Study Guide

Twilight Memory and the Past

By Stephenie Meyer

Memory and the Past

[Bella to Edward:] "And how long have you been seventeen?" (9.90)

Bella has figured out that Edward is not what he appears and is not "when" he appears. He's been seventeen for a long time.

[Edward to Bella:] "The Quileutes have a long memory," he whispered. (9.113)

Billy Black, who may have descended from werewolves, remembers the conflict between the werewolves and the vampires (a long time ago), as well as a treaty formed between the Quileutes and the Cullens. Though no one else in the Forks community seems to remember that the Cullens settled there before, the Quileutes do.

It was foggy and dark outside my window, absolutely perfect. He had no reason not to be in school today. I dressed in heavy clothes, remembering I didn't have a jacket. Further proof my memory was real. (10.2)

Bella has been questioning whether her experience with Edward the night before was actually real. She uses her lack of a jacket as proof that the day before did indeed happen as she remembered it.

[Edward to Bella:] "Music in the fifties was good. Much better than the sixties, or the seventies, ugh!" he shuddered. "The eighties were bearable." (14.4)

Despite appearing to be seventeen, Edward has lived through several generations of music.

[Edward to Bella:] "I was born in Chicago in 1901." He paused and glanced at me from the corner of his eyes. My face was carefully surprised, patient for the rest. He smiled a tiny smile and continued. "Carlisle found me in a hospital in the summer of 1918. I was seventeen, and dying of the Spanish influenza." (14.11)

Edward is significantly older than Bella. In fact, he's significantly older than her dad. Do you think their age difference impacts their relationship at all? Do you consider Edward's character convincing as a 100+-year-old man?

[Edward to Bella:] "I don't remember it well – it was a very long time ago, and human memories fade." He was lost in his thoughts for a short time before he went on. "I do remember how it felt, when Carlisle saved me. It's not an easy thing, not something you could forget." (14.13)

Vampires usually don't remember their human pasts. Do you think that their lives as humans affect them in any way?

[Edward to Bella:] "We don't really know. Carlisle has a theory…he believes that we all bring something of our strongest human traits with us into the next life, where they are intensified – like our minds, and our senses. He thinks that I must have already been very sensitive to the thoughts of those around me. And that Alice had some precognition, wherever she was." (14.250)

Vampires bring skills from their human pasts when they transform, and those skills become amplified to a vampire-level of strength.

Though, now that I'd chased the memories down, I did the vague impression of leaving the car – the sun was just falling behind the horizon – my arm draped over Alice's shoulder and her arm firm around my waist, dragging me along as I stumbled through the warm, dry shadows. (20.14)

Bella is exhausted and traumatized, so her memory isn't as good as usual.

[Alice to Bella:] "I don't know. For everyone else, the pain of transformation is the sharpest memory they have of their human life. I remember nothing of being human." (20.90)

Alice has no memory of her life as a human – she doesn't even remember her transformation. We later learn that Alice was locked up in a dark asylum as a human, which is why she doesn't remember anything from that time period.

[Alice to Bella:] "I'll tell you the mechanics of it," she said finally, "but I don't remember it myself, and I've never done it or seen it done, so keep in mind that I can only tell you the theory." (20.79.1)

Alice can tell Bella the theory behind transformation, but can't give a personal account of the process at all. In a way, this puts Bella and Alice on the same level of knowledge about the transformation experience.

From the corner of my eye, I could almost see my mother standing in the shade of the big eucalyptus tree where I'd played as a child. Or kneeling by the little plot of dirt around the mailbox, the cemetery of all the flowers she'd tried to grow. The memories were better than any reality I would see today. But I raced away from them, toward the corner, leaving everything behind me. (22.80)

As Bella goes to her certain death, she has flashes of memory from her childhood.

[James to Bella:] "I would just like to rub it in, just a little bit. The answer was there all along, and I was so afraid Edward would see that and ruin my fun. It happened once, oh, ages ago. The one and only time my prey escaped me." (22.119)

James tells a story of the one human that eluded him. Clearly he is not happy about his slightly-imperfect record.

"And she did smell so delicious. I still regret that I never got to taste. She smelled even better than you do. Sorry – I don't mean to be offensive. You have a very nice smell. Floral, somehow…" (22.123) James to Bella

James continues to obsess over the one human that got away from him. He can't seem to forget it.

[Bella:] A flash of painful images from the last time I'd seen Alice reminded me of something. "Did Alice see the tape?" I asked anxiously.

[Edward:] "Yes." A new sound darkened his voice, a tone of sheer hatred.

"She was always in the dark, that's why didn't remember. (24.45-47)

Though Alice doesn't remember her past, she now knows about her life as a human.