Study Guide

Twilight Family

By Stephenie Meyer


It was impossible, being in this house, not to realize that Charlie had never gotten over my mom. (1.70)

The marriage might be over, but Charlie is still in love Renée. Here it's interesting to note that the only human marriage we see – that of Charlie and Renée – ended in divorce, while the vampire marriages seem quite strong, and have been for decades.

And then there was [Edward's] family, looking on from the distance, with expressions that ranged from disapproval to fury but held no hint of concern for their brother's safety. (3.51.1)

After Edward saves Bella from Tyler's van, Bella is surprised that his family does not show concern. What she doesn't know is that they're immortal (a van isn't going to hurt Edward). Although they might be a little concerned that Edward has given away their secret.

[Edward to Bella:] "That's not it," he disagreed, but his eyes were too innocent. "They don't understand why I can't leave you alone." (12.108)

Edward explains that his family doesn't understand his love for Bella. It's important to note that Edward's involvement with Bella isn't just about him. If Bella gives the Cullens' secret away, or if their relationship "ends badly," it hurts all of the Cullens, not just Edward.

[Edward to Bella:] "To me, it was like you were some kind of demon, summoned straight from my own personal hell to ruin me. The fragrance coming off your skin...I thought it would make me deranged that first day. In that one hour, I thought of a hundred different ways to lure you from the room with me, to get you alone. And I fought them each back, thinking of my family, what I could do to them…" (13.103)

Edward talks of the danger he put his family in, as well as the guilt he currently feels for putting them at risk. Again, we realize that Edward's decisions aren't only about him, they impact the whole Cullen family.

[Edward to Bella:] "Alice and Jasper are two very rare creatures. They both developed a conscience, as we refer to it, with no outside guidance. Jasper belonged to another…family, a very different kind of family." (14.28)

Not all vampire families are like the Cullens. Notice how Edward pauses before saying "family." It's as if "family" isn't quite the right word for most vampire groups. This distinguishes the Cullens who truly do seem to love each other as a family.

[Edward to Bella:] "No, not many. But most won't settle in any once place. Only those like us, who've given up hunting you people" – a sly glance in my direction – "can live together with humans for any length of time. We've only found one other family like ours, in a small village in Alaska. We lived together for a time, but there were so many of us that we became too noticeable. Those of us who live…differently tend to band together." (14.35)

Edward's family is indeed rare. Not only do they not eat people, but also they can have a semi-permanent home, since they aren't, you know, killing their neighbors. This comment also implies that vampire families are, in part, bound together by their diets and morals, rather than by being biologically related.

[Edward to Bella:] "You miss your mother," he whispered. "You worry about her. And when it rains, the sounds make you restless. You used to talk about home a lot, but it's less often now. Once you said, "It's too green.'" (14.78)

At this point, Phoenix feels like home. Bella still considers Forks to be her dad's town.

[Charlie to Bella:] "Well, you're too good for them all, anyway. Wait till you get to college to start looking." Every father's dream, that his daughter will be out of the house before the hormones kick in. (14.116)

Sometimes, Charlie and Bella act like a normal father/daughter pair. Here, Charlie is being a protective dad.

[Bella to Edward:] "You said that Rosalie and Emmett will get married soon...Is that…marriage...the same as it is for humans?" (14.265)

Bella asks what marriage is like for vampires. Without saying it explicitly, she's trying to find out what the future might have in store for her.

[Edward to Bella:] "Oh, they already know everything. They'd taken bets yesterday, you know" – he smiled, but his voice was harsh – "on whether I'd bring you back, though why anyone would bet against Alice, I can't imagine. At any rate, we don't have secrets in the family. It's not really feasible, what with my mind reading and Alice seeing the future and all that." (15.57)

Besides being vampires, some of Edward's family members have special skills. As a result of he and Alice's "talents," no one can keep secrets. It's probably a frustrating experience at times, but it likely makes them closer. This stands in stark contrast to Bella's family, since she keeps plenty of secrets from Charlie and Renée.

[Bella to Edward:] "I don't know," I admitted. My dating history gave me few references points to work with. Not that any normal rules of dating applied here. "That's not necessary, you know. I don't expect you to…I mean, you don't have to pretend for me." (15.71)

Edward thinks that Bella should introduce him to her dad, but Bella doesn't want to deal with that potentially awkward scene. This highlights a difference between the Cullen and Swan families. Edward quickly introduces Bella to his family, and he has obviously been talking to them about Bella for a while. Bella, on the other hand, is hesitant to let Edward meet Charlie, and she hasn't even hinted to Charlie that she has a boyfriend.

[Bella:] "Is that what you are?" I suppressed my internal cringing at the thought of Edward and Charlie and the word boyfriend all in the same room at the same time.

[Edward:] "It's a loose interpretation of the word 'boy,' I'll admit." (15.75-76)

What do you think is more awkward: being a vampire and introducing your family to your human girl/boyfriend, or being a human bringing home your vampire girl/boyfriend? They're an odd couple, but Edward's point is that sometimes you have to introduce your boyfriend to your dad.

