Concept and creationThe premise for both Bella and the ''Twilight'' series originated in a dream Stephenie Meyer had in which an "average girl" and a "fantastically beautiful, sparkly... vampire... were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods." In this dream, the pair "were discussing the difficulties inherent in the facts that... they were falling in love with each other while... the vampire was particularly attracted to the scent of her blood, and was having a difficult time restraining himself from killing her." Meyer's original characters were unnamed; she took to calling the characters, who would later become Edward and Bella, "he" and "she" for the purpose of convenience as she "didn't want to lose the dream." Meyer explained that the name "Isabella" was decided upon because "after spending so much time with he character I loved her like a daughter. ... Inspired by that love, I gave her the name I was saving for my daughter,... Isabella." Bella's positive reception at her new school in Forks, particularly her popularity with male characters, was modelled after Meyer's real life move from high school to college. Meyer has said that there are similarities between Bella and the title character of Charlotte Brontë's '' Jane Eyre'', a novel which she has cited as an influence on the ''Twilight'' series.
''Twilight''Bella, who first appears in ''
''New Moon'''' New Moon'' begins on Bella's 18th birthday. She has a dream where she looks like her late grandmother while her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen, is still young. During a birthday celebration at the Cullen residence, Bella gets a small paper cut while unwrapping a present. Edward's brother, Jasper, instinctively thirsting for her blood, lunges for Bella, but Edward and Emmett restrain him. In a misguided attempt to protect Bella, Edward moves away with his family. Edward's departure results in Bella falling into a deep depression and isolation lasting months. Charlie, concerned about Bella, wants her to live with her mother in Jacksonville, hoping a new environment will help with her depression. In an effort to stay in Forks, Bella begins seeing her old friends and attends a frightening movie with Jessica. While there, she carelessly approaches a group of dangerous-looking bikers gathered outside a bar; she discovers she can hear Edward's voice when she gets into trouble. Desperate to hear his voice again, Bella continually seeks out danger and convinces her friend Jacob Black to repair two old motorcycles and teach her how to ride them. Their friendship gradually deepens and Jacob admits his romantic feelings for Bella, though she does not reciprocate them.This results into Jacob joined a gang of strange boys. When the vampire Laurent returns to Forks, he tries to attack Bella. She is saved by a pack of giant wolves. Later, Bella learns that Jacob and other tribe members are shape-shifters who phase into wolf form to protect humans from vampires. Bella also discovers that Victoria has also returned to Forks, seeking to kill Bella to avenge her vampire mate, James' death. To hear Edward's voice again, Bella attempts cliff jumping and nearly drowns, but Jacob rescues her. Alice returns to Forks after having a vision that Bella jumped off a cliff and has died, only to discover that Bella is alive. After Harry Clearwater died from a heart attack, her vision misread his funeral for Bella's. Edward, believing Bella has committed suicide, travels to Volterra, Italy, to request the Volturi to destroy him, though they refuse his request. Alice and Bella follow Edward to Italy, barely in time prevent him from showing himself in daylight to humans, an act that would result in his execution. The trio is taken to the Volturi. Because Bella knows about vampires, the Volturi would either kill her or have her become a vampire. Alice shows Aro a vision she had of Bella as a vampire, and they are free to leave and are given a strict warning that there will be consequences if Bella remains human. Upon returning home, Edward tells Bella that he never stopped loving her and only left Forks to protect her. Edward promises never to leave Bella again. Edward still opposes Bella becoming a vampire and intends to fool the Volturi. Intent on becoming an immortal, Bella asks the Cullens to vote on her fate. Only Rosalie and Edward oppose it. Later, Jacob reminds Edward about the treaty, and biting any human will nullify it. Bella insists it is her choice. Edward later agrees he will change her if she marries him. Meyer, Stephenie. (2006) '' New Moon''. 563pp.
