Study Guide

Twilight Isolation

By Stephenie Meyer

Isolation

And If I couldn't find a niche in a school with three thousand people, what were my chances here? (1.61.3)

At her large school in Phoenix, Bella always felt like an outsider. If she couldn't find any friends there, how will she in tiny Forks? Why do you think it is that Bella doesn't fit in? Is she's simply born to be among vampires instead of humans?

Sometimes I wondered if I was seeing the same things through my eyes that the rest of the world was seeing through theirs. Maybe there was a glitch in my brain. (1.62)

Bella feels like she just doesn't fit in. Little does she know, her feelings of isolation make her quite similar to the Cullens.

They were all looking away – away from each other, away from the other students, away from anything in particular as far as I could tell. (1.119)

Bella notices the Cullen siblings and how isolated they are, totally separated from everyone else in Forks High.

I felt a surge of pity and relief. Pity because, as beautiful as they were, they were outsiders, clearly not accepted. Relief that I wasn't the only newcomer here, and certainly not the most interesting by any standard. (1.138)

Bella feels instant alignment with the Cullen family because of they have isolation in common.

It seemed excess for them to have both looks and money. But as far as I could tell, life worked that way most of the time. It didn't look as if it bought them any acceptance here. (2.12)

According to Bella, money does not buy acceptance, and neither does attractiveness, as evidenced by the Cullen kids. However, Bella seems to be assuming that the Cullens want to fit in. Do you think that's the case? Could they fit in if that's what they wanted?

The isolation must be their desire. I couldn't imagine any door that wouldn't be open to that degree of beauty. (2.13)

Bella notes that isolation might be a choice for the Cullens family. She also puts a great deal of emphasis on looks. Do you think that if the Cullens were open about being vampires, their good looks would still help them be accepted in the community?

In a lot of ways, living with Charlie was like having my own place, and I found myself reveling in the aloneness instead of being lonely. (3.5)

There is a difference between isolation and loneliness. Although Bella is isolated, she claims she isn't lonely. Do you believe her?

Driving to school, I distracted myself from my fear of falling and my unwanted speculations about Edward Cullen by thinking about Mike and Eric, and the obvious difference in how teenage boys responded to me here. I was sure I looked exactly the same as I had in Phoenix…Maybe it was just that the boys back home had watched me pass through all the awkward phases of adolescence and still thought of me that way. Perhaps it was because I was a novelty here, where novelties were few and far between. Possibly my crippling clumsiness was seen as endearing rather than pathetic, casting me as a damsel in distress. Whatever the reason, Mike's puppy dog behavior and Eric's apparent rivalry with him were disconcerting." I wasn't sure if I didn't prefer being ignored. (3.9)

Bella speculates on why the boys in Forks are interested in her, given that she was ignored back in Phoenix. She seems to find the attention unwelcome. Is that because she truly likes being ignored, or because she's not interested in Mike and Eric? After all, it seems that she wants to be noticed by Edward.

Edward was never surrounded by crowds of curious bystanders eager for his firsthand account. People avoided him as usual. (4.6)

Bella notes that even after the accident where Edward was the hero, everyone ignores him. Why do you think that's the case?

[Jessica to Bella:] "You Know, I've never seen Edward sit with anyone but his family before. That was weird." (6.7)

It's a novel action for Edward to sit with someone outside of his family. That's probably because none of the Cullens ever invited a human to their lunch table. Edward is now opening up to a human and ending his voluntary isolation.

[Bella to Edward:] "My mind doesn't work right? I'm a freak?" The words bothered me much more than they should – probably because his speculation hit home. I'd always suspected as much, and it embarrassed me to have it confirmed. (9.18)

Edward thinks himself strange because he can read minds, but Bella is the one who feels isolated because he can't hear her voice. Here, we have two people, who have previously felt lonely and isolated, coming together.

[Edward:] "Don't you see, Bella? It's one thing for me to make myself miserable, but a wholly other thing for you to be so involved." (9.157)

Edward considers exile before being with Bella – he would rather live a lonely life than put her at risk.

[Bella to Charlie:] "Dad, you're doing a great job." I smiled, hoping my relief didn't show. "I've never minded being alone – I'm too much like you." (12.63)

Rather than feeling isolated and lonely, Bella seems to enjoy alone time, a personality trait that she has inherited from her father.

[Edward to Bella:] "Well…." He contemplated for a moment. "It was just how close you were. Most human instinctively shy away from us, are repelled by our alienness…I wasn't expecting you to come so close… And the smell of your throat." He stopped short, looking to see if he'd upset me. (13.140)

Despite vampires being attractive in many ways, most humans separate themselves from the vampires out of instinctual fear. Yet, Bella is naturally drawn to Edward. What does that say about her?

[Edward to Bella:] His soft voice interrupted my thoughts. "[Carlisle] acted from loneliness. That's usually the reason behind the choice. I was the first in Carlisle's family, thought he found Esme soon after. She fell from a cliff. They brought her straight to the hospital morgue, though, somewhere her heart was still beating." (14.20)

Edward is speaking of Carlisle and why he changed/saved the other vampires in his family. It seems like Carlisle changed Edward out of a desire for a companion, rather than out of compassion for Edward.

[Edward to Bella:] "[Carlisle] was studying in Italy when he discovered the others there. They were much more civilized and educated than the wraiths of the London sewers." (16.58)

Edward tells Bella the story of Carlisle's and about the extreme isolation he had felt when he first became a vampire. Carlisle was surprised to find others who were sophisticated like him. However, he remained isolated because of his "vegetarian" diet. Until he created his own family, Carlisle was pretty much alone.

[Esme to Bella:] "That's why I'm so happy that he's found you, dear. […] He's been the odd man out far too long; it's hurt me to see him alone." (17.279)

Esme feels like a mom to Edward and is thrilled he now has someone to love. Even though Edward has a great family, he was somewhat isolated since all of the other Cullens were paired off.

[Alice to Bella:] "It's been almost a century that Edward's been alone. Now he's found you. You can't see the changes that we see, we who have been with him for so long. Do you think any of us want to look into his eyes for the next hundred years if he loses you?" (20.51)

Alice echoes Esme's earlier sentiment that Edward has led a lonely life. Now, the Cullens are willing to fight James in order to ensure Edward's happiness.

[Bella to James:] "I'm alone." I'd never been more alone in my entire life. (22.73)

Bella is speaking literally – no one has come with her to the ballet studio – but also figuratively – she feels isolated from everyone who cares for her, since they don't know where she's gone.