The Outcasts in Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight”
Stephenie Meyer is the author responsible for the best-selling novel entitled “Twilight. ” The story may initially appear like the typical young adult boy-meets-girl love story. A shy seventeen-year-old girl named Bella Swan moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to live with her father in gloomy Forks, Washington. In school, she encounters five remarkably beautiful individuals who never mingle with the other students. One of these beautiful people is a boy named Edward Cullen. Bella soon learns that there is much more beneath the beauty on the surface. In time, she falls in love with him.
Nonetheless, Meyer’s first novel is anything but ordinary. According to Elizabeth Spires from The New York Times, in the story there is a “thread of romantic obsession…a deeper and darker one. ” This is because Meyer’s main characters are not the typical teenage lovers. Bella is a human, but Edward is a vampire. The star-crossed lovers are both outcasts in the town of Forks. The outcast status of Bella is grounded on the fact that she is new in town. The town of Forks in Washington is a very small community. In the novel, Meyer writes that there were only three hundred fifty eight students in Forks High School—including Bella (9).
Grossman writes, “Bella feels like an outsider in at her new high school” (1). When she first arrived in town, Bella said, “All of the kids here had grown up together –their grandparents had been toddlers together” (Meyer 9). Vaz notes, “The students at Forks all know each other in that small-town way, and Bella feels like an outsider” (52, 54). Such a tight-knit town clearly made a girl from the Arizona feel like an outcast. In the story, it is stated that her mother left Forks when she was only months old (Meyer 3). Prior to her recent move to Forks, she only visited the town in the summer until she was fourteen years of age.
Bella knew how different she would be from the others when she said, “I would be the new girl from the big city, a curiosity, a freak” (Meyer 10). The drastic change in environment also made Bella an outcast. She stood out among the others because she was accustomed to the sun, while the rest of Forks was used to the rain. According to Vaz, “Forks is a strange place to a girl from the Phoenix metropolitan—way too wet and green and small, far from the valley heat and urban sprawl she left behind” (51). Bella revealed why she loved Phoenix, “I loved the sun and the blistering heat. I loved the vigorous, sprawling city” (Meyer 4).
All of these—sun, heat and the city—were missing from Forks, making her hate the place. When it first snowed in Forks, she commented, “Throughout the morning, everyone chattered excitedly about the snow” (Meyer 39-40). She hated the snow, so she kept quiet. Again, this is proof that she was different from the others. There were so many other things that made Bella an outcast in Forks. To begin with, her clothes were different. She was a big city girl who suddenly needed a wardrobe for a rainy town. In the novel, Bella stated, “Most of my Arizona clothes were too permeable for Washington” (Meyer 6).
Chuck points out, “She’s arrived from Arizona with only a few things, so she’s not dressed appropriately for the weather in Forks. It’s cold and damp, a different world from what she knows” (qtd. in Vaz 44). Even in terms of clothing, Bella was still an outcast. The character of Bella was also an outcast in terms of appearance and personality. As a high school junior that came from Phoenix, she did not look like someone from a sunny state. She did not fall under the usual high school stereotypes, such as an athlete or a cheerleader (Meyer 10).
According to Bella, “physically, I’d never fit in anywhere” (Meyer 10). She was not only an outcast physically; she was also had a very distinct personality that separated her from her peers. Bella contemplated, “I didn’t relate well to people my age. Maybe the truth was that I didn’t relate well to people, period” (Meyer 10). Hence, she was an outcast in the town of Forks in many ways. It must be said that though Bella is indeed an outcast, she did fit in on certain occasions. On her first day of school, she drives around the truck that her father bought for her. It was a Chevy.
When she parked her truck on the school lot, she was relieved that she did not stand out very much. Bella thought, “I was glad to see that most of the cars were older like mine, nothing flashy” (Meyer 14). Also, her clear and pale skin was not entirely unique in Forks High School. She noted upon seeing two girls enter the classroom, “At least my skin wouldn’t be a stand-out here” (Meyer 15). In addition, there were particular people who also shared similarities with Bella. Angela, her Biology II classmate, was just as meek as her (Meyer 23). Mike Newton, who also shared Biology with her, understood her fondness for the heat.