It was hard to decide what to wear. I doubted there were any etiquette books detailing how to dress when your vampire sweetheart takes you home to meet his vampire family. (15.88)

Bella tries to figure out what to wear to meet Edward's family. She wants them to approve of her (but not in the tasty morsel way).

[Edward to Bella:] "[Carlisle and Esme] are happy to see me happy. Actually, Esme wouldn't care if you had a third eye and webbed feet." (15.190)

Edward's family supports him and just wants him to be happy – Esme, the mother figure, is thrilled he finally has a girlfriend, and doesn't mind that Bella is of a different species.

[Edward to Bella:] "After you get rid of them" – he threw a dark glance in the Blacks' direction – "you still have to prepare Charlie to meet your new boyfriend." (17.17.2)

Edward wants to be introduced to Bella's dad, and he's insistent about it. He has already introduced Bella to his family, and he wants Bella to do the same for him. Why do you think this is? Does it makes their relationship seem more official? Or is it some other reason?

[Charlie:] "He's too old for you," he ranted. (17.114)

Dads can sometimes disagree with their daughters on whom they should date. Little does Charlie know 1) how "too old" for Bella Edward really is, and 2) the other things about Edward that he should be concerned about.

[Bella to Charlie:] "I'm going home," I shouted, my voice breaking in the perfect spot. (19.20)

Bella lies to her dad in order to save his life. She realizes that Forks is now more of a home to her than Phoenix, but she's determined to leave if it means protecting Charlie.

[Bella to Charlie:] "I do like him – that's the problem. I can't do this anymore! I can't put down any more roots here! I don't want to end up trapped in this stupid, boring town like Mom! I'm not going to make the same mistake she did. I hate it – I can't stay here another minute!" (19.33)

Bella is lying to her father when she says that Forks cannot be her home. She uses the same cruel words her mother had used when she left... that's a low blow. However, Bella is willing to hurt Charlie because she believes that it will save him from James. Charlie's safety is the most important thing to her right now.

And suddenly it hit me. My mother was safe. She was still in Florida. (22.94)

Bella is relieved that her mother is fine and not actually at risk from James, regardless of where that leaves Bella. The most important thing to Bella is that her mom is safe.

[James to Bella:] "How odd. You really mean it." His dark eyes assessed me with interest. The irises were nearly black, just a hint of ruby around the edges. Thirsty. "I will give your strange coven this much, you humans can be quite interesting. I guess I can see the draw of observing you. It's amazing – some of you seem to have no sense of your own self-interest at all." (22.99)

James is amazed that Bella puts her family ahead of herself. Does this mean that most vampire families don't act the same way? Are they not as self-sacrificing?

[Bella:] "Wait, Mom!" I interrupted. Edward still had his eyes closed, but he looked too tense to pass as asleep. "What are you talking about? I'm not going to Florida. I live in Forks." […]

[Bella:] "Mom." I hesitated, wondering how best to be diplomatic about this. "I want to live in Forks. I'm already settled in at school, and I have a couple of girlfriends" – she glanced toward Edward again when I remaindered her of friends, so I tried another direction – "and Charlie needs me. He's just all alone up there, and he can't cook at all." (24.104, 106)

Instead of wanting to live with her mother, Bella now prefers to live in Forks. This probably has more to do with Edward than it does with Charlie. Is Bella placing her romantic relationship above her family?

[Renée:] "I think that boy is in love with you," she accused, keeping her voice low.

[Bella:] "I think so, too," I confided.

[Renée:] "And how do you feel about him?" She only poorly concealed the raging curiosity in her voice.

I sighed, looked away. As much as I loved my mom, this was not a conversation I wanted to have with her. "I'm pretty crazy about him." There – that sounded like something a teenager with her first boyfriend might say. (24.118-121)

Though Edward is open with his family about the seriousness of his relationship with Bella, she is not so open with her family. Why is that? Does Bella think she's protecting her family by keeping her relationship a secret? Or protecting the Cullens? Or does she simply feel uncomfortable revealing so much about her private life?

[Edward to Bella:] He looked down while he answered. "I'm surprised. I thought Florida…and your mother…well, I thought that's what you would want." (24.152)

Edward is pleasantly surprised that Bella calls Forks her home. More and more, Edward rather than Renée seems to signify Bella's home.

[Bella to Edward:] "Look, that's not an issue either," I finally muttered; my voice was unconvincing as always when I lied. "Renée has always made the choices that work for her – she'd want me to do the same. And Charlie's resilient, he's used to being on his own. I can't take care of them forever. I have my own life to live." (24.217)

Bella is attempting to convince Edward to turn her into a vampire. She seems to be placing her relationship with Edward above her family. Has she thought this decision through? Can she continue to be a part of her family if she becomes a vampire? Or is she willing to give up her family entirely and join the Cullens?

[Bella:] "Do you want me to bolt the doors so you can massacre the unsuspecting townsfolk?" I whispered conspiratorially.

[Edward:] "And where do you fit into that scheme?" He glared.

[Bella:] "Oh, I'm with the vampires, of course." (Epilogue.35-37)

Bella is coming to feel that she fits in with the vampires. Do you think that she feels more of a sense of family with them than with Charlie or Renée? Can she continue to live in both worlds?