Author: Stephanie Meyer
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Audience: High school girls
Summary: This would be a fabulous book for literary circles, especially the response logs. The response logs would allow the youth to connect their own personal lives with the story, allowing them to express their connections and questions about the novel. This literary circle would have to be done over multiple weeks (possibly a 6 week session). The focus of the sessions would be different types of love, as seen in the love between Edward and Bella, Jacob and Bella, Bella and her father, Bella and the Cullen’s family, and Bella and the “wolves.” It would also discuss the hurt, pain, and aching reality of love as seen in the relationships previously mentioned. The hurt and pain experienced, especially by Bella in this book, is something every person will feel at some point in their life. And, often, it is during this time a person may feel the most unloved and farthest from God. This study can also focus on Bella’s trouble in discerning her love for Jacob in contrast to the love she feels for Edward.
This story is one of love and the fight for love. In the beginning of the novel Bella is attacked by Edward’s brother. Edward realizes he has, again, put Bella’s life in danger and leaves Forks in order to protect her. Broken hearted and seemingly purposeless Bella and Jacob Black, Edwards supposed “enemy”, become better friends. For Jacob their friendship is more than that, it is love. He takes over Edwards’s job of protecting Bella, and in doing so falls more in love with her, and she starts to fall for him. Although Bella has grown to love Jacob in one way, her love for Edward remains and at the end of the novel she is called on by Edward’s sister Alice to use that love to save Edward.
Literary elements at work in the story: This is a fantasy novel, but more than its focus on vampires it is its focus on the emotion and heartache of true love and friendship and its wonderful examples of self-sacrificing love that is worth noting.
Perspective on gender/ race/ culture/ economic/ ability: This book has wealthy vampires (both North American and French), Native American Werewolves, and the poor towns’ people of Forks.
Theological themes: Sacrificial, undying love; friendship; forgiveness.
Faith Talk Questions: (these questions would be based on the specific chapters we would have read- most likely 3-4 chapters a week in a small group setting. This would be a wonderful literary circle for this fall before the movie comes out)
- What were some connections you all made with the story? Could you relate to how Bella felt when Edward left? Could you understand why Edward left? How did you feel about Bella and Jacob’s relationship?
- Do you have any questions as to why something happened? Maybe, why did Edward have to leave? Did he still love Bella when he was gone?
- How did you feel when Jacob became a werewolf? Who do you think protected Bella better and why? How do Jacob and Bella’s relationship differ than Edward and Bella’s? Have you been in relationships that are like these? Are these relationships healthy?
- When Edward left what else did Bella lose? How did Bella grow closer to her father in Edward’s absence? How was that beneficial?
- Where do you see love in these chapters? What type of love do you see? Have you felt that type of love or seen that type of love before?
- Any criticism about these chapters?
- Do you see any connections between the story unfolding and God? What do we see about the nature of God when we examine the emotions of Bella, Edward and Jacob?
Review prepared by Ashley Cheek, MDiv/MACE, Entering cohort Fall 2007