Memory in the vampire world works much like it does for humans, it just extends a bit further back in time. But while human memories fade, vampire memories are stronger. Edward doesn't remember his human life well, and Alice can't remember hers at all. All the vampires have been around for much longer than their appearance suggests – they don't age once transformed into a vampire. Additionally, they are immortal. Edward, in fact, has been alive for over a hundred years, and sometimes seems to be a relic of the past. As Bella notes, Edward "sometimes spoke […] with unfamiliar cadences and phrases that better fit the style of a turn-of-the-century novel than of a twenty-first-century classroom" (7.50). Despite having been alive for over a century, Edward had lived a life of loneliness before meeting Bella.
Questions About Memory and the Past
With the passage of time, Bella will grow old and Edward will not. Is that important?
Do vampires' experiences during their human lives impact them as vampires? Can you think of any examples where this is the case?
Do you think vampires usually miss or long for their lives as humans? What are the upsides and downsides of living as a vampire?
How might Twilight be different if Bella were summarizing it all from memory? How might it change if she were telling the story ten or twenty years from now (assuming she lives that long)?
Would Alice have made different decisions if she had known about her past?
Edward's recollection of his human youth has faded. Is that a good thing?
Why would James choose Bella's childhood dance studio for their final meeting place?