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by jaya
Rated: 13+ · Non-fiction · Contest Entry · #1720626
A vampire with a difference.
My Favorite Vampire

Bella Swan of the Twilight series is my favorite vampire because she is the most appealing of the vampire characters ever created. It is the combination of myth and modernity in her character that wins my admiration. Credit goes to Stephenie Meyer, the author of the series and the architect of the central character, Bella.

Bella grows from a naive, tender, and risk-attracting sixteen-year-old of Twilight , the first novel, to a mature and modern vampire of the fourth and the last book of the series, Breaking Dawn . New Moon and Eclipse are the second and the third of the quartet. 

Each book reveals a different aspect of Bella’s personality.
Her strong will and relentless love, her daredevilry and courage, her readiness to sacrifice her life for love, and her surprising capacity to make unexpected decisions are some of the many reasons that make her a vampire with a difference.

We are introduced to Isabella Swan in Twilight . She is the narrator as well as the heroine of the novel. Told from the first person point of view, the fantasy novel attains significance because Bella is the focal point around which events happen. She is the only daughter of the divorced couple, Charlie Swan and Renee. She lives with her mother in Phoenix, Arizona. After her mother remarries, Bella decides to move with her father, the police chief of Forks, Washington. Her objective in doing so is to make it feasible for her mother to travel with her new husband Phil, a baseball player of a  “minor league.” Despite her dislike for the cold and wet of Forks, she makes allowances for her mother’s sake. This shows her considerate nature and love for her parent.

She is drawn to Edward Cullen, her classmate at Forks High School. Something about his alabaster complexion, the slow smile, ethereal golden eyes, and gentle manner, affect her. Little did she know of his background when she first feels his magnetic pull. Her classmates’ hushed talk and innuendos aimed at him, and his siblings do not stop her from feeling a strange affinity to Edward.

Surprising is the fact that even after knowing that he is a vampire, she doesn’t alter her emotional attachment to him. Edward too feels Bella’s impact on his vampire existence. Her smell leaves him choking with irrepressible thirst. It is his father’s influence, and centuries of practice of resistance to human blood that prevent him from harming her. He is also mystified by the fact that his gift of reading people’s minds proves ineffective with Bella.

They fall in love as if they’ve been made for each other. Bella realizes that her love for Edward is “irrevocable” and “unconditional.” Despite her research on vampires that reveals their nature of blood drinking, their cold hard bodies with freezing temperatures, and above all despite Edward’s frequent warning to her of the dangers of falling in love with a vampire, Bella remains steadfast in her affection for him. We admire her readiness to risk her life to become an inseparable part of Edward’s existence.

Bella’s naivety, freshness, and her wonder while getting acquainted with Edward, tickle the reader’s romantic sense; noticeably in the scenes when Edward appears in her room from nowhere, and courts her with delightful conversation on a number of issues related to their lives, or when he “slings” her on his back to run at mercurial speed, to the clearing in the forest. (PP. 256-272).

She looks forward anxiously to the day and time when Edward would change her into a vampire, so that she can become his immortal mate. Her single-mindedness wins our admiration.

During a baseball game in an exclusive clearing in the forest to which Bella is invited, Edward’s family meet three nomad vampires, Laurent, James and Victoria. James, being a tracker, identifies Bella’s human presence. His hunt for Bella’s blood starts from then on. The Cullens try to save her, but in a wicked move he traps Bella in a ballet hall in Phoenix, Arizona. Luckily, Edward comes to her rescue, and kills James.

During these tense scenes, Bella never loses focus despite being threatened by a sadistic vampire. Her motto is to let Edward escape James’ wrath. Her thoughts, when she faces grim death at the sadistic vampire’s hands are heartening. Her sacrificial nature has a strong appeal.

“ Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved.”(P.1. Twilight.)

She is convincing in her role because only a young adult like her can be impulsive, and emotionally charged enough to throw herself to the fangs of a greedy vampire.

The first book ends on an ominous note when Bella is injured while unwrapping her birthday present at the Cullen residence. The sight of her blood excites the six vampires of Edward’s family. Jasper, in particular is about pounce on her when Edward stops him, and saves a horrified Bella.

The title twilight is apt because it combines the cold weather conditions of Forks, as well as the ominous romance that Bella is destined to experience. Forces, she never knew of, shadow her forbidden love for a vampire. Her life is thus cast in a twilight zone.

Bella draws the reader into her life with effortless ease.

New Moon, the second novel of the series.

