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Study Guide: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - BookNotes

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TWILIGHT BY STEPHENIE MEYER: BOOK REPORT / BOOK REVIEW

CHAPTER 16. Carlisle

Summary

Edward takes Bella to Carlisle's office, where Carlisle is reading. Edward asks to show some of their history and Carlisle obliges, showing a painting of London in the 1650s. Carlisle excuses himself, as he has to fill in for Dr. Snow at the hospital, so Edward tells the story of how Carlisle tried to kill himself and starve himself after discovering he became a vampire, before discovering he could eat deer as a replacement for humans. Carlisle then swam to France - Edward revealing to Bella's great surprise that vampires don't need to breathe - and studied deeply at European universities. He took two centuries to perfect his self-control and has become immune to the scent of human blood, which allows him to be a doctor working at a hospital. In Italy, he discovered other vampires - and here Edward shows a painting by Solimena showing Carlisle with three other men, who Edward identifies as Aro, Marcus, and Caius. Edward continues that those vampires are still in Italy, and tried to convince Carlisle about returning to his "natural food source", but to no avail.

Carlisle then went to the New World seeking others like himself and as a doctor cared for Edward's parents until they died, and finally turned Edward into a vampire when he was at the brink of death. Edward notes that he has stayed with Carlisle since, except for a time of rebellious adolescence about ten years after he was turned. However, this time away only confirmed the rightness of Carlisle's belief and he returned as the prodigal son to Carlisle and Esme.

Having recounted his adoptive father's history, Edward then takes Bella to his room, which has a view of the Sol Duc River and a huge CD collection organized by year and personal preferences. Bella asks if Edward is still expecting her to run screaming from all she's learned and lies by saying she doesn't find him scary at all. He then tries to scare her by jumping on her and holding her against his chest, but they are interrupted by Alice and Jasper asking to enter the room. Jasper says that Alice says a storm is coming and Emmett wants to play ball, and wants to know if Edward is interested. Alice adds that Bella should come, and Edward asks if she wants to go. She does, and Edward explains they have to wait for the thunder to play ball. Bella asks what they will be playing and Edward stresses that she will be watching while they play baseball.


Notes

The Italian vampires will play a larger role in future volumes of the series. While the painter of the portrait of the vampires is referred to only by his last name, research makes clear that it is Francesco Solimena or someone from that painter's family.


CHAPTER 17. The Game

Summary

As Edward drives up to Charlie's house, he and Bella saw Jacob and Billy Black waiting in the driveway. Bella says she'll take care of Billy and Edward agrees, reminding her that she has to break the news to Charlie about meeting her new boyfriend. He kisses Bella and she sees Billy Black reacting badly to this. Bella greets the Blacks by herself; Billy brought some of Harry Clearwater's homemade fish fry - Charlie's favorite. She puts it in the fridge at his suggestion and Billy sends Jacob back to the car on a ruse to find a photo of Rebecca. When Billy and Bella are alone, they discuss the Cullens and Billy is surprised at how much Bella already knows, including the agreement with the Quileute. He tries to warn Bella away from the Cullens but she holds her ground. Jacob returns, not finding the photo, and Billy says it's time for them to leave.

Alone in the house, Bella tries to find something to wear that evening and decides on something casual, then gets a phone call from Jessica about the dance last night, including the news that Mike kissed her. Charlie arrives home while she's talking, and she tells him that she'd been at the Cullens all morning and has a date with Edward Cullen that night. Charlie is alarmed at first, but it turns out he's mistaking Emmett for Edward - and getting Edward's name wrong in the bargain. While he thinks Emmett looks too mature, he has no problem with Edward and is even impressed that she'll be playing baseball with his family, given her antipathy to sports. Edward soon arrives and is invited in to sit for a minute: he and Charlie hit things off, but Bella rushes off with her date anyway. Charlie asks Edward to take care of Bella and Edward sincerely promises that she'll be safe with him. Outside, both Swans are shocked by the monster Jeep Edwards drove there; as they leave, Edward explains it's Emmett's and that he brought it because he didn't think Bella wanted to run the whole way. Bella is alarmed at the thought of riding on Edward's back for another of his runs through the forest, but closes her eyes and does so. Before they go, however, he kisses her again and she reacts the same way she did last time, again forcing him to break it off.

Soon they arrive at their destination - and Bella is mad at him when he starts laughing at her bewildered reaction, but also in part for his anger earlier at the kiss. He explains he wasn't mad at her but at himself and how he puts her at risk. As it turns out, the game is being played in an enormous field hidden among the Olympic Mountains, and is twice the size of a standard baseball field. The Cullens split into teams of three - as Esme plays referee and keeps Bella company. It then becomes clear to Bella why they have to play during a storm - the crack of the bat hitting the ball and of the players running into each other were thunderous events, and could only be hidden by actual thunder.

Alice suddenly reacts strangely and says that their game is attracting the travelers that she had foreseen arriving later and they would be there in less than five minutes. Alice says they want to play and that there are three of them; Carlisle says they should continue the game but Edward switches places with Esme in order to guard Bella. The game continues halfheartedly until the Cullens sense the immediate arrival of the visitors.

Notes

Bella breaking the news about her boyfriend Edward is played for comedic effect, showing how her worries are so esoteric - disapproval that she's involved with a vampire - that she doesn't take into account the more everyday concerns a father would have about any boy interested in his daughter. The fact that he gets Emmett and Edward mixed up and cannot even get Edward's name right at first again shows how little humans pay attention. The notion of vampires playing baseball is unusual - but again, not completely unheard-of - and the joke at the end of last chapter is that it's the "American pastime", as if the Cullens are a typical American family. The description of the actual game bears out something different, however, but still very much a part of pop culture Americana: the game is so outsized by the vampires' abilities that it approaches the stature of a tall tale, such as Paul Bunyan or Johny Henry. Further, the use of thunder to hide the sound of their hits and body collisions calls to mind the story of Rip Van Winkle where games of ninepins sound like thunder. It is a deeply witty manner to re-imagine both the nature of tall tales as well as the role of vampires as pop cultural figures.


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