Study Guide

Twilight Language and Communication

By Stephenie Meyer

Language and Communication

[Bella:] "Charlie wasn't comfortable with expression his emotions out loud. I inherited that from him." (1.45)

Bella is uncomfortable expressing herself. This may be why she is distant with others at school and does not seem confident. However, she is almost immediately comfortable with Edward, and recognizes that about their dynamic. He gets her to reveal more about herself than she has to anyone else.

I didn't look up as I set my book on the table and took my seat, but I saw [Edward's] posture change from the corner of my eye. He was leaning away from me, sitting on the extreme edge of his chair and averting his face like he smelled something bad, inconspicuously. (1.149)

Edward is communicating nonverbally that he doesn't like Bella. Later, Bella learns he was tempted by her scent and was trying to keep his distance. As their relationship develops, Edward and Bella continue to read each other's body language.

It was amazing how instantaneously the choking fear vanished, amazing how suddenly the feeling of security washed over me – even before I was off the street – as soon as I heard his voice. (8.58)

Bella has just been through a terrifying experience where four scary men threatened her. The minute Edward speaks, she calms down.

[Edward to Bella:] "This is more complicated than I'd planned," [Edward] murmured to himself. (8.161)

This is one of the first times that Edward attempts to tell Bella know why he has been distant and moody. Bella and Edward's increasingly open communication allows their relationship to develop.

[Bella:] "Okay, then." I glared at him, and continue slowly. "Let's say, hypothetically of course, that…someone…could know what people are thinking, read minds, you know – with a few exceptions."

[Edward:] "Just one exception," he corrected, "hypothetically." (8.189, 190)

Edward is used to communication being easy, as he can read minds. Bella's mind, however, is unavailable to him. As a result, he has to develop his communication skills with Bella, ask her questions, and try to find out what she's thinking and feeling.

[Edward to Bella:] "Like your thoughts are on the AM frequency and I'm only getting FM." (9.17)

Edward explains how he reads minds and why he can't read Bella's.

[Edward to Bella:] "No, that's the problem. You take everything so coolly – it's unnatural. It makes me wonder what you're really thinking." (10.16)

Edward is frustrated because he can't read Bella's mind. It is a new experience for him to have to ask someone what's on her mind. To make it worse, Edward has a hard time reading Bella's emotions as well.

[Edward to Bella:] "And as for [Jessica's] other question…well, I'll be listening to hear the answer to that one myself." (10.51)

This is one way to find out what someone thinks of you. Jessica is about to give Bella the third degree. Edward warns Bella that he is going to listen to Jessica's thoughts in order to find out what Bella thinks of him. Does this seem fair to you, or is Edward invading Bella's privacy?

[Edward to Bella:] "You did," he agreed, but his voice was still rough. "You aren't precisely right, though. I do want to know what you're thinking – everything. I just wish...that you wouldn't be thinking some things." (10.148)

Edward claims that he wants to know what Bella's thinking. However, when he finds out what's going on in her mind, he sometimes gets angry.

[Bella to Edward:] "Well, aside from the obvious…" I hesitated. "I can't be sure – I don't know how to read minds – but sometimes it seems like you're trying to say goodbye when you're saying something else." That was the best I could sum up the sensation of anguish that his words triggered in me at times. (10.169)

Bella can't do any fancy vampire mind-reading, but she seems to read Edward well here. He's conflicted. He keeps trying to say goodbye, but can't bear to actually make himself walk away.

[Edward to Bella:] "And you still want to know why you can't see me hunt?" He seemed solemn, but I thought I saw a trace of humor deep in his eyes. (11.65)

Edward and Bella learn to read each other's expressions and emotions. Since their relationship is naturally intense, they sometimes communicate with humor – it can make scary questions less scary.

[Edward to Bella:] "Tell me what you're thinking," he whispered. I looked to see his eyes watching me, suddenly intent. "It's still so strange for me, not knowing." (13.15)

It is weird for Edward to have to ask Bella what's on her mind. He wishes he just could read her thoughts. Welcome to human world, Eddie. The fact that Edward can't read Bella's mind helps to make their relationship a bit more equal.

[Edward to Bella:] "It was unquestionably a complication that I couldn't simply read your thoughts to know what your reaction was to me. I wasn't used to having to go to such circuitous measures, listening to your words in Jessica's mind – her mind isn't very original, and it was annoying to have to stoop to that. And then I couldn't know if you really meant…what you said. It was all extremely irritating." He frowned at the memory. (13.115)

Edward expresses his frustrations of decoding the "he said/she said" through Jessica's brain.

[Edward to Bella:] "I wish, " he whispered, " I wish you could feel the…complexity….the confusion...I feel. That you could understand." (13.168)

Edward wishes Bella could read his mind. He is confused, yet obsessed. He wants to stay away, but cannot. She does not seem to understand the danger of their relationship, and he wishes she could. Because they are of different species, they can't completely understand one another.

[Edward to Bella:] "Bella." Edward's voice was very soft. Alice and Emmett looked out their windows. "If you let anything happen to yourself – anything at all – I'm holding you personally responsible. Do you understand that?" (18.162)

Edward is concerned and afraid. All the same, is he being fair here? It's not really her fault that James is tracking her, is it?

[Jasper to Bella:] "I can feel what you're feeling now – and you are worth it." (19.159)

Though Jasper can't read minds, he does have another skill that aids communication – he can feel others' emotions. Here, though he doesn't know Bella's exact thoughts, he can sense what she's feeling.

The gray light, streaking across the cloudless sky, stung my eyes. But I couldn't close them; when I did, the images that flashed all too vividly, like still slides behind my lids, were unbearable. Charlie's broken expression – Edward's brutal snarl, teeth bared – Rosalie's resentful glare – the keen-eyed scrutiny of the tracker – the dead look in Edward's eyes after he kissed me the last time…I couldn't stand to see them. So I fought against my weariness and the sun rose higher. (20.6)

While racing to Phoenix, Bella thinks about all the non-verbal cues she has received in the recent past. A lot can be communicated without speaking.

[Bella to Edward:] "You are my life. You're the only thing it would hurt me to lose." I was getting better at this. It was easy to admit how much I needed him. (24.204)

This passage reveals a change in Bella. At the beginning of the novel, she had a hard time communicating her emotions and making herself vulnerable, but now she can communicate her deeper feelings to the people around her.

[Bella to Edward:] "At what point exactly are you going to tell me what's going on?" I asked grumpily. I really hated surprises. And he knew that. (Epilogue.3)

Bella wants to know what is happening. She doesn't like being in the dark. She sounds a bit like Edward often does when he demands to know what she's thinking.