Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 1101
Stephenie Meyer’s 2007 novel Eclipse begins in Forks, Washington, the same setting as the previous two Twilight series books. Eclipse is the third book of the four-book collection. In this novel, Bella Swan, the female protagonist of this saga, is within weeks of graduating from high school. Her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen, has returned to Forks after having run away from Bella for fear that his relationship with her was endangering her life. Jacob Black, the third main character of this story, is angry at Bella for forgiving Edward and welcoming him back into her heart. Jacob (also called Jake) is in love with Bella, too. Jake is a werewolf.
Charlie, Bella’s father, is the chief of police in Forks. As Bella and Edward fill out college applications at the kitchen table, Charlie points out the headlines of the morning news. There has been a rash of murders in Seattle, a nearby city. This news will become critical later in the story.
Edward reminds Bella that she has yet to use the airline tickets that were a birthday present from Edward’s family. He suggests that she use them soon. Edward even talks Charlie into coercing Bella to go. There are two tickets, Edward tells Charlie. So Edward would go with her.Charlie does not like this suggestion, as he disapproves of the developing relationship between Edward and Bella. Charlie would prefer that Bella work harder on her connection with Jacob Black, the son of Charlie’s friend, Billy Black. Both Billy and Jacob are members of the Quileute tribe and live on reservation land along the western shore of Washington, not far from Forks. Charlie eventually gives in and allows Bella to go after she reminds him that legally she is an adult since she is eighteen. The motive behind Edward wanting to get Bella out of town is that he senses that Victoria is lurking around Forks.
Victoria is a female vampire whom readers met in the first book of this series. Victoria was connected to James, a vampire who attacked Bella.James was killed in a battle with Edward. Victoria is seeking revenge and has vowed to kill Bella. When Victoria is seen near the boundaries between the land around Forks and the Quileute reservation, the werewolves, who are all members of the tribe, and the Cullen family vampires nearly have a fight. No vampires are allowed on the reservation. It is the duty of the werewolves to make sure this pact is kept. But as the vampires searched for Victoria, they almost crossed the border onto the reservation land. This sets off a confrontation between Jake and Edward. Of course, the underlying resentment between them has more to do with their mutual love of Bella and the young men’s consequential jealousies than it has to do with catching the vampire Victoria.
To help quell the rivalry and bitter feelings between Jake and Edward, Bella tries to explain to Edward that she has a strong connection to Jake and wants to maintain her friendship with him. It was Jake who stood by her when Edward ran away from her. If it were not for Jake, Bella believes she would not have made it. She does not want to give up Jake for Edward’s sake. She asks Edward to calm his emotions and to accept Jake. On the other hand, Jake is hurt that Bella has chosen Edward over him. Jake sees Edward as the man who broke Bella’s heart. Jake believes Edward abandoned Bella. But Bella explains that Edward went away because he thought he had to in order to save her life. Other vampires, ones who drink human blood were being drawn to Bella because of her association with the Cullen vampires, who have learned to exist only on animal blood. After James attacked Bella and one of Edward’s adopted brothers almost did the same, Edward vowed never to see Bella again.
Though Bella explains this, Jake still cannot completely accept Edward.Jake is in love with Bella and would do anything to win her love. Jake even promises to keep watch over Bella by being on the lookout for Victoria, whom the Cullen vampires believe is stalking Bella. The tension surrounding Victoria is heightened when Bella discovers that someone has secretly entered her home and stolen clothing from her bedroom.When Edward inspects her room, he finds a scent that can be nothing less than another vampire. It is not Victoria’s scent that he finds, so there is much speculation about whose scent it might be. Edward thinks it might be one of the Volturi vampires.
The Volturi are the royal family of vampires. They live in Italy, but they rule the world of vampires. If anyone breaks a vampire code, the Volturi seek them out and kill them. The Cullens broke a code when they disclosed to Bella that they were vampires. No human is supposed to know of the vampires’ existence. The Volturi tempered their punishment, however, and promised to forgive Edward if Carlisle Cullen (Edward’s adopted father) transformed Bella into a vampire. This event is scheduled to take place in two weeks. But the Cullens thought maybe the Volturi had come to Forks to make sure that Bella was no longer human.
However, Bella intuits that it is not the Volturi who are behind the killings in Seattle and the stealing of her clothes. She thinks it is Victoria and her troop of new-born vampires that Victoria is breeding in Seattle. Once the Cullens also come to this conclusion, they become concerned that they will not be able to fight off Victoria’s coven of young vampires, so Bella appeals to Jake for help. Jake agrees and gains the confidence of the other werewolves to join in. Alice, who is Edward’s adopted sister and can see into the future, knows when Victoria is planning her attack. So the Cullens and the werewolves prepare for battle.
Jake and Edward take Bella to the mountains to protect her while the battle ensues. However, Victoria discovers where they are. The Cullens and the werewolves are ultimately successful in ridding the area of Victoria and the young and very wild vampires.
After the battle is won, Jake overhears Bella and Edward discussing their recent promise to marry one another. Jake is once again hurt. His pain is so deep that he feels he cannot stay in the Forks area. So he transforms into his wolf shape and runs away while the Cullens plan for Edward and Bella’s wedding.
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