Study Guide

New Moon Themes

  • Love

    New Moon explores different kinds of love. Apart from Bella’s one true romantic love for Edward, there’s her loving friendship for Jacob who healed her pain after Edward left. Jacob, on the other hand, has romantic feelings for Bella, but accepts her friendship, hoping that Bella might be ready for something more in the future. But Bella thinks that she’ll never be able to love Jacob the way she loves Edward, and feels that she’s betraying her love for both of them by encouraging Jacob’s hopes at all. Bella also loves her soon-to-be vampire family, the Cullens, as much as she loves her human dad, Charlie. Despite the different kinds of love she feels for them, she’s willing to make sacrifices for all of them.

    Questions About Love

    1. Bella says she loves both Jacob and Edward and can’t be without either of them. How does her love for Edward differ from her love for Jacob? Is one stronger than the other or are they just different kinds of love?
    2. Bella says that she’d love Edward even if he killed humans, because love is irrational. Is that a valid argument?
    3. Do you think Bella is cruel, as Mike says, to keep Jacob around as a friend when she knows that he has romantic feelings for her?
    4. Comparing her own story to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Bella thinks that "Juliet gets dumped and ends up with Paris" would not have been a hit. Do you agree and why?
  • Suffering

    In New Moon, Bella and Edward’s true love for each other is closely associated with true pain. Because they love each other so much, they suffer mentally and physically from being away from each other. Jacob, who is also in love with Bella, suffers because she doesn’t return his romantic affections. Bella’s father Charlie suffers because he witnesses Bella’s misery, but remains unsure of how to heal her. Mental suffering causes physical suffering. Various characters experience painful thoughts as tangible, physical pain. Some characters even inflict physical suffering on other characters through their thoughts.

    Questions About Suffering

    1. Bella suffers from a hole in her chest after she loses Edward. Of course, it’s only a mental hole, yet it causes her real physical pain. How might Edward’s different make-up have made him experience his pain of leaving Bella?
    2. Edward tells Bella that he suffered more from their separation than she did, because she at least kept up the appearance of normality. Do you think that means he loves her more?
    3. When Edward is gone, Bella’s pain affects everyone around her: Charlie, Jacob, her school friends. How do these different people react to her suffering? Out of the people mentioned, who is most affected by Bella’s pain?
    4. Do you think that love and suffering naturally go together?
  • Choices

    As in Twilight, personal choice and free will play a vital role in New Moon. Edward chooses to leave Bella, although she’s the one true love of his life. Bella decides to commit a series of reckless acts just to hear Edward’s voice in her head. Both Edward and Jacob had no choice in becoming a vampire and a werewolf, but they both can decide whether to act on their natural instincts, or to exert self control to follow their human instincts. Bella has made her choice to become a vampire, but Edward will only change her if she agrees to marry him first. And, like in Twilight, we know that every choice has consequences. What will be the consequences of each of the characters' decisions in New Moon?

    Questions About Choices

    1. Given Bella’s extreme reaction to Edward’s departure, how effective do you think his choice to leave "as if he’d never existed" has been? Would she have gotten over him eventually?
    2. Now that you know that Jacob is a werewolf, who do you think is a better choice for Bella – Edward or Jacob?
    3. Both Jacob and Edward believe that Bella has to make a choice between being friends with werewolves or with vampires. Do you agree?
    4. Would Charlie still think Jacob was better for Bella if he knew that Jacob is a werewolf and that Edward is a vampire?
  • Friendship

    Where does friendship end and romantic love begin? Throughout New Moon, Bella struggles with how she feels about Jacob. Jacob knows that he wants more than just friendship with Bella, yet he promises to always be her friend, no matter who she ultimately chooses to love. Friendship in New Moon is defined by loyalty, promises, and companionship. Jacob also defines friendship as loyalty to his kind, the werewolves, which is why he struggles to be with friends with Bella when she decides she wants to become a vampire – his natural enemy. Bella, on the other hand, feels that friendship has no boundaries.

