Twilight Analysis

  • Twilight has two primary settings: sunny Phoenix, Arizona and rainy Forks, Washington. Meyer contrasts the two settings, emphasizing the difficulty Bella has adjusting to her new surroundings. Conversely, the perpetual overcast of Forks is the perfect disguise for the Cullens, who are unable to go out in direct sunlight without giving away their supernatural nature.
  • The disparities between the human world and the vampire world are encapsulated by Bella and Edward's respective bedrooms. Whereas Bella's room is personalized and lived in, Edward's is cold and sparsely furnished, highlighting his—in many ways self-imposed—alienation from humanity.


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There are two regional settings in Twilight, and a number of domestic or institutional settings within each of those regions. The first region, and the major setting for the novel, is Forks, Washington and the surrounding area. Meyer evokes the perpetual rain of the Olympic Peninsula, using the mist, fog, and wet for several purposes. The first purpose for the reader is to drive home how different Forks is from Phoenix, which had been Bella's home. The second purpose is closely linked: it creates a sense of alienation and weirdness in itself, with the perpetual rain and the almost alien amounts of greenery. The third purpose relates to the novel's supernatural elements: the perpetually overcast skies make it easier for the vampires to hide their true nature. The proximity to truly raw nature enables them to hunt the wild animals they need to keep their thirst for human blood under control, and so maintain connection with their human selves. The fourth purpose is to incorporate the greater understanding of the Northwest Indian tribes beliefs in supernatural beings.

In the Forks area, there are several key settings. One is the high school. The physical layout of the school is sketched out in the first chapter. After that, the layout is taken largely for granted. What matters is the timeless feeling of a high school in a small town, and Meyer captures the gossip, the intrigue, and the shifting social framework well. The town itself is a related setting. Little attention is given to things like what buildings look like, but a lot of attention is given to the town's small scale and how well everyone knows one another. The wilderness gets a lot more specific attention. The actual wildness of the woods is important. It is essential that the vampires can hunt bear without drawing attention to themselves, that they can escape the eternal temptation of being around humans, and that they can have open spaces to play their vampire baseball, indulging their strength and speed without fear of being seen.

The domestic settings are also important in Twilight. To be specific, the rundown but homey apartment Bella lives in with her father is an anchor to the human world. For the contemporary world, it is essentially perfectly normal: single parent, continual online contact with those far away, cars for everyone in the house, shifting meal times and responsibilities, etc. Meyer contrasts it with the vampire home, which is stylish and open, but not familiar. As Charlie's father marks his space with mementos, so too do the vampires fill their space with accounts of their transformation and with their special items. Edward's room is designed for perfect acoustics and is full of the music that he loves, but lacks a bed or any other human weakness. By contrast, Bella's bedroom is the most lived in part of her home, and where Edward visits her to watch her sleep.

Bella comes from Phoenix, and returns there when trying to evade James' vampiric predation late in the novel. However, except for mentioning specific roads and the brownness of the soil, Phoenix is barely there. It could be any place, and exists mainly as a place that is not Forks. Its low symbolic charge is shown by the fact that Bella's mother moves from there at the end of the novel. Like the dance studio that burns to the ground, that part of Bella's life is essentially over.


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Blasingame, James. "Interview with Stephenie Meyer." Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 49.7 (April 2006): 630(3).  This interview gives useful insights into how Meyer writes.


(This entire section contains 193 words.)

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--.Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Apr 2006, Vol. 49 Issue 7, p628-633. This review provides a lengthy summary, then explains some of the novel's qualities.

Card, Orson Scott. Stephenie Meyer. Time,   5/12/2008, Vol. 171, Issue 19 In this brief article, Card points out some of the reasons for Meyer's appeal.

Grossman, Lev.  The Next J.K. Rowling? (Arts: Books - Big Picture - Downtime; Books)(Stephenie Meyer's 'Twilight')(Book review). Time. (May 5, 2008): p.49.  This article blends a discussion of Meyer's life with a critical overview of her work.

Sperling, Nicole. 'Twilight' Hits Hollywood. Entertainment Weekly  (July 18, 2008): p.28. This article discusses adaptation of Twilight into a movie.

Martin, Hillias J., Jones, Trevelyn E., Toth, Luann, Charnizon, Marlene, Grabarek, Daryl, Raben, Dale, Twilight. School Library Journal, Oct2005, Vol. 51, Issue 10.  A summary of the novel, followed by a good analysis of its appeal.

Twilight. Publishers Weekly, 7/18/2005, Vol. 252, Issue 28.A strong brief review blending summary and evaluation.

Valby, Karen and Ward, Kate Ward. Entertainment Weekly (July 18, 2008): p.22. This article provides an overview of Meyer and Twilight's publication history. 


Critical Essays