Bella Swan, protagonist of Stephenie Meyer’s the Twilight saga, may be a sympathetic and sensitive character with a huge heart, but she also possess one glaringly obvious and destructive flaw: She is a klutz! Not only does she trip over air as she walks and somehow manage to bleed puddles at the most inopportune moments, but that big heart of hers has her caring for others more than herself, and at the expense of her health and safety. She’s not just a klutz physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
Okay, so a relationship with a vampire may not be the healthiest of situations, but even Edward Cullen notices her “total lack of self preservation” in Midnight Sun. Interestingly enough, for how vulnerable Bella is by dating Edward, she’s ironically susceptible to the most danger when he’s not around.
In New Moon, when Edward breaks it off with Bella, in an effort to “protect her,” he ultimately places her at the highest risk of destruction, a fate brought on by herself. Bella’s a hopeless romantic, and when her vampire leaves her, she’s just… hopeless. And who is there when Edward isn’t around to pick up Bella’s broken pieces? Everyone’s favorite werewolf, or shape-shifter, Jacob Black.
Jacob saves Bella three times in New Moon. He physically saves her from bodily harm, and he mentally and emotionally remedies her heart’s illness, at Edward’s departure, by being present and so very in love with her. Since today is the eleventh anniversary of New Moon’s movie release date, here is a list of the three ways in which Jacob Black saves Bella Swan in book two of the saga. Without his efforts at keeping her safe, happy, and–let’s be honest– alive, the series would have had a much bleaker ending.
1. When Bella goes “cliff diving”
Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? Bella jumped off a cliff. And when anyone confronts her about it, she answers that she was just engaging in some friendly “cliff diving,” a fun recreational sport of the Quileute tribe. However, it’s obvious what everyone thinks her real motive was, and as readers we know she jumped in order to assuage her bleeding heart; for whenever she put herself at risk, she sees Edward’s face and hears his “silky” voice. Whatever her reasons, it’s clear that Bella is suffering in more ways than one. She’s desperate enough for a glimpse of her beloved to jump off of a cliff, even when she knows his presence is all in her mind, and she’s at risk of drowning and hypothermia from exposure to the frosty waters. Jacob steps in on both accounts, diving in after her and whisking her from the throes of a watery death. He would do anything to keep her safe, anything till the day her heart stops beating, and, ultimately, the series can play out in its entirety because of his intervening and caring hand.
2. When Jacob helps bella fix the motorcycles
Jacob is quick to jump on the chance to spend time with Bella when she wanders onto his land with a weary expression and two beat-up bikes, and, while a part of him does believe that she genuinely enjoys being with him as well, he knows that she’s hurting in a way that he can’t personally relate to. When Bella requests his help on fixing the ratty old motorcycles she found on the side of the road, Jacob makes it his mission to not only mend the rusted metal but also her mangled heart. He determines to be a friend (with the obvious hope for something more but not pushing the agenda) and these hours spent in the garage with Bella help her more than he knows.
“It wasn’t just the way he was always so happy to see me, or that he didn’t watch me out of the corner of his eye, waiting for me to do something that would mark me as crazy or depressed. It was nothing that related to me at all. It was Jacob himself,” said Bella. “Jacob was simply a perpetually happy person, and he carried that happiness with him like an aura, sharing it with whoever was near him. Like an earth-bound sun, whenever someone was within his gravitational pull, Jacob warmed them. It was natural, a part of who he was. No wonder I was so eager to see him.”
Jacob saved her by making her happy when she was drowning in her most anguished despair.
3. When Bella crashes the motorcycle
As I mentioned before, Bella lacks self-preservation. Even as she acknowledges that Jacob is helping to warm and heal her aching spirit, she’s using this time with him in order to hurt herself more… to see phantasmal and fleeting images of Edward. She knows it’s unhealthy to chase a vision, a hope, an unreality… and she knows that she’s willingly, and quite literally, falling head first into ruin, but she’s all the more eager to hop on that bike for a moment of false bliss. In her needling anticipation, Bella jumps the gun on the riding lesson and shoots off like a vampire’s lope through the trees, but instead of gliding through them effortlessly as she had aloft Edward’s back, she crashes into them. And Jacob comes to her rescue, picking her up, dusting her off, and telling her she’s done hurting herself this way. Little did he know how often he would have to take on this role down the line.
Jacob works tirelessly to help Bella and be there for her, and though she doesn’t allow him to be that in the way he wishes, he stays right there alongside her, warming her with his personal earth-bound sunlight and saving her from complete loneliness.
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