The first book in the best-selling series, Twilight has captured the hearts and minds of more than just teen girls everywhere. It tells the captivating story of a clumsy outsider, Bella Swan, who moves to Washington State to live with her estranged father. Bella, who just wants to blend into the rain-drenched, forested scenery, instead finds herself the object of a mysterious and devastatingly gorgeous classmate’s curiosity. Edward Cullen and his ageless family seem to be the star attraction in Forks; and before long, Bella is living in the middle of a modern day fairy tale. Although Bella suspects that Edward and his extended family are not what they appear to be, she could hardly have known that these “vegetarian” vampires (i.e., they eat only big game) had chosen Fork as their latest place of low-profile residence. Likewise, the Cullens could never have anticipated the intense attraction Edward and Bella would feel toward each other, a charm that would place the entire family—both Bella’s and Edward’s—in severe danger. The love between mortality and immortality proves costly indeed.
Twilight’s tale of star-crossed soul-mates leads to some interesting discussions of several virtues. Prudence and Temperance take center stage as we watch Edward and Bella try to figure out their relationship, and wrestle with selfish and selfless choices. Agape and Fortitude are woven in almost every discussion of this book as we weigh what constitutes true love, and witness the sacrificial and courageous choices many characters make to show that love. We also see Faith and Hope through the lives of the Vampire family, as they work to find a way of life that amends for the past and others of their kind.
This book gives us the opportunity to look at Love in depth. We consider what “true love: is, and what our responsibilities in love and relationships are. We also looked at how the other virtues interact with Love, and how all the virtues are necessary to bring Prudence to the choices we face in relationships.
Twilight frequently mentioned Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and while this was not an explicit part of the expected curriculum, we also recommend this reading and made room for discussion to anyone who chose to do so.