuses unless certain conditions are met – namely that she marries him and becomes his wife: he is, after all, a very old-fashioned type, having been born in the early twentieth century. Her desire to be with him becomes all-consuming in this book, which for a number of reasons, I think, is aptly named Eclipse.
  4. Let us look at what an eclipse means for us here outside of the fictional world that Bella inhabits. An eclipse is defined as an astronomical event that occurs when one celestial object moves in line with another, blocking out the light and producing a shadow obscuring it, to a degree or fully. An eclipse on Earth occurs when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned.

    The two principal types of eclipses seen from Earth are the solar eclipse and the lunar eclipse. The solar eclipse is when the Moon travels between the Earth and the Sun, blocking the Sun’s light from the Earth, during the day; in a total eclipse there is the appearance of a ring of light in the darkened sky. During a lunar eclipse, the Earth casts its shadow on to the Moon during night-time hours, blocking light from the Sun and thus the view of the Moon from Earth. There can be anywhere from four to seven eclipses of varying degrees within any given year.
  5. I want to draw out this theme of ‘eclipsing’, of something totally obscuring anything else. At times we all have our own eclipses – where we cannot see the wood for the trees, or we are so blinded by something that we can’t see the other point of view, or we put our blinkers on and carry on straight ahead regardless of the consequences.
  6. In this book I want to look at the eclipse caused by revenge, love and the need to work together. First, there is the eclipse that is fuelled by revenge. In previous books we have come across Victoria. It is her partner James who in the first book seeks to eat Bella, and is torn to pieces and burned. Victoria seeks revenge for this action; she wants to kill Bella in a slow and painful way. Her revenge is all-consuming: it leads her to take risks. She creates an army of ‘newborn’ vampires to help her with her quest. Revenge is like an obsession. For Victoria all she can focus upon is the death, mutilation and destruction of Bella – to hurt Edward in the same way that he hurt her, by taking away the love of his life.

    This creation of newborn vampires leads to a spate of killings. This is another form of eclipse. These newborns are so strong and so powerful that all they can think of is the thirst for human blood. This overwhelming need for blood makes them reckless and very dangerous. This leads to an eclipsing of the dislike and split between the Quillete tribe and the Cullen family, and a treaty between them enables them to work together against the common enemy: the newborns and their leader Victoria. Just think about what kind of passionate feelings lead someone to want to take that kind of revenge, and to do it so indiscriminately that they do not care what happens to themselves either.

    Another eclipse is that of love. Bella’s love triangle between Jacob and Edward eventually comes to a head. Bella is in love with both of them, but in very different ways. Jacob finally realizes that Bella’s unconditional, all-consuming love for Edward and her wish to be with him for ever, as one of his kind, as a vampire – his enemy – is just too much for him to fight against. He understands that he can never fight against that. The obscuring and leaving of all others is something he can’t cope with and neither is he strong enough to do it. He reluctantly leaves, because he knows he cannot fight any more. It would be like stepping in between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon and trying to stop something that is inevitable.
  7. This idea of eclipse may be something that you can connect with. Hopefully not in the love/revenge type of way, but even just being absorbed by something such as a good book or a task that you have really been concentrating on and the time has just ‘gone’. What you have been doing has blocked out everything else. Sometimes good things are blocked out by bad things. Some people tend to eclipse others. As long as you remember that eclipses pass, and although things may seem to be never-ending and possibly it might be dark and uncertain for a time, the light will always return.

Time for reflection

You might like to think about any all-consuming passions within your life:

for a sport, for a hobby, for a person,

for something that you do in your own time.

Prayer
I know that there is a path for me and for others who will come into contact with me.
You formed me in the womb and you knew me: let me be able to see where your path leads me.
If I eclipse others, let it be for the right reasons and let them understand why I need to seek that concentration and course.
Let those for whom I care be able to see that the darkness will become light;
and even when an obstacle seems immovable, to see that one day it will move.
Amen.

Hymn

‘He who would valiant be’ (Come and Praise, 44)

Publication date: June 2010   (Vol.12 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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