TheBestNotes Study Guide by Ray Mescallado

Edward Cullen is as complex a figure in as Bella, but this is due to his history more than his development over the course of the novel. His growth comes from the same root as Bella's: their mutual love, as unlikely as it is. By falling in love with a human - further, a human who appeals greatly to his predatory vampire instincts - he must regain touch with his humanity. If he hews too close to his vampire being, he would kill Bella by feasting on her blood - as he says time and again, it takes great effort to resist such urges. However, it is worth that his upbringing is rooted in a non-traditional vampire family which has already sworn off preying on humans. Therefore, his ability to love Bella is as much a result of good upbringing as it is from personal, individual emotion. In some ways, this romance is a tribute to the Cullen family as much as to Edward's force of will.

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At first Edward is aloof, sometimes it almost seems like he can’t stand to be in the same room as her, but eventually they strike up an unlikely friendship. Even as Bella falls hopelessly and irrevocably in love with Edward, she still can’t work out exactly what makes him so different to everyone else.

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Bella is a strongly emotional character, as seen by the tears she cannot control. However, she also has a strong intellectual side - she enjoys literature and also takes on great determination when she reaches a specific decision in her life. This determination, this force of will, is evident in both the Prologue and in the beginning of the first chapter. Thus, when Bella is determined to stay with Edward even if he is a vampire, it is in keeping with her character; her love for him is never in doubt, nor the path she chooses as a result of this love. The dangers do manifest itself, though, and the traumatic encounters with James make her more aware of the way her father was hurt by her mother - mostly because she recreates the hurtful situation; it also crystallizes her love for her mother, as she is willing to sacrifice her life to save Renee. She also comes to a rather unique - if to her, logical - conclusion as a result of this adventure: that she not only loves Edward, but want to be like him by changing into a vampire. Thus, the Epilogue of the novel not only marks how much she has matured from the beginning - she has a boyfriend, she is comfortable in Forks, she is friends with both the humans and vampires of her school - but also gestures to a further issue, a further development in her character, that will continue in further volumes.

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Twilight is also available in audio CD format too. Narrated by Ilyana Kadushin the novel is completely unabridged and is nearly 13 hours long (that’s 11 compact discs.)

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As this is the first volume in a planned supernatural romance series, the remaining major characters in the novel don't develop a great deal so much as reveal themselves over the course of the story. That is, the focus on character development is the main characters in the love triangle, and many of the other major characters do not so much develop due to the events in the story but react to the developments that go on in that triangle.

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For Edward, like Bella, finding true love is a rite of passage, though one that takes on a melodramatic dimension as he had not previously fallen in love for his near-century life as a vampire. But it is also an act of redemption: he re-discovers his humanity as a result of falling in love with Bella, and thus makes choices that are designed to preserve not only Bella's life but also the quality of Bella's life. Thus, he is in constant internal conflict over whether or not he should continue to be Bella, lest she always be in danger.

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For a Young Adult novel the book is quite long but don’t let that put you off reading it because each page is to be savoured. Believe me, this is one book that you won’t want to end.

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Audio is obviously a convenient format, you can listen to a novel just about anywhere and anytime. Twilight was the first novel that I ever listened to in audio format and it was a strangely enjoyable experience. The story is unabridged so the listener doesn’t miss a single word, although this does make for a long listening experience!