15.) Bella and Edward finally begin their romance, and are allowed to question one another. When Edward asks Bella questions about her life, we come to this poetic passage about life in Phoenix:

I tried to describe impossible things like the scent of creosote - bitter, slightly resinous, but still pleasant - the high, keening sound of the cicadas in July, the feathery barrenness of the trees, the very size of the sky, extending white-blue from horizon to horizon, barely interrupted by the low mountains covered with purple volcanic rock. The hardest thing to explain was why it was so beautiful to me - to justify a beauty that didn't depend on the sparse, spiny vegetation that often looked half dead, a beauty that had more to do with the exposed shape of the land, with the shallow bowls of valleys between the craggy hills, and the way they held on to the sun. I found myself using my hands as I tried to describe it to him. (232)

The closing sentence shows how involved Bella becomes when describing these things, and thus how important it is to her. The sacrifice she makes for the sake of her mother by moving to Forks is thus made apparent. The language of this passage is unusual in its run-on sentences and unusually heavy descriptions. Bella tries to explain how it is a unique kind of beauty that had to do with exposed land, the play of shadow and light - very much in keeping with the notion of twilight that follows soon after.

16.) In the car together, Edward makes this observation:

"It's twilight," Edward murmured, looking at the western horizon, obscured as it was with clouds. His voice was thoughtful, as if his mind were somehow far away. I stared at him as he gazed unseeingly out the windshield.

I was still staring when his eyes suddenly shifted back to mine. "It's the safest time of day for us," he said, answering the unspoken question in my eyes. "The easiest time. But also the saddest, in a way... the end of another day, the return of the night. Darkness is so predictable, don't you think?" He smiled wistfully. (232-233)

Twilight is treasured by Edward as the "safest time of day" - when he no longer must deal with the sun and staying away from it. However, he also considers it the "saddest" time as it ends the day and marks the return of night. His question about darkness being "predictable" is odd - for humans, darkness symbolizes what is unknown and mysterious and dangerous. Vampires are completely at home in the darkness, however, and there is nothing that can hide from them. For Edward, then, being a vampire is boring - but daytime, when he poses as a human among humans, is a dangerous time but also positive for him.

17.) The relationship between Edward and Bella soon enough comes to a head, as they prepare for an important day together:

I intuitively knew - and sensed he did, too - that tomorrow would be pivotal. Our relationship couldn't continue to balance, as it did, on the point of a knife. We would fall off one edge or the other, depending entirely upon his decision, or his instincts. My decision was made, made before I'd ever consciously chosen, and I was committed to seeing it through. Because there was nothing more terrifying to me, more excruciating, than the thought of turning away from him. It was an impossibility. (248)

The word "pivotal" is a distanced, intellectual term - it is balanced in turn by the more visual and visceral image of their relationship being "on the point of a knife". Finally, there is the last image of balance where they would "fall off one edge or the other" - whether it's falling in love or plunging to one's doom, there will be a sudden change as a result of this coming decision. However, Bella has already made her decision of being with Edward and she was "committed" to this choice; so the true choice falls upon Edward and what he wants, as she admits. In a way, she is placing herself into the traditional role of a damsel in distress, waiting for her hero to swoop down - or for the vampire villain to take advantage and feast on her blood.

18.) When the two go on their special hike, Edward finally reveals what happens when he is in the sun:

Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin, white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare. His glistening, pale lavender lids were shut, though of course he didn't sleep. A perfect statue, carved in some unknown stone, smooth like marble, glittering like crystal. (260)

The beauty of Edward rises to a completely new level: Bella can't help "staring at him all afternoon" as his skin sparkles "like thousands of tiny diamonds", a reminder of both his ability to dazzle women and of the affluent life he leads. When Bella first saw the Cullens, she likens them to works of art - now she does so again, calling Edward a "perfect statue".

19.) After this, Edward describes to Bella why he is attracted to her as a vampire:

"You see, every person smells different, has a different essence. If you locked an alcoholic in a room full of stale beer, he'd gladly drink it. But he could resist, if he wished to, if he were a recovering alcoholic. Now let's say you placed in that room a glass of hundred-year-old brandy, the rarest, finest cognac - and filled the room with its warm aroma - how do you think he would fare then?"

We sat silently, looking into each other's eyes - trying to read each other's thoughts. He broke the silence first.

"Maybe that's not the right comparison. Maybe it would be too easy to turn down the brandy. Perhaps I should have made our alcoholic a heroin addict instead."

"So what you're saying is, I'm your brand of heroin?" I teased, trying to lighten the mood. He smiled swiftly, seeming to appreciate my effort. "Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin." (267-268)

The analogy chosen by Edward is purposely provocative: first that of an alcoholic, then that of a heroin addict. The pause between the alcoholic and heroin addict comparisons has the lovers looking into each other's eyes, which may be why Edward heightens his analogy in such a manner. Edward essentially confesses his helplessness to Bella, albeit in a clever way that flatters her - she is more than desired, she is needed by him in an overpowering manner. Further, she isn't just a random victim and he isn't just a random vampire - they are meant for each other on a very specific way that deals with each of their essences. Bella tries to "lighten the mood" as Edward has difficulty trying to convey his feelings to her, has difficulty getting in touch with his humanity, as much as he wants it for her sake.

20.) Soon after, a very different analog is called upon:

"And so the lion fell in love with the lamb...," he murmured. I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word. "What a stupid lamb," I sighed.

"What a sick, masochistic lion." (274)

Note that Edward earlier described how he liked to hunt down mountain lions; now he describes himself as a lion, with all that it entails about ferocity and pride and its regal nature. There is also an echo of the Bible in this phrasing, or rather a popular mis-quoting from Isaiah 11:6 about "the lion sleeping with the lamb". The actual passage reads, "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb: and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: the calf and the lion, and the sheep shall abide together, and a little child shall lead them." The notion is that a peaceful, blessed union - a Godly union, one may even claim - is achieved when predator and prey are united... or in this case, are in love. However, they both see the absurdity of their situation, as seen by how they describe their respective animals.

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone". TheBestNotes.com.