“When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it’s not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.”
Narrator Bella Swan describes a moment when, facing death at the hands and teeth of a vampire, she feels a wistful longing for the intensely beautiful, if short, time she has spent with a spectacularly charming and talented young man with strange powers who introduced her to a world of wonders that now rears up to kill her. These few seconds sum up the conflict she faces in the story that follows the Preface.
“Sometimes I wondered if I was seeing the same things through my eyes that the rest of the world was seeing through theirs. Maybe there was a glitch in my brain.”
Bella stares in the mirror and finds herself wanting. She’s too pale, withdrawn, and clumsy to be popular or have close friends. She doesn’t yet realize that she reaches unusual conclusions about the world because she thinks and feels more deeply than most people. Bella works hard to others; she believes, though, that it’s unlikely anyone else will bother to understand her.
“In a lot of ways, living with Charlie was like having my own place, and I found myself reveling in the aloneness instead of being lonely.”
Her father, Charlie, is the perfect housemate for Bella: He’s quiet, keeps a discreet eye on her, but mostly leaves her to herself. This gives Bella wide latitude to pursue her projects in a comfortable solitude appropriate to a bright, alienated teen. Therefore, she can think carefully and creatively about problems that arise in her daily life.