Twilight Analysis

  • Stephenie Meyer's prose leaves something to be desired. Nevertheless, the Twilight Saga has enthralled readers worldwide and become a literary phenomenon. Twilight, the first book in the series, introduces heroine Bella Swan and her vampire boyfriend Edward Cullen. Their forbidden love drives the novel's plot, which culminates with Bella asking Edward to turn her into a vampire so they can be together forever.
  • Twilight has two primary settings: sunny Phoenix, Arizona and cloudy Forks, Washington, two cities that could not be more different. Small town Forks is cold and rainy, and Bella's friends must go to nearby Port Angeles to find dresses for a dance. Meyer contrasts the two settings, emphasizing the difficulty Bella has adjusting to her new surroundings.
  • Many readers have criticized Bella Swan for being a weak, naive role model for the young women who compose the Twilight Saga's fan base. Bella is drawn to Edward, experiencing a kind of animal magnetism that is difficult to resist, and she's frequently in danger, acting as a damsel in distress to Edward's hero. Twilight's female characters are largely powerless and underdeveloped.


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,...

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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.

--. 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.