Study Guide: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - BookNotes

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21.) The intimacy grows as they sit in the woods and it leads to this interaction:

"Be very still," he whispered, as if I wasn't already frozen. Slowly, never moving his eyes from mine, he leaned toward me. Then abruptly, but very gently, he rested his cold cheek against the hollow at the base of my throat. I was quite unable to move, even if I'd wanted to. I listened to the sound of his even breathing, watching the sun and wind play in his bronze hair, more human than any other part of him.

With deliberate slowness, his hands slid down the sides of my neck. I shivered, and I heard him catch his breath. But his hand didn't pause as they softly moved to my shoulders, and then stopped.

His face drifted to the side, his nose skimming across my collarbone. He came to rest with the side of his face pressed tenderly against my chest.

Listening to my heart. "Ah," he sighed. (275-276)

A sense of danger is presented in the way Edward lingers over the neck, making the reader fear that he will indeed drink Bella's blood and give in to his instincts. The movements are very much in line with the slow seductive attack of a vampire on a swooning woman - the attention paid to her neck and throat, the slowness and gentleness of his movement. However, the payoff is not in a bite, but in the beatific image of a man listening to his loved one's heartbeat. When he finally rests against her chest and listens to her heart, the sigh is meant to convey relief as well as a sign of erotic satiation.

22.) Soon after, the couple have their first kiss:

Edward hesitated to test himself, to see if this was safe, to make sure he was still in control of his need. And then his cold, marble lips pressed very softly against mine.

What neither of us was prepared for was my response. Blood boiled under my skin, burned in my lips. My breath came in a wild gasp. My fingers knotted in his hair, clutching him to me. My lips parted as I breathed in his heady scent.

Immediately I felt him turn to unresponsive stone beneath my lips. His hands gently, but with irresistible force, pushed my face back. I opened my eyes and saw his guarded expression.

"Oops," I breathed. "That's an understatement." (282)

The writing shows the restraint on Edward's side - he "hesitated to test himself" as well as makes "sure he was in control". In contrast, the description of Bella's reaction - "blood boiled" and "burned", her "breath came in a wild gasp" and so on --shows a certain wantonness to her reaction, a burst of emotion wholly unexpected. Edward responds by becoming "unresponsive stone" and "irresistible force". As this scene shows, Bella is as driven by her own desire for Edward as Edward is driven by his. It thus falls on Edward, as the strong male in this romantic pairing - and the one more experienced in reining in those instincts - to stop matters, before it goes too far. This fear of overstepping boundaries and going too far is certainly a part of normal romantic relationships - most notably in the worry about engaging in sexual activity before the proper time - but in this case the consequences would prove fatal as Edward could kill Bella if he surrenders too freely to his vampiric side.

23.) When speaking about her attractiveness, this exchange occurs:

"Well, do you find me attractive, in that way, at all?" He laughed and lightly rumpled my nearly dry hair.

"I may not be a human, but I am a man," he assured me. (311)

This distinction between being human and being a man - between one's species and one's gender - is an important part of the supernatural romance genre. A vampire man is still a man, and still has a man's needs. Edward also has a family to consider, and Bella is asked to meet them.

24.) She is nervous about the encounter, as described here:

"Look, I'm trying really hard not to think about what I'm about to do, so can we go already?" I asked. "And you're worried, not because you're headed to meet a houseful of vampires, but because you think those vampire won't approve of you, correct?"

"That's right," I answered immediately, hiding my surprise at his casual use of the word. He shook his head. "You're incredible." (320)

This brief exchange sharply contrasts the concerns of everyday teens with the situation Bella finds herself. That is, she is thinking of visiting the Cullen home as a way to earn the approval of her boyfriend's family, which is a common enough experience. However, as Edward points out, she is also entering a den of vampires, which would instill fear in most anyone.

25.) The threat of vampires thus becomes analogous to the fear of disapproval from a loved one's family, making the more esoteric experience less frightening and more accessible.

"You are going out with Edward Cullen?" he thundered. Uh-oh. "I thought you liked the Cullens."

"He's too old for you," he ranted. "We're both juniors," I corrected, though he was more right than he dreamed. "Wait..." He paused. "Which one is Edwin?"

"Edward is the youngest, the one with the reddish brown hair." The beautiful one, the godlike one... "Oh, well, that's" - he struggled - "better, I guess. I don't like the look of that big one. I'm sure he's a nice boy and all, but he looks too... mature for you. Is this Edwin your boyfriend?"

"It's Edward, Dad." "Is he?"

"Sort of, I guess." "You said last night that you weren't interested in any of the boys in town." But he picked up his fork again, so I could see the worst was over. (357)

This exchange is comedic in tone, showing concern on Charlie's part, but not a full understanding of the situation. He mistakes Edward for Emmett and can't even get Edward's name correct. When he sees this is a done deal and not the "too old" one, he "picked up his fork again", showing a resumption of the everyday concern of dinner. What passes completely under the radar - to Bella's relief - is any talk of vampires.

26.) When James and his group greets the Cullens, James realizes Bella is a human and almost attacks her. The Cullen family reacts quickly:

"She's with us." Carlisle's firm rebuff was directed towards James. (379)

This statement recalls the famous line from Stoker's Dracula where Count Dracula fends off three vampire women about to prey on Jonathan Harker by declaring, "This man belongs to me!" It was a dream Stoker had about this particularly ghastly exchange that led to the creation of the novel, much in the same way Meyer was inspired by a more idyllic dream of vampire and human. Again, we have three vampires threatening the life of a human - but where Count Dracula has a ghastly hold on Harker which has distinctly unhealthy psychosexual repercussions, Carlisle Cullen is playing the wholesome role of the family patriarch protecting one of his own - an adopted daughter of sorts.

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