    Questions About Friendship

    1. Bella’s very concerned about keeping her relationship with Jacob on a friendship level. Do you thinks she succeeds? If not, why does she fail?
    2. After Edward returns, do you think a part of Bella wants to keep her friendship with Jacob because she somehow feels indebted to him?
    3. If Edward hadn’t returned at the end of the novel, do you think Bella and Jacob’s friendship would’ve eventually evolved into a romantic relationship?
    4. How does Edward feel about Bella and Jacob’s relationship? Does he think they are "just friends"?
  • Time

    Does time heals all wounds? According to Edward, time heals all human wounds because human memories fade so quickly. This is why he believes that, after he leaves, Bella will be able to eventually forget him and move on with her life "as if he never existed." For Edward’s immortal kind, memories don't fade. Yet, Bella’s love for Edward is superhuman and withstands the test of time. She’s not able to forget him, but merely grows strong enough to bear her loss through Jacob’s love and support. When Bella spends time with Jacob, time flies. Left alone, she experiences time as never-ending.

    Questions About Time

    1. Edward believes that time heals all wounds for humans because human memory is like a sieve. Does it hold true for the story? Does it hold true in our world?
    2. Bella’s perception of time changes throughout the novel. In what moments does time run fast? When does it creep along for her?
    3. Bella spends a large chunk of the novel without Edward. In what ways did the time apart from him make her grow?
    4. Aro can read every thought a person’s mind has ever had. How might this gift affect his perception of time?
  • Versions of Reality

    New Moon explores different versions of reality in the form hallucinations, dreams, and visions of the future. Bella’s hallucinations reveal her subconscious desires, and her dreams probe into the past, but also foreshadow future events. Versions of reality prove subjective. They trigger a chain of tragic events when Alice misreads Bella’s future, and believes her to be dead. Because Edward believes Alice’s vision, he decides to end his life. Ironically, Alice’s visions of Edward’s future help Bella to save Edward before it’s too late.

    Questions About Versions of Reality

    1. How do Bella’s nightmares inform the story?
    2. What function do Bella’s "episodes" serve in the plot of the story?
    3. Given that most vampires in New Moon possess supernatural skills, how does their perception of reality differ from humans'?
    4. Bella seems to have little difficulty in accepting the reality of living alongside vampires and werewolves. How might her mother, father, school friends, and inhabitants of Forks react when confronted with this reality?
  • Mortality

    The meaning of mortality plays a central role in New Moon. Bella would gladly sacrifice her mortality to live with Edward as an immortal vampire, happily forever after. She can’t stand the thought of aging while Edward forever stays seventeen. Edward, on the other hand, seeks to protect Bella’s mortality, because he wants her to experience a normal human life, and then death. He believes that vampires are soulless creatures with no chance for redemption or an afterlife. Carlisle, on the other hand, hopes that vampires can redeem themselves by overcoming their evil nature in favor of a selfless, loving life, and thus head to a happy afterlife.

    Questions About Mortality

    1. Bella doesn’t understand why preserving her mortality is such a big deal for Edward. Do you believe Bella is fully aware of the consequences of trading her mortality for becoming a vampire?
    2. Edward thinks that, as a vampire, you lose your soul. Why does "having a soul" mean so much to him?
    3. If you were in Bella’s situation, would you trade your mortality to become a vampire? Why, or why not?
    4. When Bella jumps off the cliff, do you believe she just wants to jump, or that she had a subconscious death wish?
  • Lies and Deceit

    In New Moon, lies, secrets, and deceit are mainly related to protecting loved ones from harm. Edward lies to Bella about his love for her because he believes he poses a danger to her life. Jacob keeps his werewolf transformation a secret from Bella because he doesn’t want to draw her into his troubles. Bella lies to Charlie about her reckless behavior and the true pain she feels about losing Edward because she doesn’t want to worry him. Finally, the biggest secret Bella keeps from her human world is that vampires and werewolves inhabit it.

    Questions About Lies and Deceit

    1. In promising that he would disappear "as if he’d never existed," did Edward make a promise he knew he couldn’t keep?
    2. Did you believe Edward when he told Bella he didn’t want her anymore? Why does Bella believe him?
    3. Jacob accuses Bella of having double standards when it comes to vampires and werewolves. Do you agree?
    4. In some situations in the book, characters lie in order to protect their loved ones. Do you think lying to protect another person is OK?
  • The Supernatural

    In New Moon, werewolves and vampires exist in the human world, only most people don’t know about them. What’s even more surprising is that they defy Western culture's traditional perceptions of such monsters. The vampires are drop-dead gorgeous, their skin sparkles in the sun, they’re super strong and fast, and they possess unique mental skills. Stephenie Meyer’s version of werewolves also strays away from traditional notions in that anger causes certain humans to explode into werewolves. No full moon necessary. Huge, strong, and fast, werewolves can also hear each other’s thoughts, and are bent of protecting humans from vampires.

