On the Twilight Saga

Motorcycles, and Strangers, and Cliff Diving! Oh My!

Bella's Motivations for Risky Behavior

By Catherine R. Glenn

Bella Swan is a klutz. Case in point: after suffering serious injuries during an attack by the vampire James at the end of Twilight, Bella’s family readily accepts the explanation that her injuries were actually the result of nothing more than her own clumsiness. Knowing this shortcoming, Bella makes a concerted effort to steer clear of school dances, sports, and other activities where she might get hurt. Despite her avoidance, she frequently manages to fall down and get hurt just walking around. Given her previous evasion of potential dangers, it is remarkable when, over the course of New Moon, Bella starts engaging in a series of risky behaviors, including approaching strange men in Port Angeles, riding motorcycles, wandering off into the forest alone (despite reports of missing hikers and alleged “killer bears”), and, perhaps most dramatically, cliff diving!

Why does Bella make such a drastic change from a risk-averse to risk-taking teen? First and foremost, of course, Bella’s motivation for engaging in risky behaviors is Edward. Specifically, her behavior is motivated by the desire to hear Edward’s voice. Remember that when Edward leaves Forks and Bella behind at the beginning of New Moon, he promises her that it would be as if he never existed. To that end, he takes any evidence of his existence with him when he leaves, including the CD he made Bella for her birthday and pictures from her photo album. Thus, Bella is left with nothing but her memory of Edward. However, she soon makes the  …

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