On the Twilight Saga

It's All in the Family

A Comparison of Bella's and Edward's Family Structure

By Lisa M. Dinella, Gary W. Lewandowski, Jr., Ph.D.

Most people view their family as the most important thing in their life. Common aphorisms such as “know your roots” and “blood is thicker than water” emphasize the foundational nature of family and the continuing role it plays in our lives. Why is family so key in our lives? The world-renowned family therapist Salvador Minuchin, whose work has largely focused on the overall structure and function of family, wrote in his book Families and Family Therapy: “In all cultures, the family imprints its members with selfhood. Human experience of identity has two elements; a sense of belonging and a sense of being separate. The laboratory in which these ingredients are mixed and dispensed is the family, the matrix of identity.”

The Twilight Saga chronicles Bella’s and Edward’s struggles to find both a sense of belonging and a sense of individual identity as they navigate their way through adolescence and into adulthood, from being two singles to becoming a couple to eventually forming their own family. Their sense of individual identity has led them to choose life partners of whom many members of their families disapprove (in Bella’s case, both father and mother, at least initially; in Edward’s, Rosalie), and thus they must decide whether they are able to find enough belonging in their romantic relationship, given that they might lose their family support. (For Bella, being with Edward for eternity seems to mean she must sacrifice her family relationships entirely, though this turns out not to be the case.) The choices  …

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