Family is central to both Edward and Bella's lives. While Bella has grown up close to her mother, she has an understandably awkward relationship with her father Charlie. Though Charlie gives Bella plenty of space, he does watch over her like a protective dad. The Cullen clan has a more complex family dynamic. The Cullens are bound together by their "diet" – none of them prey on humans – and the fact that Carlisle adopted each family member. Though none of them are blood-related, the Cullens understand each other like no humans can, and have genuine affection for each other. Interestingly, the human family (Bella's family) that we see has divorced parents, whereas the vampire family includes several committed, happy marriages.
Questions About Family
- How much does Bella value her family? By the end of the novel, she states that Edward is now her life, that he is "the only thing it would hurt [her] to lose" (24.204) – where does that leave her family? Are they less important to her than Edward?
- What character traits does Bella have in common with Charlie? With Renée?
- Charlie is quick to jump to Carlisle's defense. What would make someone skeptical or worried about the Cullens' family dynamic? What makes them seem like an "all-American family next door"?
- How would it affect Bella's family if she became a vampire?