Bella said, “He’d lived in California till he was ten, so he knew how I felt about the sun” (Meyer 25). However, if there was one individual that Bella could relate to, it was Edward Cullen. Edward was an outcast in Forks just like her. The difference of their outcast status lies in his nature. Spires asserts that “what this novel is really about is a fatal attraction to someone or something dangerously different from yourself. ” Edward is indeed very different and dangerous not only to Bella, but to the rest of the Forks townspeople. He is a vampire, and that very fact makes him an outsider in a community of humans.
Edward is an outcast, yet he is not the only one of his kind in Forks. He is surrounded by his fellow vampires, which he considers as family. His siblings Rosalie, Emmett, Alice and Jasper attend the same school, so Edward does not stick out in the crowd like a lonely outsider. However, staying together does not make them fit in easily with the rest of the student body. According to Spires, what Bella sees on the first day of school are “five devastatingly beautiful people in the lunchroom who don’t seem to be mingling with the rest of the kids. ” Instead, it only made them a family of outcasts.
To begin with, Edward and the rest of the Cullen kids were outcasts in the town of Forks because of their appearance. They were vampires, so obviously they would not look the same way as ordinary humans do. In the novel, the Cullens were described as being “chalky pale,” “had dark shadows under those eyes,” and “all devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful” (Meyer 18-19). Based on these descriptions alone, it is clear that their physical features already made them very different from the rest of the students. Their appearances hint that they are creatures of a different kind.
Even their names make them outcasts. While the name “Jessica” may seem typical or common to Bella, she thought that the family had “strange, unpopular names” (Meyer 20). The Cullen family knew that their nature as vampires solidified their outcast status in Forks. This is the reason why they exerted great effort to keep up appearances for the humans around them. Phillips says, “The Cullen vampires try to blend in with society as much as possible” (qtd. in Vaz 109). Therefore, they participate in human endeavors to conceal their inherent uniqueness.
Chuck states, “One of the difficulties with the Cullens was they had to blend with the high school kids…They had not look freakishly different” (qtd. in Vaz 86). In Meyer’s novel, the Cullens were vampires which feed on animal blood instead of human blood. They do not eat human food, but had to make it appear like they did. This is what Bella noticed: “they each had a tray of untouched food in front of them” (Meyer 18). Their efforts in blending with the rest of society proved futile, as the Cullens remained very different from the others. For instance, their preference in cars was very unique from the other students.
While the rest of the students drove old cars to school, Edward drove a Volvo. The car immediately caught Bella’s attention during the first day of school, though at that time she did not know who owned it. She observed that in the parking lot, “the nicest car here was a shiny Volvo, and it stood out” (Meyer 14). Later on, it was revealed that Rosalie drove a red convertible. Another thing that separates the Cullen kids from the other students is their way of dressing. Bella noticed, “They were all dressed exceptionally well; simply, but in clothes that subtly hinted at designer origins” (Meyer 32).
When people dress up in beautiful designer clothes in a quaint little town like Forks, they are definitely bound to stand out. When Edward told Bella that the family tried to blend it, this was her reply: “You don’t succeed” (Meyer 199). In the beginning, Bella was able to relate to the Edward as an outcast because she presumed that he and his family were just like her. After Jessica informed her that the Cullen family originally came from Alaska, Bella felt that she was not the only outcast in Forks. She thought, “As beautiful as they were, they were outsiders, clearly not accepted” (Meyer 22).
She found comfort in the fact that she was not the only one who did not fit in with the rest of the community. What Bella did not know at that point was the fact that the Cullens were outcasts by choice. It was true that she was different in many ways compared to the other Forks residents. Nonetheless, she was still human, just like them. Meanwhile, Edward and his family had to distance themselves from the others because they were vampires. Bella eventually figured it out: “The isolation must be their desire” (Meyer 32).
While they tried to incorporate as much humanity as they could into their lives, the vampires were aware of the limitations of their nature. They knew they were different, and they distance themselves from people to avoid exposing what they really are. Their chosen isolation caused people like Jessica to conclude that the Cullen kids did not like anyone (Meyer 42). The Cullens were all beautiful, but Edward stood out in particular. Schillinger called him a “ravishing American Nosferatu. ” His beauty made him an outcast, but his indifference towards other students gave him an unappealing reputation.