The second book opens with Bella is burrowed in deep depression, after Edward and the rest of the Cullen family leave Forks for her safety. The vacuum in her life is effectively conveyed through the nightly occurrence of a nightmare, her disinterestedness in people around and a sense of alienation from the rest of the world. This is the darkest time of her life, and therefore the title, new moon .

During this period of hibernation she finds Jacob and their friendship blossoms. In the first book itself we have read of Jacob telling her of the myths of werewolves popular in his clan. He also recounts the first clash between the vampires and werewolves in ancient times and the subsequent pact they had regarding territorial rights.

To her utter amazement, Bella comes to know later, that Jacob and a few members of his clan are werewolves themselves. They protect her from the vampire Victoria bent on killing Bella because Edward has killed her mate, James.

We thus get to witness Stephenie Meyer’s ingenuity in making Bella endearing to a vampire and a werewolf in an equal measure, simultaneously.

New Moon also tells about the “Volturi,” the Italian coven of “Volterra,” the uncrowned kings of the vampire world. They are the despots who take law into their hands and punish those vampires who work against the established order. Bella comes to know through Alice about Edward’s intention to commit suicide in the presence of the “Volturi”. This is because he thinks the avenging vampire Victoria has killed Bella.

Bella surprises us by running headlong into the cold and fearful domain of vampires at “Volterra” without an iota of fear, and stops Edward from his intended death. Her love thus crosses all the human and supernormal obstacles.

Edward is reunited with Bella and the Cullens return to Forks, after promising the Volturi that they would change Bella, into a vampire, eventually.

The book ends with Bella convincing her father that she has left Forks for LA with Alice, after her adventure of diving from the cliff’s edge. She is strong-minded enough to tell him that she would move out if he forbids her from meeting Edward. She is absolutely sure of her priorities.

Eclipse , the third novel of the series.

Both the werewolves and the vampires join forces and plan Bella’s safety from Victoria. It is her endearing nature that makes the traditional enemies forget their hostilities and agree to deviate from the pact defining their territories.

Bella camps in the mountains with Edward and Jacob to escape Victoria’s hunt. We witness some heated words being exchanged between Jacob and Edward when the former listens to their proposed engagement.

Bella tells Jacob that she loves him too, yet confesses to a greater love for Edward. This clarification makes her unique. There are no rough edges to her character. She seems to need everyone, her vampire family and the werewolves, especially, Jacob, a friend and confidante.

Victoria, in the meantime tracks Edward to Bella’s hiding camp, and there ensues a fierce battle between the werewolves and Victoria’s “newborn” armies. Bella succeeds in distracting Victoria from killing Edward by slashing her wrists. At the sight of blood the vampire Victoria turns to Bella with bared fangs.

Once again we see Bella exposed to death. She is clearly inspired by the legendary sacrifice made by the “third wife,” of a powerful werewolf, a character in of the stories of yore, recounted by Billy. Thus she proves not only the credibility of the native legend, but also her faith in true love.

Despite her dislike for formality and the pomp of marriage, Bella consents to Edward’s marriage proposal. Jacob is heartbroken when he receives a wedding invitation from Edward. He shift changes into a werewolf and runs away into the forest to escape pain and anguish at Bella’s decision to marry Edward and later to become a vampire.

The title “eclipse” gives me two impressions. First, Bella’s love for Edward is eclipsed because of the threat to her life. Victoria still looms large in her life hunting for her, and no one knew how and when she would attack.

The second reason comes through Jacob’s words at Bella’s marriage.

“He is like a drug for you, Bella. I see that you can’t live without him now. It’s too late. I would have been the air, the sun. The clouds I can handle. But I can’t fight an eclipse.”(P.531)

We admire Bella for her ability in accomplishing the near impossible, when we see the age-old enemies, the vampires and the werewolves standing cheek to jowl during her marriage. Seth, one of the werewolves is especially close to Edward, the vampire hero.

To Jacob however, Edward remains a rival forever. He is the “eclipse” to Jacob’s “air” and “sun”. This breach between them casts an eclipse on Bella’s love, and life.

Breaking Dawn , the last of the series.

The book consists of three parts.

Bella narrates part 1.

After her engagement and marriage, the couple leaves for “Isle Esme” off the coast of Brazil for a honeymoon. The course of Bella’s destiny changes from then on. Meyer’s depiction of the union between the vampire and human is so admirably casual that the readers do not feel the wide chasm of difference between them or the imminent danger to Bella’s life. In his passionate possession of Bella, all we see of Edward’s destructive impulse is limited to tearing away the downy pillows, and shattering the headboard.

