Study Guide: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - BookNotes|
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TWILIGHT BY STEPHENIE MEYER: PLOT NOTES / CRITICISM
30.) When it's time to meet James, her run to the dance studio to save
her mother is described:
I felt so slow, like I was running through wet sand - I couldn't seem to get
enough purchase from the concrete. I tripped several times, once falling,
catching myself with my hands, scraping them on the sidewalk, and then
lurching up to plunge forward again. But at last I made it to the corner.
Just another street now; I ran, sweat pouring down my face, gasping. The
sun was hot on my skin, too bright as it bounced off the white concrete
and blinded me. I felt dangerously exposed. More fiercely than I would
have dreamed I was capable of, I wished for the green, protective forests
of Forks... of home. (442-443)
Time slows down for Bella - she "felt so slow", which is in contrast
to the speed she feels when she is among the Cullen family. The lush greenness
of Forks is contrasted starkly to the harshly sun-drenched setting of
Phoenix, and the concrete of the sidewalk plays up an unforgiving hardness
that now alienates Bella. The forests of Forks not only represent home
for her now, but also refer back to the primordial natural setting in
which she accepted the notion that Edward is a vampire.
31.) Bella almost dies at James' hand but is saved in the last minute:
As I drifted, I dreamed. Where I floated, under the dark water, I heard the happiest sound my mind could conjure up - as beautiful, as uplifting, as it was ghastly. It was another snarl; a deeper, wilder roar that rang with fury.
I was brought back, almost to the surface, by a sharp pain slashing my upraised hand, but I couldn't find my way back far enough to open my eyes.
And then I knew I was dead. Because, through the heavy water, I heard the
sound of an angel calling my name, calling me to the only heaven I wanted.
The sense of floating in dark water brings to mind the earlier nightmare recounted
by Bella. The oblivion is welcoming, but she then heard "the happiest
sound" of "another snarl" which we know to be Edward saving
her life. Then she hears the actual voice of Edward, "the sound of
an angel", which is ironic since vampires are often considered demonic
or evil in nature. Again, this reinforces how she looks past Edward's
vampirism in her deep love for him.
32.) The Epilogue provides an affirming moment for Bella as she's fooled
into attending the prom with Edward. The prom takes place in the gym,
meaning the place where her clumsiness and humiliation was emphasized
has now become a place to celebrate her grace and beauty.
He considered for a moment, and then changed direction, spinning me through
the crowd to the back door of the gym. I caught a glimpse of Jessica and
Mike dancing, staring at me curiously. Jessica waved, and I smiled back
quickly. Angela was there, too, looking blissfully happy in the arms of
little Ben Cheney; she didn't look up from his eyes, a head lower than
hers. Lee and Samantha, Lauren, glaring toward us, with Connor; I could
name every face that spiraled past me. And then we were outdoors, in the
cool, dim light of a fading sunset. (494)
In stark contrast to her fear of entering a new high school at the beginning
of this novel, Bella closes the book surrounded by people she knows and
for whom she cares, an accepted part of the Forks High School community.
"I could name every face that spiraled past me" not only emphasizes
this hard-earned familiarity with her new surroundings, but the spiraling
also emphasizes how fluidly she moves through this crowd - literally in
the dancing as well as metaphorically as someone deep in the swirl of
everyday school life. Also, in the same way Bella's name recalls a famous
screen actor of horror films - intentionally or not - Ben Cheney recalls
the name of another such legend, Lon Chaney.
33.) The novel ends with this exchange between the lovers:
"Bella." His fingers lightly traced the shape of my lips. "I will stay with you - isn't that enough?" I smiled under his fingertips. "Enough for now."
He frowned at my tenacity. No one was going to surrender tonight. He exhaled, and the sound was practically a growl.
I touched his face. "Look," I said. "I love you more than everything else in the world combined. Isn't that enough?" "Yes, it is enough," he answered, smiling. "Enough for forever."
And he leaned down to press his cold lips once more to my throat. (498)
The disagreement over whether or not she should change into a vampire remains unresolved - "No one was going to surrender tonight". However, they agree that Edward will stay with her for the moment - rather than leaving her so that she can be safe - and that is "Enough for now." Further, Bella once again affirms her love for Edward, and for him that is "Enough for forever." In this manner, their respective frameworks of time - the short span of "for now" for Bella, the immortal span of Edward "forever" - are taken into consideration. The last line in the novel is Edward kissing Bella's throat - not only a sign of their intimacy, but also a reminder that he is a vampire and that he must show restraint. However, this classic pose of vampire and victim also leaves ambiguous whether or not Edward will eventually relent and turn Bella to a vampire - a possibility to be explored in future volumes.
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. 09 May 2017