''Eclipse'''' Eclipse'' continues the paranormality of 18-year-old human Bella and the vampire Edward's relationship. Edward is reluctant to change Bella into a vampire, believing that becoming a vampire will destroy her soul. Bella agrees to marry Edward on the condition that he will make love to her while she is still human and then turn her into a
Part 1'' Breaking Dawn'' begins with the wedding of human Bella and vampire, Edward, at the Cullen residence. They spend their honeymoon on Isle Esme, a small island off the coast of
Part 2When Bella completes her transformation into a vampire, she goes on a hunting trip with her beloved Edward. On the trips, she meets hunters. After mastering her self-control, Edward brings her to her daughter. Their happiness is cut short when the Cullens' vampire cousin, Irina, mistakes Renesmee for an immortal child (a forbidden creation in the vampire world), she reports it to the Volturi. Alice foresees the Volturi arriving to destroy the Cullen coven for the alleged transgression. The Cullens gather vampire witnesses to verify Renesmee's mortality, only to realize later the Volturi always intended to destroy their coven and recruit Alice for her foresight ability. Meanwhile, Bella learns that she is a "shield" and can block others' mental thoughts and senses. She can also project a protective barrier around others. Edward and Bella stand with the other Cullens and their allies to convince the Volturi that Renesmee is not an immortal child or poses a threat to their existence. Once the Volturi are impelled to leave or else face their own destruction as Alice has foreseen, Edward, Bella, Renesmee, and the other Cullens can finally live their lives in peace. Meyer, Stephenie. (2008) '' Breaking Dawn''. 756pp.
''Midnight Sun''This is a retelling of the events of Twilight from Edward Cullen's perspective. Much light is shed on Bella's character. Whereas in Twilight, we only see Bella as she sees herself: incredibly average. However, with this new perspective, all the things that make Bella unusual and different from her female peers are brought to light. Bella is shown to possess uncanny intelligence and is able to put pieces together in her mind, figuring out with only a little help from Jacob Black that the Cullens are vampires. Time and time again, she is shown with courage and fearlessness in the face of absolute danger. With Edward, she trusts and loves him unconditionally, and does not harbor the fear that an average person normally should or would have. Instead, her deep compassion and love for Edward and her friends and family continue to take precedence in all her actions. Bella also shows her courage, selflessness, and intelligence multiple times by outwitting Alice and Jasper and deciding to go alone to meet the vampire James in an attempt to save her mother. She is observed by Edward to repeatedly be almost motherly in the way that she cares for her parents and those around her, putting their feelings and needs before her own. This depth of compassion and sharp intuition seen by Edward is not as apparent in the original Twilight story, due to Bella's own perspective of herself being from a place of lower self-esteem. Bella tends to be quite hard on herself, unable to see the good nature, compassion, and actual physical beauty that Edward sees in her. Bella also shows herself to be insatiably curious. She is always wanting to know more about anything that interests her and is an avid reader of fiction books. This fascination and intense curiosity are especially prevalent with Edward, much to his irritation as he is just as curious about her. Neither of them finds themselves particularly interesting, and continuously are trying to find out more about the other while sharing little unprompted about themselves, though Bella seems to win more in this regard as she is good at prying things out of Edward and stubbornly getting what she wants from him, just as he is continuously shown to give in to her demands and questions. In addition, while Edward is continuously boggled by the mind he can't read—and her reactions which are so unlike any other human he's known—Bella shows a natural intuition in stride with her curiosity to ask exactly what Edward doesn't want to share. In the aftermath, Renesmee admits that her parents have found each other but she tells Bella of how Edward proposed to her sometime after they graduate from high school and Bella told her daughter that Renesmee's maternal grandparents' early experience of marriage and divorce and remarriage by the time Renesmee reached 18, she will understand what early marriage looks like for her and Jacob just like Edward and Bella were and Charlie and Renée were.
