Twilight Themes

The three main themes in Twilight are alienation, desire, and community.

  • Alienation: Bella is an alienated teenage girl who does not feel she fits in anywhere, while Edward and the Cullens are even more alienated by their status as vampires.
  • Desire: Edward and Bella share an intense romantic desire for one another, while Bella’s father is still in love with her mother.
  • Community: There are several communities within and around Forks, including Bella’s and Edward’s families, the larger vampire community,  and the Quileute community.


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Before she even meets her first vampire, and long before she falls in love with Edward, Bella is the quintessential alienated teenage girl. Her parents divorced when she was young, and she splits her time between two very different locations: small town/big city, green and wet/brown and dry, etc. Bella does not really fit in anywhere. Since her mother has gotten involved with a younger man, one who is a professional baseball player and therefore always on the road, knocking around the minor leagues and trying to make it, there is no place for her in her mother's home. Even before she even has to enter the tight knit community of Forks, Bella is out of place. She even thinks of Forks as "an alien place."

Bella's alienation is nothing compared to that Edward and the Cullens. Now that they are vampires, they have lost their entire previous world. The times in which they originally lived drift away from them as they live far longer than humanity. Their memories dim, and Edward fears he has no soul. They are all stronger, faster, and more durable than humans, as well as being beautiful. Each of them started as human, but each has been transformed. Each is now a predator who must live each day surrounded by prey, trying not to kill and eat those around them.


Common and uncommon desires abound in Twilight. Both can be heartwarming; both can be tragic. The tragic can be seen in the love Bella's father still carries for her mother. Even though they've been divorced for more than ten years, he has never really gotten over her. Blending comedy and tragedy are the fast-paced crushes that define Forks High School. Before Bella knows her way around the school several boys want to date her and many girls resent her for getting in their way. In private Bella and Edward play out a much more dangerous and intense dance of desire. She is literally intoxicating to him; he wants her, he loves her, and he wants to drink her blood. As for Bella, her desire for Edward is so intense that by the end of the novel she is begging him to covert her to a vampire so that they can be together forever.


The various communities in Twilight overlap, intersect, and clash at times. There are the literal families, like Bella and her father. There are adoptive/created families. (Dr. Cullen made or found each of the other vampires, bringing them together for ethical companionship.) There is Forks, a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business, or thinks they do. There are shadowy suggestions of a larger vampire community, which operates like predatory animals staking out hunting territories. Finally, as old and mysterious to the people of Forks in its way as the vampire community, there is the native population. Somehow the Quileute Indians know about the vampires, and are watching over their presence among humanity.

Risk and Threat

Throughout Twilight, real and perceived threats clash with one another, and wind together around the other themes. Bella feels dancing is an intense threat, and the humiliation of sports in gym class. She is, however, relatively unafraid of Edward's continual and literal threat to her life.

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