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Analysis

What’s Up With the Title?

If “twilight” doesn't really strike you as a title-worthy word, well, you're not alone. On her website, Stephenie Meyer explains that “twilight” came from a list of words that she sent her publisher while they were trying to decide on a title for the book. It was on a list of “words with atmosphere.” Meyer says,

[The title] isn't absolutely perfect; to be honest, I don't think there is a perfect title for this book (or if there is, I've never heard it). When I look at the titles other countries have used (examples: Germany: Bis zum Morgengrauen which is "Until Dawn" or "Bite" if you add an "s" to make it "biss" (if you look at the German book cover on the Twilight International page); Finland: "Temptation;" France: "Fascination;" and Japan, which has split it into three separate books: "The Boy Whom I Love is a Vampire," "Blood Tastes Sadness," and "The Vampire Family in the Darkness."), it seems like I might be right about that. (Source)

Got any recommendations for a better title?

Given Meyer's explanation, however, what kind of atmosphere does “twilight” actually express? The word "twilight" does pop up several times in the novel, so we can examine those instances.

In Chapter Seven, Bella includes the word "twilight" in her description of the forest, right after she has decided to pursue a relationship with Edward.

And I knew in that I had my answer. I didn't know if there ever was a choice, really. I was already in too deep. Now that I knew – if I knew – I could do nothing about my frightening secret. Because when I thought of him, of his voice, his hypnotic eyes, the magnetic force of his personality, I wanted nothing more than to be with him right now. Even if... but I couldn't think it. Not here, alone in the darkening forest. Not while the rain made it dim as twilight under the canopy and pattered like footsteps across the matted earthen floor. I shivered and rose quickly from my place of concealment, worried that somehow the path would have disappeared with the rain. (7.59, emphasis ours)

Notice: It’s not actually twilight; it just feels that way in the woods because of the rain. The twilight-like atmosphere has Bella a bit freaked out.

Next, the word appears in Chapter Eleven, right before Jacob and Billy show up at Bella’s house unannounced. Edward drops Bella off during that darkening time of day, and he reveals that twilight is the safest time for vampires, although it also seems sad to him: “the end of another day, the return of the night” (11.143).

Now let's jump to the Epilogue, when Edward and Bella have exited the prom in order to be alone outside. “Twilight again,” Edward notes. “Another ending. No matter how perfect the day is, it still has to end” (Epilogue.153). Aha! Edward could be saying that no matter how perfect their relationship is, it will eventually end, since Bella is human. She’ll get older; eventually she’ll die.

OK, here’s our last word alert. A few paragraphs later, Edward is teasing Bella about turning her into a vampire (a.k.a. kissing her neck). He asks her if she’s truly willing to die, for this to be “the twilight of [her] life” (Epilogue.186), since transforming into a vampire would mark her death as a human, not to mention turn her into a "dark" creature – a vampire. She says yes. He refuses to bite her... right now. Could this be foreshadowing events to come? We’re already reaching for the sequel.

So we had a few “Aha! there’s the title!” moments. How do you feel about the title now? Does it seem to fit?

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