Study Guide: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - BookNotes

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CHAPTER 14. Mind Over Matter


On the drive home, Edward plays an oldies station, which prompts Bella to ask how old he really is. He says he was born in Chicago in 1901 and Carlisle transformed him in 1918 when he was dying of the Spanish influenza epidemic. Carlisle was able to do this through his compassion and self-restraint, as well as his loneliness. Edward was the first to join the family, with Esme soon after, followed by Rosalie, who was originally meant as a mate for Edward. Emmett was saved from a bear attack by Rosalie, who then carried him to Carlisle to change into a vampire, as she wasn't sure she'd be able to do it herself. They had become mates. Jasper came from a very different family and joined the Cullens as he developed a conscience different from that pack. Alice then found Jasper, as she possesses the ability to see possible events from the future, especially regarding non-human beings; from there, Alice led them both to meeting the Cullens, to complete the family as it now stands. There aren't many vampires, and most travel like nomads; only the few who give up hunting are able to live with humans for any length of time. The Cullens found only one other family like themselves, in a small Alaskan village, and they lived together for a time before the sheer number of them risked getting notice.

Reaching Charlie's house, Edward asks if he can come inside and Bella agrees. He then confesses to spying on her every night and listening to her talk in her sleep. He also mentions that Bella said his name frequently in her sleep. Charlie suddenly arrives home from fishing and Edward disappears. Charlie asks if she's going out that night, again alluding to the dance, and if there were any boys in town she was interested in. Bella denies both, and Charlie seems a little relieved.

When Bella goes to her room, she opens the window and calls for Edward, who arrives immediately. She tells him to wait as she prepares for bedtime in the bathroom, making sure to say good night to Charlie in her pajamas and with her hair wet, hoping he won't check in on her later to see if she sneaks out. Back in her room, she notices that Edward seems more comfortable around her now, more at ease, and he explains it's a case of mind over matter. He stresses that it's not easy, but it helps that they'd been together all day; time away from her re-sensitizes him to her essence and its appeal to his predatory instincts. He adds how he's becoming more human around her, feeling such strange impulses as jealousy and not knowing what to do with it. The first night he came to spy on Bella was the day the three boys asked her to the dance, and while she was sleeping, he heard her say his name, which left him emotionally moved. Bella is surprised, considering how she compared to Rosalie, but Edward explains that Rosalie is simply a sister to him, never mind belonging with Emmett and vice-versa.

Edward suddenly tells Bella to lie down and she does so, feigning sleep badly, as Charlie peeks in. When he leaves, Edward teases her for being a terrible actress. Edward says Bella can sleep, but she doesn't want to, so they wonder what to do and Bella says she wants to hear more about him. She asks why he resists his nature and he believes it's worth trying to retain whatever essential humanity they can hold onto. She then asks about their powers and why they developed; Edward says that Carlisle has a theory that the strongest human traits are carried over and enhanced in vampirism. Edward can read minds, Alice has precognition, Carlisle has compassion, Esme brings her ability to love passionately, Emmett has his strength, Rosalie her tenacity, and Jasper is able to manipulate the emotions of those around him. She asks where vampires came from and Edward argues rhetorically that it could be as natural as any other evolution. Bella is finally ready to sleep but has one last question about Rosalie and Emmett getting married soon and whether it's the same as human marriages. Edward responds that most of the human desires remain, just hidden behind more powerful desires. This leads to Bella asking about what could be possible between her and Edward, which leads Edward to muse on how fragile she is, given his supernatural strength. Still, he admits to being attracted to her in this manner and Bella falls asleep in his arms.


The main issue that arises from Edward's story of how the Cullen family was gathered is the mystery behind Alice's human life, foreshadowing events at the climax.

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