Breaking Dawn Summary

Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn

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Breaking Dawn Summary

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer.

The fourth and final installment of the bestselling series, The Twilight SagaBreaking Dawn, was written by Stephanie Meyers and sold over a million copies in the US during the first 24 hours after its publication. Breaking Dawn explores themes of love across races, suffering for one’s beliefs, and motherhood.

Part 1 opens on the protagonist, Bella Swan, driving her car and feeling paranoid that people are looking at her. Like most of the series, Breaking Dawn is narrated by Bella, whose anxieties include her potential acceptance to an elite school, and whether her parents will accept her marriage to Edward Cullen, a vampire. Edward was turned into a vampire in 1917, when he was dying of Spanish Influenza; though he was more than 100 years old when he met Bella at their high school in the first book of the series, Twilight, he retains the appearance of a 17-year-old. He lives with the vampire who made him, Dr. Carlisle Cullen (who looks like he’s 23) and the two pose as father and son. They were Bella’s neighbors in Forks, Washington.

Bella was raised to be an independent, courageous woman, and she has trouble reconciling her self-image with the institution of marriage. Edward, in her experience, has been a something of a renegade. She has trouble imagining the strong and fierce vampire who has saved her life on multiple occasions as a docile husband.

Despite these concerns, Bella happily marries Edward. They honeymoon on Isle Esme, which Dr. Carlisle bought for his wife, Esme, on the Brazilian coast.

Just weeks into their honeymoon, Bella realizes she’s pregnant. What’s worse, the fetus is developing at a much faster rate than a human fetus would. The pain brought about by her pregnancy is unbearable for Bella. The newlyweds return to Forks, Washington.

Part 2 is narrated by Jacob Black, a werewolf who, in previous books, was in love with Bella. When Jacob hears that Bella is sick, he immediately thinks that the vampires broke their promise to not harm Bella, and have turned her into a vampire.

He runs to the Cullens house to confront them. He immediately learns that Bella is not ill, but is experiencing an unusually difficult pregnancy. Jacob argues with Bella about the baby. He’s certain that if she goes through with this pregnancy, she will surely die. But Bella insists on keeping the baby. She also wishes to be turned into a vampire. Jacob leaves, irate.

Jacob’s wolf pack senses that Jacob is angry; he has, since leaving Bella’s house, transformed into a werewolf, which he only does when he is mad. He reveals that Bella is pregnant. The pack is deeply concerned, as they believe Bella and Edward’s child will be another supernatural monster they will have to worry about (werewolves and vampires have disliked each other for years). The pack decides that both Bella and her baby must die. But Jacob refuses to help his pack kill Bella and her baby, and runs back to the Cullens house to warn Bella and the Cullens that the werewolves are coming.

The only werewolf who sides with Jacob is named Seth Clearwater. Like Jacob, he is not physically beholden to the commands of the pack leader, a werewolf named Sam. The two run to warn the Cullens, who thank them for the warning. Jacob and Seth volunteer to patrol the house. Seth’s older sister, Leah, joins their renegade pack soon after.

Meanwhile, it’s revealed that the fetus in Bella’s belly survives on a diet of blood. In order to nourish the baby appropriately, Bella must drink blood, which helps both Bella and the baby. But, no one –including Dr. Carlisle – knows when the vampire-human hybrid will be born, because such a hybrid is extremely rare.

One day, Bella falls, and this induces labor. The birth is so unspeakably difiicult that it breaks her spine. Bella loses copious amounts of blood. Fortunately, Edward saves her by injecting venom into her heart, thus making her a vampire.

Jacob watches all of this, and thinks that Renesmee – the new baby – has killed his former love. He tries to kill the baby, but stops when he spontaneously “imprints” on her. This is a special trait of shapeshifters such as Jacob; when they “imprint” they have found their soulmate.

In Part 3, Bella describes her new life as a vampire. One day, a vampire named Irina sees Renesmee and assumes she is an “Immortal Child,” that is, a child who, often against their will, has been made into a vampire. Child vampires are outlawed by the vampire supreme court, the Volturi. Vampire children can’t be tamed and pose a risk to humans, as well as to other vampires. The Volturi send representatives to kill Renesmee and any of the Cullen family who attempt to challenge their decision.

Fortunately, the Cullen family gather enough witnesses to confirm that Renesmee is the child of a human and a vampire, rather than an Immortal Child. Since her transformation into a vampire, Bella has gained the ability to shield others from having their minds read; an ability that helps their case when Volturi representatives try to unlock the minds of the witnesses.

The Volturi end up choosing to kill Irina as punishment for one of her misdeeds in a previous book, and for her current attempt to spark a war in the vampire world.

A 150-year-old vampire-human hybrid named Nahuel arrives to testify that rare creatures such as herself are no danger to humans or vampires. The court agrees this is the case and leave. For now, the Cullens are safe.

The novel ends with Bella allowing Edward to read her thoughts and feelings for the first time.