Hopefully I can limit this article to the problems with Bella as a character, but since the story is from her point of view, it will approach on the problems of Twilight. Note, I’ll only be using Twilight as an example, there is no way I’m reading all four books, I’m not a god. If I were a god, I surely would not be reading these books. And who would want to be a god? All that whining and praying…

Well. Let’s bring Twilight to a very, very basic level. Bella falls in love with Edward, who in turn falls in love with her, but is fighting the urge to drink her blood and resist her ‘scent.’ So, Bella is more like an object for Edward to be troubled over, and the book is told from her point of view. It might as well been a camera set on the ‘love Edward’ setting.

Bella is a Sue. A really, really bad Sue. The author even admits that Bella is based on herself. So, being nice, Bella is an insert. Being mean, Bella is one of the worst Mary Sue’s of all time.

Personality (or lack thereof) is one of the major flaws of the book. Bella is nothing, practically an empty vessel. The story is told so plainly, and when adjectives are used, they’re describing how she was cooking, or those ‘smoldering topaz eyes.’ While her life pre-Edward is supposed to be dull and rather boring, it can still have some interesting parts, especially if it’s shown through her eyes. No, being clumsy isn’t personality, not one bit. Everyone is clumsy at some point, some are just more so than others. Being a klutz makes her ‘endearing’ to the other boys at the school, and it’s somehow supposed to pass as a flaw? It’s like saying Edward’s handwriting (which is godly, of course) is bad, and it makes him realistic. Bella’s ‘normal’ attributes also make Edward more god-like, and that desirable man.

The other boys at school. Stereotypes, in essence. They ‘fawn’ over her, another fact the author mentions happened to her when she got to college. The guys are actually kinda nice in their own way, they walk Bella to her classes, offer to help her study, and so forth. She just blows it off and is disdainful at their courting attempts. She even is a brat to Edward for a moment, but then notices those perfect eyes. While her being scornful can be attributed as personality, it’s not befitting of a Sue. Soon after falling (if you want to call it that) for Edward, she becomes more normal around them.

The girls at school are mostly stereotypical as well, and are almost all foils to Bella, to further increase her perfect status. All of them are jealous of her relationship with Edward once it becomes public, which (somehow) raises her staus even further, because she got the angel guy that no one else can.

While the story is supposed to be a take on Romeo and Juliet, two lovers who eventually destroy each other, the Sue-ism ruins what made Romeo and Juliet good – the fact that it was a tragedy. They died. The most that comes out of it is their infatuation with each other, and unfortunately we are stuck with Bella’s point of view. Sculpted face, windswept hair, topaz eyes, sleep gas for breath. If it was mentioned once or twice to remind the reader that this guy looks really good, things might have been okay. But, unfortunately, it happens every time they see each other. It starts descending into icky purple prose as well, which breaks up an already slow paragraph.

Anyways, Bella has a freakishly abnormal infatuation with a stalker 103-year-old virgin. She lacks personality, and simply can’t think for herself. She does whatever ‘sculpted Edward’ tells her to, and she’s glad to do it. Worse, many intelligent teenage girls (some I know, and much smarter than I am) love the book, because they can ‘relate’ to Bella. No one can possibly relate to Bella. Even if you’ve only lived a year of your life you’d have more personality. Personally, I would much like Edward’s view of things, because he seems to have some flaws hinted at, but they got lost among the wastelands of purple prose. Even then, it will be all ‘scent’ this and ‘scent’ that. Maybe not.

I’m sorry I could not go more in depth, I don’t have a copy of Twilight lying around, and so some points might be wrong.

