Study Guide

Breaking Dawn Strength and Skill

By Stephenie Meyer

Strength and Skill

[Edward:] "She won't listen to me, because she thinks I'm underestimating her. She thinks she's strong enough for this." (9.180)

Edward seems to think that Bella is trying to show him that she's stronger than he believes her to be. How much of her decision to have the baby while she is human might have to do with Bella's need to prove her human stamina to Edward?

[Alice to Edward:] "You would be mortified, too, if you realized that you were handcuffed by your own nature." (19.145)

Alice's self-confidence is closely tied to her special power of foreseeing the immediate future.

[Bella:] The dust was so beautiful, I inhaled in shock. (20.5)

Equipped with her new superior senses, Bella perceives the most ordinary things in the human world, like a speck of dust, as suddenly something extraordinary.

[Bella:] My mind spun out, spiraling to my last human hour. Already, the memory seemed dim, like I was watching through a thick, dark veil because my human eyes had been half blind." (20.35)

Bella believes that she has trouble remembering her human life, because her sensual perception of her surroundings was so dull compared to her superior senses as a vampire. But could there also be a disadvantage to her superior senses?

[Bella to Edward]: "I guess my brain will never work right. At least I'm pretty." (20.187)

Although Bella has changed into a vampire, she hasn't lost one of her core human personality traits: her self-deprecating attitude.

[Bella:] …was I doomed to be useless? Just another easily dispatched newborn? (30.5)

Although Bella is physically probably the strongest vampire in this battle, she's afraid that her inexperience in fighting will render as useless in a fight. This reiterates a recurring motif in the story – placing strategy over strength.

[Jacob:] "If the Volturi won't stop to listen… we will stop them." [Tanya:] "Very brave, child, but that would be impossible for more experienced fighters than you are." (31.1-3)

Tanya dismisses Jacob as a "child" who can't be taken seriously. Her attitude shows an arrogant superiority that many vampires feel toward werewolves. What values might her attitude be rooted in?

[Bella:] But Kate insisted that I needed better motivation by which she meant my hatred of watching Edward's pain. I was beginning to doubt her assertion… that she wasn't sadistic about the use of her gift. (32.71)

Bella realizes that Kate enjoys the power of inflicting pain on others. What does that say about Kate's character?

[Edward to Bella:] "I doubt there's a shield on the planet who could keep her at bay… From what I've seen, no one can doubt the truth of [Renesmee's] thoughts... And I think no one can keep her from showing them, if she gets close enough." (34.154)

Edward believes that Renesmee's ability to project her thoughts into other people's minds will overcome their prejudices against her and will force them to see the truth.

[Bella:] That smug little smile did it. My fury peaked… I could taste the madness on my tongue – I felt it flow through me like a tidal wave of pure power… I threw my shield with all my force in my mind… ten times the distance… I set it free. (36.96)

Bella's madness unleashes a power in her that enables her to set free the full expanse of her shield. Do you think that anger makes us stronger?