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Study Guide: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - BookNotes

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TWILIGHT BY STEPHENIE MEYER: PLOT NOTES / CRITICISM

QUOTES - IMPORTANT QUOTATIONS AND ANALYSIS

27.) Another fateful echo is provided when Bella must force herself away from Charlie and his house:

"Just let me go, Charlie," I repeated my mother's last words as she'd walked out the same door so many years ago. I said them as angrily as I could manage, and I threw the door open. "It didn't work out, okay? I really, really hate Forks!" (394)

The decision to repeat what Renee said when she left Charlie is a calculated move by Bella, designed to make him stop protesting in her decision to leave Forks suddenly.

28.) Edward soon after describes what motivates James:

"I got a good look at his mind tonight," he began in a low voice. "I'm not sure if there's anything I could have done to avoid this, once he saw you. It is partially your fault." His voice was wry. "If you didn't smell so appallingly luscious, he might not have bothered. But when I defended you... well, that made it a lot worse. He's not used to being thwarted, no matter how insignificant the object. He thinks of himself as a hunter and nothing else. His existence is consumed with tracking, and a challenge is all he asks of life. Suddenly we've presented him with a beautiful challenge - a large clan of strong fighters all bent on protecting the one vulnerable element. You wouldn't believe how euphoric he is now. It's his favorite game, and we've just made it his most exciting game ever." His tone was full of disgust. (397)

The seductive appeal of Bella is played up with the amusing phrase "appallingly luscious" - that is, someone so attractive (and tasty, in this case) that there is something vaguely obscene about it. As described by Edward, James' "existence is consumed with tracking" - unlike the Cullens, who have different interests such as music and cars and medicine, James is defined solely by the predatory drive that all vampires possess. The closing sentence observes Edward's "disgust", making clear that he is nothing like James, who is described by him as "euphoric". For all his fears of giving in to his instincts, Edward is clearly more civilized and human than James can ever be.

29.) However, James must first have the upper hand and he calls Bella, luring her into his trap when she thinks he has her mother. This is how she decides:

Slowly, slowly, my thought started to break past the brick wall of pain. To plan. For I had no choices now but one: to go to the mirrored room and die. I had no guarantees, nothing to give to keep my mother alive. I could only hope that James would be satisfied with winning the game, that beating Edward would be enough. Despair gripped me; there was no way to bargain, nothing I could offer or withhold that could influence him. But I still had no choice. I had to try. (430)

Bella's resolute will is depicted in a heroic manner here. She previously stated that the difficult part for her is reaching some kind of decision, but once the decision is made she will pursue it with a clear focus and determination. Now, she has no choices but a clear decision to make: to save her mother by sacrificing herself. Despite knowing the fatal consequences for herself, her main concern involves saving her mother as well as Edward, and pushes her forward in the clipped tone of the last two sentences.


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. (452)

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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