    Questions About The Supernatural

    1. Do you think Bella has a monster obsession? Given how wildly popular the Twilight series has been, do you think it’s natural for humans to be fascinated by monsters?
    2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being romantically involved with a vampire versus a werewolf? Are there any advantages that a normal human relationship offers over both of them?
    3. In the Twilight saga, the supernatural world lives right there with us. Do you believe there might be supernatural forces in this world that evade human consciousness?
    4. What creature is more supernatural in your opinion: a werewolf or a vampire?
  • Transformation

    In New Moon, characters experience two kinds of transformation: natural and supernatural. Bella undergoes a natural transformation. Broken-hearted and deserted by her true love, she turns into a lifeless zombie, only to be brought back to life by Jacob’s love and friendship. Yet, she briefly rebels against her "good-girl" nature by engaging in reckless activities, and changing into a bit of a "bad-girl." Eventually, she emerges a stronger, more mature character. Jacob undergoes a supernatural transformation into a werewolf. Meanwhile, Bella pines for a supernatural transformation into a vampire. Both natural and supernatural transformations involve great pain and a sense of losing control.

    Questions About Transformation

    1. How does Jacob change mentally and physically after he transforms into a werewolf? How are his physical and mental transformations related?
    2. Does Bella and Edward’s relationship undergo a transformation during this novel?
    3. Transforming into a vampire or a werewolf is associated with pain. What human transformations do we go through that cause us pain?
    4. In what way does Bella transform through Jacob?
    5. Why does Bella want so badly to become a vampire?
  • Family

    New Moon examines different kinds of families. Groups of vampires and groups of werewolves form adopted families, bound by supernatural transformation, lifestyle, and special skills. Bella and her parents are, like most conventional families, related by blood. Contrary to what one might expect, the supernatural families appear to share a closer emotional bond, because their special mental skills don’t allow them to keep secrets from each other. Bella, on the other hand, often lies to Charlie and Renée. But in all cases, family members feel strong loyalty and love for one another, and all respect the head of the family.

    Questions About Family

    1. The werewolf pack and the Cullen coven are clans that consist of people not related by blood, yet they seem closer in many ways than many human families, like Bella’s for instance. Why do you think that is?
    2. Due to their supernatural mental skills, both the Cullen family members and the members of the werewolf gang can’t really keep secrets from each other. What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages?
    3. If Bella had to choose between Charlie and Renée (her real family) and the Cullens (her adopted family) which would she choose?
    4. Bella doesn’t seem to mind that she’ll never be able to have children with Edward. Why? Would you mind, if you were in her situation?
  • Good vs. Evil

    At a first glance, New Moon defines werewolves as good and vampires as evil. Werewolves exist to protect humans from blood-sucking vampires. Vampires, on the other hand, are naturally disposed to kill humans. Physically, werewolves are half-human, while vampires are undead and not at all human. Yet, both creatures struggle with self-control and it’s not safe for humans to be around either of them. In New Moon, final judgment over good and evil seems to lie with personal choice. Edward chooses to be a selfless, good person, and so does Jacob.

    Questions About Good vs. Evil

    1. Should vampires feels guilty about what they are if they had no choice in becoming one?
    2. Do you think that vampires who eat animals rather than humans are "good"?
    3. What’s more evil: a vampire killing a human or a human murdering another human?
    4. Like Twilight, New Moon plays with conventional notions of good and evil. Who do you think is good and who do you think is evil in this story?
  • Strength and Skill

    Vampires and werewolves surpass humans in physical strength and in mental skills. They’re stronger, faster, and more attuned to their senses that humans. But supernatural gifts come with a price. Both Edward and Jacob struggle to control their primal, animal instincts. Bella, on the other hand, makes up for her lack of physical strength with inner strength, will power, and determination, especially as we see in New Moon. Not even the most gifted vampire can crack into the world of her mind. She also seems to have a stronger capacity for bearing emotional pain than Edward or Jacob.

    Questions About Strength and Skill

    1. Bella feels inadequate when confronted by the super powers that Jacob and Edward possess. If she found a normal boyfriend, might she feel the same way? Is it in Bella’s nature to feel inferior to other people?
    2. What strengths and skills do Edward and Jacob share, and what skills are unique to each?
    3. Vampires and werewolves have amazing powers. What qualities do you think they lack compared to humans?