An alternative scene in ‘The Selection’ by Kiera Cass
Scene: A fancy-schmancy bedroom in a palace. There is a canopy bed and tons of lace, but few personal effects lying around. America Singer, a lovely young girl with fiery red hair, is sleeping soundly when, slowly, the door opens and Aspen, a young man with pitch-black hair and stunning green eyes, enters the room. He shakes her awake.
AMERICA: Aspen! You shouldn’t be here! They’ll kill you!
ASPEN: I can’t take it anymore, Mer. I’ll die if I have to be apart from you for another second.
AMERICA: Oh, Aspen.
A throat clears. Aspen and America visibly start as they see me, the reader, standing in the doorway with a disapproving look on my face. Aspen, true to form, immediately leaps up and draws a sword (I assume?) as America freezes in terror.
APEN: Who are you? How did you get in here?
ME: Just the reader, young man. Just the reader. I’m having trouble believing this scene.
AMERICA: What? How…?
ME: It’s just. Apsen. You’re not going to die. America? He’s not going to die if he’s separated from you.
ME: I’m sure it’s uncomfortable. But Aspen, grow up. You’re not going to die. You seem like a nice young man! You’ll find another girl who will make you happy, I promise. Especially since the one you’re in love with does not really seem to have any distinguishing features apart from being nice to other people and playing the violin.
AMERICA: But, I —
ME: Oh, I know, dear. You are special. Or so every other character keeps telling me. But you know that Aspen is manipulating you, right? Threatening death if you abandon him is emotional abuse, really, especially since you don’t seem to love him.
AMERICA: But I do! I do love him! I’ve always loved him! I’ve never stopped!
ME: Oh? Tell me, what do you feel when you look at him?
AMERICA (pause): I like his eyes. And his arms.
ME: He has very nice eyes, yes. And since he’s an 18-year-old boy who has just undergone months of strenuous physical training, he also has very nice arms. But how do they make you feel?
AMERICA: Like I love him!
I give her a skeptical look. She regroups.
AMERICA (CON’T): Like…like I want him to touch me?
ME: Yes! Like you want him to touch you. Very good. But wanting someone to touch you is not the same as being in love with them.
ASPEN: Don’t listen to her, Mer. What we have is special.
ME: Special? You barely know each other. That’s okay, because you don’t really need to know someone in order to want to…ahem, touch them. But let’s not get that confused with love.
AMERICA: But why do I feel so strongly that need to be with him?
ME: You’re 17. You have so many hormones running through your body that you are just a mass of emotions. He touches you, it feels nice, you want to be with him because you like that feeling. He’s an attractive boy your age who is paying attention to you, so of course you think you’re in love with him.
ASPEN: But…does that mean…
ME: Oh, please. Of course it does. The only thing more hormonal than a teenage girl is a teenage boy.
ME: So now you’re in this room, definitely risking painful and unnecessary death, because you wanted to touch a girl’s boob.
ME (CON’T): You know other girls have them, yes? Girls who are not teasing you sexually while falling in love with another guy?
ASPEN and AMERICA (together): WHAT?
ME: America, being a teenager is super confusing. And this prince guy isn’t around a lot, and you hit him earlier in the book because you thought he was going to rape you. But he didn’t. And…you know how you two have conversations about things?
AMERICA: You mean like the political state of our nation? And the other girls in the Selection? And our favorite movies?
ME: Well. Sure. And you know how you enjoy spending time together and talking? And how he’s concerned about your feelings?
ME: And how you feel safe around him? And say he’s your best friend? And want to spend all of your time with him? And every time you see him, you feel warm and happy inside, instead of conflicted and sad and angry as you do with Aspen? And you want him to hug you, and you thought about wanting to kiss him?
AMERICA (lightbulb goes on): OH. You’re saying I’m in love with the prince! And I can’t see it because he hasn’t tried to kiss me and isn’t as muscular as Aspen is!
ME: Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.
AMERICA: Well, that would be convenient. I’d become a princess, help my family, change the Society for good and get to spend my whole life with my best friend. Who is really nice and has never threatened to die if I left him.
ME: Uh huh.
AMERICA: Huh. So that’s pretty much the end of the story, right? Since he said he’s in love with me? And I only wasn’t sure because I was confused about Aspen and the touching?
ME: Yeah, it would sort of be the end of the plot.
ASPEN: What about me? I just proclaimed my love for you, Mer. We belong together.
ME: Oh, please. Please. You “belong” together until she uses her new status in a higher caste to do something nice for you and you get irrationally angry the way you did in the first chapter. You know, the reason you broke up in the first place? The reason she’s even here?
ASPEN: Oh. But I love her!
ME: We went over this. You love making out with her. You hate pretty much everything else about her. Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that no teenage boy actually acts like you have been. The over-the-top proclamations? The high-flown language? The stupid nickname? It just doesn’t read authentically.
ASPEN: But —
AMERICA: Sorry, Aspen. I have to follow my heart.
ASPEN: Your heart was with me! I’ll die if you don’t —
ME: Uh-uh-uh! No emotional abuse! That’s not love!
ASPEN (manfully tears at hair): AUGH.
Entry filed under: Uncategorized.