Within days after consummation of their love, Bella finds herself pregnant, and what a pregnancy it is! Mind blowing! The fetus grows at an alarming speed, throwing her life into an instant hell. She refuses to have an abortion that Edward has suggested.

They return to Forks and Bella is placed under Carlisle’s constant observation.

Part 2 is narrated by Jacob Black.

Within weeks the fetus’ growth is complete, and then begins Bella’s torturous journey to motherhood. The werewolves are alarmed at this phenomenal event of a human being giving birth to a vampire child. Jacob stops them from their plan of killing Bella and her child. before they harm the human world. Even while in the grip of unbearable pain, Bella refuses with a typical individuality to have her child terminated by Carlisle.

Once again we see the werewolves and the vampires sharing this painful episode together. Carlisle, on one occasion has a word of praise for the werewolves.

He comments to Jacob,

“ I find your species fascinating. I suppose that the elements of vampiric nature have come to seem commonplace to me over the centuries. Your family’s divergence from humanity is much more interesting. Magical, almost.” {P. 219}

Stephenie Mayer thus not only innovates but evolves as well. She shows that vampires and werewolves need not be mutually exclusive. They can work together in harmony. That would be truly fantastic. Also she brings in a vital change in vampire diet. They can slake their thirst by hunting animals, not necessarily humans. This is fantastic!

To help the baby subsist, Edward suggests that Bella be fed with blood. Despite the repulsiveness, Bella was sportive enough to drink blood mainly for the baby’s sake.

“ ‘Well,’ she rasped barely audible. ‘I’m starving, so I’ll bet he is too.’ Trying to make another joke. ‘Let’s go for it. My first vampire act.’” (P.224)

Even during the maddening process when Edward delivers the baby, Bella retains her mental balance. She asks for her child, calls her Renesmee, and then falls unconscious. Jacob tries to help her breathe while Edward injects his venom into her system to save her life. Thus she changes into a vampire, and an immortal mate for Edward. Her long time dream materializes finally.

As a newborn, with a raging thirst for blood, Bella is not allowed to hold her child Renesmee, for fear of killing her. She shows extraordinary control in handling her motherly instincts, and the newfound “vampiric” urges.

The child’s name “Renesmee” signifies Bella’s love for her mother Renee and her attachment to Edward’s mother Esme. Her human sentiments thus make her a rare kind of vampire.

Part 3, narrated by Bella.

Jacob who is present at the birth of the half-vampire child  “imprints” on her. This makes Renesmee his soul mate.

When Bella goes hunting with her Renesmee, Irina, a vampire, misidentifies Renesmee as an “immortal child,” a child turned into a vampire. Immortal children are outlawed by the “Volturi” because they are uncontrollable. Irina complains against the Cullens for committing the breach. The Volturi come en masse to the Cullen residence to launch a war against the family.

The Cullens in the meanwhile, gather the Vampire clans from all over the world to stand witness to the fact that Renesmee is not an immortal child but a child born with the qualities of vampire as well as a human. This conclusion is further strengthened when the Volturi meet a 150-year old vampire-human crossbreed named Nahuel, like Renesmee.

During this confrontation with the Volturi, Bella who has been practicing her ability, a new gift of developing a protective “shield” to cover her near and dear, successfully foils the efforts of those vampires loyal to Volturi from harming her family and vampire friends who came to their rescue.

“ I threw my shield with all the force in my mind, flung it across the impossible expanse of the field- ten times my best distance-like a javelin...”(P.641)

Her concentration and penance-like devotion to Edward and other members of his family are worth applause. The Volturi are convinced and impressed by this novel turn of events in the vampire world. They turn tail, and leave in a cloud of unexpected anti climactic outcome of their visit.

Edward best describes their retreat.

“ Yes. They have given up. Like all bullies, they are cowards underneath the swagger.”(P.686)

For Bella, now there is only joy and peace to be shared by Edward and Renesmee and the rest of the Cullen family. A deserving end after all the travails.

Thus, Bella Swan Cullen is the kind of vampire that is not just limited to darkness or twilight but can belong with breaking dawn, and share the good of the world as well. This is the greatest reason why she is my favorite vampire.

She is so real that it is not exaggerating if I say that teenage girls around the world may start searching for an Edward among their classmates.

Word count: 2702

References –

Twilight (Published in Great Britain by Atom, 2008)

New Moon (Published in Great Britain by Atom, 2007)

Eclipse (Published in Great Britain by Atom, 2008)

Breaking Dawn (First published in Great Britain by Anton, 2008)


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