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  1. Snow White Queen on 19 October 2008, 00:32 said:

    thank you thank you thank you for this article!

    it says what i’ve been saying for the longest time: bella swan has no personality. she lives for nothing but edward cullen. quite disturbing, if you ask me.

    however, i don’t think that all self-inserts are bad. if you do them well, and honestly assess your own flaws, then they’re just as realistic as a flesh-and-blood person.

    but as you mentioned, bella has no real flaws. twilight is, essentially, smeyer’s extended fantasy with a sexy vampire.

    speaking of sexy vampires, i don’t like edward much either. if you haven’t read new moon or eclipse, it might not be as clear, but in twilight’s he’s certainly a stalker. in later books, he emotionally abuses and manipulates bella. i’m not saying that she doesn’t deserve it, but it makes my blood boil when twilight is being toted as the ‘ideal romance’.

    and their whole romance is just flat. they just immediately lock eyes and fall in love (well, it takes edward a bit longer). i find that extremely overdone now, and i’m not buying that kind of thing anymore. and also, is playing a game of 20 questions enough to know whether a person is your soulmate?

    i think not.

    (sorry for the long answer. i get vehement when it comes to twilight. people are sometimes surprised- hey, it’s a teenage girl who doesn’t want to marry edward! gasp)

  2. Virgil on 19 October 2008, 08:42 said:

    I’ve read them all, and I’d still rather read about an abusive stalker than luvy-duvy all the time.

  3. SlyShy on 19 October 2008, 12:16 said:

    I’m pretty sure if anyone met Bella in real life, their first instinct would be to slap her across the room. This girl is self-absorbed, “intellectual” in an extremely shallow way, shallow, vacuous, cold, snobby, etc.

    Her personality is terrible. If Edward was at all a real person he would dump her… off a shear cliff, into the Atlantic ocean.

  4. Virgil on 19 October 2008, 12:20 said:

    She threw herself off a cliff… and I almost cheered. Then I realized she was being rescued..

  5. Snow White Queen on 19 October 2008, 12:21 said:

    actually, pacific, since they’re in forks…but yeah. she is extremely shallow…or maybe that’s because smeyer did such a horrible job creating her character.

    the funny thing is, smeyer does all this stuff to try and convince us that bella’s smart (ooh! she read wuthering heights!) but it absolutely fails because of the stupidity of her actions.

  6. Snow White Queen on 19 October 2008, 12:45 said:

    haha i thought she was committing suicide too!

    i distinctly remember thinking ‘YES!!!! at last!!!’

    then she got pulled out by jacob…phooey.

  7. Rhaego on 19 October 2008, 22:34 said:

    I thought the book would have been better if it was written from Eddy’s p.o.v.

    Midnight Sun showed me how wrong I was.

  8. Virgil on 19 October 2008, 22:48 said:

    Yeah, too bad it’s not much of an improvement. At least there’s something under there. Too bad we already know Bella’s side of it, or else it might have been interesting.

  9. Rhaego on 19 October 2008, 22:51 said:

    No, it would not have. The only characters I liked in the entire Twilight universe were Tanya, Kate, and Irina.

    And that was only because they were Succubi.

  10. Virgil on 19 October 2008, 22:57 said:

    Eh, whatever. My favorite character is Aro, but he’s just a flat piece of cardboard too.

  11. Snow White Queen on 20 October 2008, 10:01 said:

    i thought jacob was the ONE character with potential…and then breaking dawn ruined that.

    kind of like murtagh and CP…

  12. Kitty on 21 October 2008, 15:35 said:

    Mary Sues don’t often make me insane. Usually they just make me want to toss the book at a wall. No harm done.

    Bella, however, actually pisses me off so badly that I can’t read the books in close succession without putting them down, taking a deep breath, and maybe watching cartoons for a little while to remind myself that there are good things in the world. She is said to be very smart and mature for her age, but this are just informed characteristics. Through her behavior we notice she is just as idiotic, childish, and insipid as her classmates, and oftentimes even more so.

    Eragon and Arya are terrible characters too, but they don’t inspire the deep loathing that I have for Bella.

    Rant over!

  13. Snow White Queen on 21 October 2008, 19:14 said:

    kitty hit the nail on the head when she said that ‘she is said to be very smart and mature for her age but these are just informed characteristics. through her behavior we notice she is just as idiotic childish and insipid as her classmates, and often even more so.’

    same thing with edward. we’re repeatedly told how perfect he is, how wonderful he is. i might be a weirdo or something, but i don’t think that i’d ever want a significant other who would ban me from seeing one of my close friends and control me in so many other ways.

    not even if he sparkled!

