I sifted through my questions for the most vital. "Why do you do it?" I said. "I still don't understand how you can work so hard to resist what you... are. Please don't misunderstand, of course I'm glad that you do. I just don't see why you would bother in the first place."
He hesitated before answering. "That's a good question, and you are not the first one to ask it. The others--the majority of our kind who are quite content with our lot--they, too, wonder at how we live. But you see, just because we've been... dealt a certain hand... it doesn't mean that we can't choose to rise above--to conquer the boundaries of a destiny that none of us wanted...."Stephanie Meyer's Twilight, pg. 307
As I stumbled through this book, retching again and again at the writing, I couldn't help but draw comparisons between Edward's situation and my own. I hope that doesn't reflect an inappropriate fixation on sexuality these days--that I can't look anywhere and consider anything to be wholly irrelevant to this blog... ;-) I thought a few book club posts would be a nice diversion from the central topic of this blog, but U Dude expertly picked a book that is relevant in some respects.
The foremost, of course, is the matter of personal choice and identity. Is identity associated at all with inclinations or behavior? Is it something innate or something chosen? What part of us is us? What does our character have to do with our identity?
...We begin, then, with our thoughts and end with our eternal destiny. Our destiny is determined by our character, and our character is the sum and expression of our habits. Character is won by hard work.
Ernest L. Wilkinson, speaking to the students of Brigham Young University, said: “Character … is not something to be obtained by ease and indolence or being socially agreeable. It cannot be acquired by absorption or by proxy or on the auction block. It is a reward derived from honest toil in overcoming difficulties. We grow by mastering tasks which others consider impossible.
This isn't quite the quote I was looking for, but it does speak to the power of overcoming... of our character being a product of our behaviors. And, really, that's what I liked best about Edward, Dr. Cullen, et. al. Despite remarkably strong desires to do something they felt was urgently necessary, they mastered themselves to do what they thought was right.