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Study Guide: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - BookNotes

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TWILIGHT BY STEPHENIE MEYER: BOOK SUMMARY / CHAPTER NOTES

CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES / ANALYSIS

Preface

Summary

Bella considers her mortality and how she will die, as she confronts the relaxed hunter preparing to kill her. She takes some consolation in that she will die to protect someone she loves, even as the hunter approaches.


Notes

The book actually begins with an epigraph from the Book of Genesis in the Bible about the Tree of Knowledge. It is the warning God gives Adam and Eve against tasting the fruit from the tree or else they will die. This feeds into the actual Preface, which shows action at the novel's climax, where Bella is indeed risking her life. However, suspense is created because we do not know the specifics of this situation: where she is, who the hunter is, who she is protecting, and how she got to this situation in the first place. Thus, the reader will feel more compelled to read to find out these answers.


CHAPTER 1. First Sight

Summary

Bella Swan is driven to the Phoenix, Arizona airport by her mother. She travels to the small town of Forks, Washington, where her father Charlie lives and works as the police chief. Both parents are not sure what to make of this move, which Bella has decided upon by herself, and Bella knows she does not like relocating to Forks but is resolute on the matter. Upon her arrival, Charlie surprises Bella with a gift: an old truck he bought from Billy Black, which has a sturdiness in which she finds comfort.

Bella is concerned about attending a new school, especially as she is a pale and clumsy girl unlike the kind of tan athlete people may expect from a Phoenix transplant. However, the next day she goes to Forks High School, noticing her old truck fits in well in the parking lot - where a shiny Volvo stood out - and she proceeds to attend classes. She is befriended by several people over the course of this day: Eric in English class, then Jessica in Trigonometry and Spanish. During lunch with Jessica, Bella sees a table of five very pale, very beautiful students: they turn out to be Edward Cullen, Emmett Cullen, Alice Cullen, and the blond twins Rosalie and Jasper Hale. All are the adopted children of Dr. Cullen and his wife, who is said to be the aunt of the Hales; this unusual family moved to Forks from Alaska two years ago.

In Biology class, Bella is surprised to find herself seated at a table next to Edward Cullen, who has a strong negative reaction to her, tensing and making a fist in her presence. This unnerves her but after class she is befriended by Mike, who also notices the tension she stirred in Edward. Mike shares Gym class with Bella, where she fears her clumsiness will become obvious. As the receptionist instructed her in the morning, Bella returns to the main office at the end of the day only to find Edward Cullen there, trying to change his Biology class to any other time. He is unsuccessful, tenses again in Bella's presence, and leaves. The receptionist asks how Bella's day went but is not convinced when she says it was fine. Bella fights tears as she drives home.

Notes

Isabella's nickname of Bella recalls Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula in the classic Tod Browning film as well as on-stage in theatrical productions. Romance novels often have a situation where the initial meeting between the heroine and her hero results in a very negative reaction by the hero; later, the hero explains the reaction in a way that shows how sensitive he is. This story does not deviate from the formula, as Edward seems to grow violent in Bella's presence and goes out of his way to try to avoid her. Note also that his response to the school receptionist is very courteous, giving him the formal air one may associate with aristocracy - a small touch that again recalls the romance genre.

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