When Bella asked Jessica about Edward, the latter quipped, “He doesn’t date. Apparently none of the girls here are good-looking enough for him” (Meyer 22). After Bella’s first class with Edward, this was what Mike had to say about him: “He’s a weird guy” (Meyer 26). The negative reactions of the students towards Edward only verified his outcast status. Among his equally beautiful outcast siblings, he was singled out by the students as the weirdest. Bella affirmed this by stating, “Edward was never surrounded by crowds of curious bystanders eager for his firsthand account. People avoided him as usual” (Meyer 69).
Though Bella and Edward are clearly outcasts in the town of Forks, their outsider status actually empower them. It is their uniqueness that gives them more depth compared to the others. More importantly, it is their individual qualities that made them fall in love with one another. It was their shared experience as outcasts which drew them to each other. On one hand, Bella fell in love with Edward because of his uniqueness. If Edward was not so intriguingly different to Bella, he would not have caught her attention. Bella mused, “No one else was as aware of Edward as I always was.
No one else watched him the way I did” (Meyer 69). His distinct beauty and indifference made him very mysterious to her; eventually, she became so engrossed with the mystery he presented that she spent most of her time unlocking it. After Bella found out Edward was vampire, she never looked back. Edward told Bella, “Most humans instinctively shy away from us, are repelled by our alienness…I wasn’t expecting you to come so close” (Meyer 275). She embraced and accepted every aspect of this unlikely creature: the strength, the scent, the icy hard skin, and musical voice that came with being vampire.
Another vampire characteristic which made Edward very different from the others was his mind-reading ability (Meyer 180). Vampires have different abilities, and mind-reading happened to be Edward’s. The fact that he was a vampire was already empowering, as he possessed abilities that made him more special than his human peers. However, it was his mind-reading ability that empowered him the most. It allowed him to read other people’s minds and save Bella when she was in danger. On the other hand, Edward fell in love with Bella because she was different from the rest.
Bella was different in the sense that she caused the usually indifferent Edward to notice her. The unlikely reaction is grounded on a vampire’s attraction to a very different human like Bella. In the entire town of Forks, Bella is the only person whose mind Edward cannot read. He explained, “The only guess I have is that maybe your mind doesn’t work the same way the rest of theirs do” (Meyer 181). This fact empowers Bella, as her uniqueness makes her very interesting to Edward. The most unique feature of Bella that made a vampire like Edward stand up and take notice was her scent.
Among all the students in Forks High School, it was her scent that was most “appealing” to Edward (Meyer 268). Bella may be human like the rest of the students, but her fragrant blood singled her out among the rest. The rest of Forks may consider Bella and Edward as outcasts on the surface. Both of them are obviously different from the townsfolk. Nonetheless, there are also differences that are only known between the two of them. In a sense, these differences also make them outcasts, as they are the only two people who possess them. The novel “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer is not an ordinary teen romance.
It does not involve the handsome jock and the popular cheerleader as lovers in high school. Instead, it features two very distinct characters that do not belong in the small town they live in. Bella Swan is an outcast in Forks because she is a newcomer from Phoenix. Also, she never belonged anywhere because of her looks and personality. Edward Cullen is also an outcast, since he is a vampire amongst humans. As they were both outcasts, they found their own place in each other’s company. Indeed, Meyer served up a unique story just as unique as her lead characters. Works Cited Grossman, Lev. “Stephenie Meyer: A New J. K. Rowling? ” Time.
24 April 2008. 30 Nov. 2008 <http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1734838,00. html>. Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2005. Schillinger, Liesl. “Children’s Books/ Young Adult. ” New York Times. 12 Aug. 2007. 30 Nov. 2008 <http://www. nytimes. com/2007/08/12/books/review/Schillinger7-t. html>. Spires, Elizabeth. “’Enthusiasm,’ by Polly Shulman and ‘Twilight,’ by Stephenie Meyer. ” New York Times. 12 Feb. 2006. 30 Nov. 2008 <http://www. nytimes. com/2006/02/12/books/review/12spires. html? _r=1>. Vaz, Mark Cotta. Twilight: The Complete Illustrated Movie Companion. Little, Brown and Company, 2008.Sample Essay of StudyFaq.com