None of us are to blame of course. From the beginning, she was already one of the least popular humans. Which brings me to the first topic: Canon Jessica.
Stephenie Meyer set the mold when she decided that the role of loquacious, fraudulent friend should rest on Jessica’s unfortunate shoulders. In Twilight, it’s quickly made evident that Jess likes Bella more for her popularity than her charm (though, to be honest, Bella doesn’t have any). This is further backed up by Midnight Sun when Edward hears her traitorous thoughts. Then, in New Moon, Bella falls into zombie state and Jessica ceases to pretend to be her friend. (You can’t blame her for that. How many of you thought that Bella was pathetic?) After that, Jess fades evermore into the background as Bella’s love triangle becomes the main problem.
And there you have it: Canon Jess. Bland, simple and ridiculously easy to sum up.
But now is where I point out that Jessica was never openly malicious. Only in fan fiction did she become that way.
Jessica: Lauren’s Posse
Written in the Starsby
EclipseoftheTwilightMoon, Jessica is Lauren’s cohort, used to make Bella’s teenage years painful. Jessica helps Lauren attack Bella’s insecurities, and they do their best to make her feel inferior. It’s a classic portrayal of Jessica in fan fiction; infuriating, shallow, and totally lacking in morals.
Jessica was running enough that she could catch up and then kept pace with me. I rolled my eyes and continued on my run. I didn’t think I needed to justify that with a response. I kept running and she punched me in the arm.
“Are you fucking deaf, Swan? What the hell do you have to say for yourself?”
“I don’t control Edward, Jessica. He does what he wants, and if he doesn’t want to date Lauren, then he doesn’t want to date her.”
Must Have Been Loveby
withthevampsofcoursewith has the most creative portrayal of Jessica that I’ve seen so far. How many fics have her as Edwards’s pregnant, lesbian, ex-girlfriend? Jessica uses Edward and is the major cause of pain for both him and Bella, but she is egged on by Lauren. Her guilt for what she’s doing to Edward wins out in the end, and she sets him free against the wishes of her girlfriend, Lauren.
Jessica: the Un-bitched Version
I was stuck in that exact mindset. And then, uh-oh, I made the oh-so-wise pick of Jessica Stanley for a character exploration. So now I have to, for the first time ever, look for unique fics featuring her.
Which is horrendously difficult. The humans of Twilight are sadly neglected, as I soon found out. No big surprise there; who would write about them when you could write about the perfect man (a.k.a. Edward), who you’ll never meet in real life?
Hoping for a quick fix, I did a fanfic scan on Jess and found a hell lot of one-shots depicting the time Jess asked Edward out.
Boring. (No offense.)
Anyhoo, after pleading to my awesome beta for help, I found one!
But Inside I'm Screamingby
epicinsanity101is a wonderfully hilarious fic that captures Jessica’s personality perfectly, but in a totally bearable way, free of Edward’s prejudiced perception. Imagine Princess Diaries meets Twilight, and voilà: Twilight from Jess’s POV, albeit with some deviations from the original. I laughed and snorted every single chapter, and loved how it was so different from stories in other characters’ POVs.
I gobbled up that fic and suddenly realized that I hadn’t died from boredom. Quite the opposite, in fact. It was the first thing I read that made me consider Jessica in a different perspective — it gave reasons for why Jess is who she is.
Some of the things she said and did were so hysterical. Like how she said the Cullen’s weirded her out with their “relationships”, and the part where they’re shopping for dresses and she says, “This dress makes my boobs look great!” ;D
I sort of connected with her at that point. I never read Midnight Sun, so I obviously don’t know what Stephenie Meyer really thinks of Jess.
The journal format just seemed to fit Jessica’s character. She acts one way on the outside, but it’s a whole other story in her head.
For those of you who have read
Tropic of Virgo, you would know that Jessica isn’t totally devoid of loyalty. She is Lauren’s best friend; superficial, slutty, covetous, and shallow. But eventually, she proves there’s more to her than that.
Despite all her insincere actions towards Bella, she proves that she doesn’t act that way with everyone.
Portrayals of her as she is in canon with a slight twist for the better are the most realistic. Bella is a loner, Angela is so nice it’s almost fake, but Jessica is real — a typical teenage girl. She can be bitchy, but it’s evident that she is insecure and wants to be popular. She’s capricious and gossipy, but it’s her desire to be noticed and admired that makes her so. She’s not a very loyal friend, but she does feel hurt when Bella abandons her in New Moon.
Second Glanceby the
Scarlet Skyis a one shot describing Mike when he finally realizes that Bella isn’t the only girl worth paying attention to. Mike’s an average guy, Jess’s an average girl: this is the way it’s supposed to happen.
Jessica the Jealous
Look At It Through My Eyes:
I wanted someone to do that with my hair. Isn’t that a perfect description of what all of us felt when we first read Twilight? Twilight is the drug, Edward is the addiction…the perfect man that every woman (and teenage girl) wishes they had. It’s not so hard to imagine that Jessica feels the same. She did ask him to go out with her. Ouch. Also, she’s not only jealous of Bella because she has Edward but she has Mike drooling over her too. Not only has Bella got Jess’ dream man, the unattainable fantasy, but she has stolen the realistic, attainable, Mike’s attention too.
Twilight is Bella’s point of view, and Midnight Sun is Edward’s. Both of them are too mature, and not fond of Jessica. We never really consider Jessica’s feelings, her thoughts, actions, and the reasoning behind them. Try to think back to your teenage years, the crushes, the friend that had everything you wanted, and got it effortlessly. And if you do, you’d be surprised to find that Jessica isn’t so despicable after all.