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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.