Physical appearanceBella is described as being petite, with a height of roughly 5'4", and a very translucent, pale complexion. She has thick, long, brown hair, with a wide forehead, and a widow's peak. Her eyes are described as being "chocolate brown" and widely spaced. She has a small, thin nose, prominent cheekbones, lips a bit too full for her slim jawline, and thin eyebrows that are straighter than they are arched. Her fingernails are described as stubby from being bitten down. There are several references to Bella's hair having a red tinge to it which is only very visible in the sunlight; in overcast and dimly lit conditions, it appears browner. The scent of her O-positive blood is incredibly attractive to vampires, described by Bree Tanner to be the "sweetest scent she'd ever smelled", though it is a thousand times more intense to Edward Cullen. As for distinguishing features, Bella has a small crescent-shaped scar on her hand where she was bitten by James, a tracker vampire, in ''
PersonalityBella is described as being clumsy, having a weak constitution, and adverse towards physical activity. Bella is also described as reclusive, reticent, insecure, and very sensitive. She also cares for the rest of the Cullen family, her husband, Edward, her daughter, Renesmee, her parents, Charlie and Renée, and her friend, Jacob Black. She has a tendency to underestimate the people around her mainly because of her concerns for their safety. Having learned to take care of her mother over the years and being naturally responsible, Bella had developed into a very mature person, especially for her age. She mostly prefers to spend her free time reading classics from school. When it comes to fashion, Bella is not traditionally feminine. She hates dressing up, saying that makeup "is a pain" and that she feels uncomfortable in impractical, elegant clothes; however, Alice does not care what Bella thinks and continues to persuade her to dress up and look glamorous. She is not materialistic and does not like spending money on luxurious items, telling Edward in ''New Moon'' "not to spend a dime on erbirthday," and those fast cars are unnecessary, saying that Edward gave her himself and anything else he gives her would throw their relationship off balance. She hates being singled out and does not like her birthday being celebrated. She also has very negative views on teen marriage due to her parents' early experience but learns to overcome them later. She is an extremely private person who keeps her thoughts and feelings to herself and hates when someone tries to understand her, which is thought to be why Edward is unable to hear her thoughts. Bella tends to daydream, getting lost in her own little world. She is also known to be incredibly stubborn with herself, because of her determination to become a vampire in order to be with Edward forever. Bella is also said to possess poor acting skills. Ironically, she demonstrates good acting ability in Twilight when she makes her father believe that she has dumped Edward and is leaving Forks. Bella is a very reserved girl with a stiff uptight position, habit of biting her lip, which she shares with Kristen Stewart. She knits together her eyebrows when feeling strong emotions such as nervousness. As a human, Bella easily fainted at the sight of blood, though it changes after she became a vampire. Bella is also shown in Breaking Dawn, to have a good mood climate, and is able to run away from the smell of human blood when she goes on her first hunting trip as a vampire. Bella has a sarcastic sense of humor, especially when she gets mad; She is almost always a very forgiving person who is hard to anger. Bella can surprisingly be very brave, able to block painful thoughts and memories (hence her special vampire ability), and tends to come face-to-face with life-threatening danger head-on, even though she can get scared later. She puts Edward before herself and everybody and everything else, but several 'selfish' tendencies emerge (as when she asked Edward to stay with her instead of fighting vampires in Eclipse). Meyer has stated that Bella's " tragic flaw" in ''Eclipse'' is her lack of self-knowledge. This is most obviously illustrated in her consistent denial of any romantic feelings for Jacob Black, despite the fact that she later realizes that she is, indeed, in love with him. Bella is also a very bad liar, except to herself. According to Eclipse, Jacob and Edward say that she's a terrible liar, this is evidence of this. Besides, she also admits this throughout the whole saga, though she seemingly manages to lie to herself about her romantic feelings for Jacob. In contrary to her low profile demeanor, Bella, according to Edward in Midnight Sun, has no sense of fear when she finds out Edward is a vampire. Instead of running away, as she should have, she decides to ask many questions with extreme curiosity. This makes Edward believe that it is not bad luck that follows her around, but that she has no sense of self-preservation. Bella is book-smart but is lacking in common sense. She can be considered impractical at times. She hates anything cold and wet, even snow, which is why she initially hated to live in Forks. However, after meeting Edward, she found the town much more comfortable, even calling it "home". As a vampire, she also dislikes the idea of feeding on humans, but is glad to have found the strength she needed to protect her loved ones. Bella inherited her mother's high perceptiveness as she was able to guess Edward was a mind reader, the first human to do so. However, she was not able to guess that Edward was in love with her. After being turned into a vampire, she describes having a much clearer view of the world. She is also very self-controlled, being able to ignore the scent of human blood on her first hunting trip. Bella's private mind that was able to repel some vampires' mental abilities while she was human evolved after she became a vampire; her skill strengthened, allowing her to shield herself and those around her from other vampires' mental gifts. By the end of ''Breaking Dawn'', she is able to cast the shield away from herself. She is also described by Edward as "very graceful", even for a vampire, in comparison to her earlier clumsiness as a human.
Film portrayalIn the film adaptations, Bella is portrayed by actress Kristen Stewart. Meyer stated that she was "very excited" to see Stewart play the part and that she was "thrilled to have a Bella who has practice n a vast array of film genres, since, according to Meyer, ''Twilight'' has moments that fit into many genres. Stewart wears contact lenses in the films in order to achieve a chocolate brown eye color as described in the books.
ReceptionBella has received a generally negative reception from critics. ''