Study Guide

Twilight Sacrifice

By Stephenie Meyer


Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something. (Preface.3)

Bella sets the tone of the novel by explaining that she is about to die. She's willing to sacrifice herself in place of someone she loves (we later find out that it's her mother). Do you generally consider Bella a selfless individual?

[Edward to Bella:] "You put on a good show," he said slowly. "But I'd be willing to bet that you're suffering more than you let anyone see." (2.195)

This is one of Edward and Bella's first conversations. Again we see that Bella has a relatively self-sacrificing nature – she heads to Forks so that her mother can spend time with her new husband. Edward understands that Bella is making a sacrifice because he senses that she's suffering.

[Edward to Bella:] "Don't you see? That's what proves me right. I care the most, because if I can do it" – and he shook his head, seeming to struggle with the thought – "if leaving is the right thing to do, then I'll hurt myself to keep from hurting you, to keep you safe." (10.177)

According to Edward, he must feel a greater sense of love for her, because he is willing to sacrifice his personal happiness for her safety.

[Edward to Bella:] "Which is exactly why I should. But don't worry. I'm essentially a selfish creature. I crave your company too much to do what I should." (13.61)

Edward likes being with Bella too much to make the "right" sacrifice, which makes him feel selfish.

[Bella to Edward:] "You already know how I feel, of course," I finally said. "I'm here…which, roughly translated, means I would rather die than stay away from you." I frowned. "I'm an idiot." (13.127)

Is Bella being selfish or selfless here? Is risking her life to be with Edward truly a sacrifice on her part?

[Bella to Edward:] "Just follow the plan, okay? Keep Charlie safe for me. He's not going to like me very much after this, and I want to have the chance to apologize later." (19.12)

Bella sets a plan in motion to sacrifice herself for the safety of her family.

[Charlie] spun around to look at me, and I could see in his face that he had no intention of letting me leave. I could think of only one way to escape, and it involved hurting him so much that I hated myself for even considering it. But I had not time, and I had to keep him safe. (19.31)

Bella is willing to sacrifice her father's trust in her in order to keep him safe.

[Edward to Bella:] "I know, Bella. Believe me, I know. It's like you've taken half my self away with you." (20.139)

Edward points out they are now connected, and how her sacrifice is also his.

[Bella to Alice:] "I can't win, Alice. You can't guard everyone I know forever. Don't you see what he's doing? He's not tracking me at all. He'll find someone, he'll hurt someone I love…Alice, I can't." (21.18)

Bella realizes she is going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her family. If not now, then sometime down the road.

I had to accept that I wouldn't see Edward again, not even one last glimpse of his face to carry with me to the mirror room. I was going to hurt him, and I couldn't say goodbye. I left the waves of torture wash over me, have their way for a time. Then I pushed them back, too, and went to face Alice. (21.80)

Bella feels that her greatest sacrifice is not giving up her life, but giving up being with Edward.

I stared at him uncomprehendingly. "But you'd be stuck inside all day in Florida. You'd only be able to come out at night, just like a real vampire." […]

[Edward:] "I would stay in Forks, Bella. Or somewhere like it," he explained. "Someplace where I couldn't hurt you anymore." (24.152, 154)

Once again, Edward is willing to sacrifice his happiness for Bella's safety.