Study Guide

Twilight Mortality

By Stephenie Meyer


I'd never given much though to how I would die – though I'd had reason enough in the last few months – but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this. (Preface.1)

Bella is facing her death. Interestingly, despite Edward constantly warning her that she's in danger, Bella thinks about her own mortality for the first time when she faces James.

When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it's not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end. (Preface.4)

Bella thinks that her life has been amazing and is grateful for what fate brought her. She seems to be saying that meeting and spending some time with Edward was an experience worth dying for. She wouldn't trade it for anything.

[Edward to Bella:] "Of course, then you were nearly crushed to death in front of my eyes. Later I thought of a perfectly good excuse for why I acted at that moment – because if I hadn't saved you, if your blood had been spilled there in front of me, I don't think I could have stopped myself from exposing us for what we are. But I only thought of that excuse later. At the time, all I could think was, 'Not her.'" (13.117)

Edward speaks of how he felt when Bella had one of her brushes with death. He already had an instinct to protect her at all costs.

[Edward to Bella:] "[Carlisle] wasn't absolutely sure how his own transformation had occurred, so he was hesitant. And he was loath to steal anyone's life the way his had been stolen. It was in that frame of mind that he found me. There was no hope for me; I was left in a ward with the dying. He had nursed my parents, and knew I was alone." (16.64)

Edward talks of how Carlisle had prevented Edward's death by transforming him into a vampire. He may have ceased being human, but at least he got to live. However, Carlisle doesn't seem to think that life as a vampire is better than life as a human – he would only transform someone into a vampire as a last resort.

[Edward to Bella:] "The only way to be sure is to tear him to shreds, and then burn the pieces." (19.88)

As it turns out, even vampires aren't entirely immortal. Edward explains how to kill a vampire, which is what he plans for James.

Immortality must grant endless patience. Neither Jasper nor Alice seemed to feel the need to do anything at all. For a while, Alice sketched the vague outline of the dark room from her vision, as much as she could see in the light from the TV. But when she was done, she simply sat, looking at the blank walls with her timeless eyes. Jasper, too, seemed to have no urge to pace, or peek through the curtains, or run screaming out the door, the way I did. (20.178)

Bella is impatient as they wait for the tracker. She feels as if she is waiting for death. This passage also raises an interesting question: does time pass differently for vampires since they are immortal?

[James] stepped back, and began to circle, casually, as if he were trying to get a better view of a statue in a museum. His face was still open and friendly as he decided where to start. (22.127)

Bella is speaking of James as he is circling her. Since Bella isn't much of challenge to kill, he's taking his time, smiling as he contemplates how to kill her.

Through the nausea and dizziness I saw something that gave me a sudden, final shred of hope. [James's] eyes, merely intent before, now burned with an uncontrollable need. The blood – spreading crimson across my white shirt, pooling rapidly on the floor – was driving him mad with thirst. No matter his original intentions, he couldn't draw this out much longer. (22.140)

All Bella hopes for at this point is a quick death. She doesn't think there's any possibility that she'll live.

I heard, as if from underwater, the final growl of the hunter. I could see, through the long tunnels my eyes had become, his dark shape coming toward me. With my last effort, my hand instinctively raised to protect my face. My eyes closed, and I drifted. (22.142)

Bella speaks as if these are her final words before death. Little does she know that Edward is on the way.

As I drifted, I dreamed. […]

Where I floated, under the dark water, I heard the happiest sound my mind could conjure up – as beautiful, as uplifting, as it was ghastly. It was another snarl; a deeper, wilder roar that rang with fury. […]

And then I knew I was dead. (23.1, 2, 4)

Bella is recovering from being attacked by James, but she believes she's dead. It seems that she thinks the most beautiful sound she can imagine is Edward's snarl as he comes to defend her. Why is it that Bella knows she is dead? What convinces her?

[Edward as heard by Bella:] "Carlisle!" the angel called, agony in his perfect voice. "Bella, Bella, no, oh please, no, no!" And the angel was sobbing tearless, broken sobs. (23.11)

Bella thinks she has died and that Edward is an angel.

[Bella:] "You're wrong," I insisted. "I'm going to die. […] I may not die now…but I'm going to die sometime. Every minute of the day, I get closer. And I'm going to get old." (24.223, 225)

Bella reminds Edward of a central conflict in their relationship: she will grow old and die, while he is immortal. She wants him to transform her into a vampire so they can share eternal youth.