  14. Rhaego on 21 October 2008, 20:05 said:


    I guess that de-rails my proposal…

  15. Snow White Queen on 21 October 2008, 20:30 said:


    haha, nice one! thanks but no thanks

  16. Rhaego on 21 October 2008, 20:32 said:

    Ouch, what was left of my pride. A just can’t get a break these days…

    Wait a minute! What if I said I was rich?

  17. Rhaego on 21 October 2008, 20:33 said:

    I mean, I’m not, but it couldn’t hurt.

  18. Snow White Queen on 21 October 2008, 20:35 said:

    wow, such devotion!

    i feel unworthy.


    but about the whole rich thing…sure, i coudl always use help with my college admissions! (it’s so expensive to get an education nowadays!)

  19. Snow White Queen on 21 October 2008, 20:38 said:

    being rich never hurts.

    or maybe it does…i’ve never really been in a position to know.

  20. Rhaego on 21 October 2008, 20:42 said:

    I have to pay for my own in a couple of years, and it aint cheap, baby.

    I have a huge problem with this issue as well. I could never treat a girl I was in a relationship with like Edward does Bella.

    He is controlling and possesive. And before you go all Rhaego, he’s just that way acause he loooves her, isn’t that the defense of every abusive husband in America?

    If I ever treated a girl that way, I hope my youth pastor/parent/best-friend/random stranger with a bullwhip beat me until the sense sank in.

  21. Snow White Queen on 21 October 2008, 20:44 said:

    rhaego, that’s EXACTLY the point i was making. i’m so glad i’m not the only one who sees it.

    it’s so sickening when you see all these fangirls going around thinking that THIS is the ultimate romance, that this glorified emotional abuse is what love is supposed to be.

    it really makes me sad, because love means respect and trust too, and they don’t seem to see that.

  22. Rhaego on 21 October 2008, 20:51 said:

    I know, which is why I like to give my emotional abuse with a hearty helping of fake-respect and “trust.” :p

    Seriously though, someone could write a whole book about how Bella has dependency issues and intimacy problems, and Edward has some seriously messed up moral compass issues i.e. his resolve to not have premarital sex. This is fine, admirable even, but the moment Bella makes “Sex-Eyes” at him at the very end of Eclipse, he is all like “Eh, it can’t be that bad, why the hell not?” What happened to the religious resolve he had like ten chapters ago?

  23. Snow White Queen on 21 October 2008, 20:59 said:

    well, obviously smeyer wanted her self-insert to have some fun with her fantasy man, never mind the religious ethics she may give her characters.

    that’s why they’re called ‘cardboard characters’.

    speaking of the author’s ‘fantasy man’, it’s rather sad that her vision of a perfect companion is…edward, the manipulative, abusive pseudo-gentleman

  24. Virgil on 21 October 2008, 21:17 said:

    I think I can safely assume she purposely gave Edward faults (what little he has). She has a degree in English, so it’s not Paolini were talking about here.

    Really, the whole perfect relationship thing is a view of the fans. I can easily say she did not mean to make Bella perfect, and maybe purposely made her the way she is. But you never know.

  25. Snow White Queen on 21 October 2008, 21:36 said:

    there’s a difference between giving a character flaws and giving them a completely one-track mind focused on one thing only-edward.

    i like it when character has flaws- for example, scarlett o’hara is a wonderfully developed character. you can imagine her as a real person. she has strengths and weaknesses.

    what substantial weakness does bella have other than she’s clumsy? she rushes thoughtlessly into danger, sure, but she doesn’t seem to be impulsive in any other areas of life unless it’s somehow related to edward. she seems to have no life outside of him.

    and since edward is constantly being placed on a little pedestal by bella’s constant obsession over his ‘godliness’, i get even more annoyed.

    what mistakes does edward make, other than leaving forks in new moon, if that even is a mistake? if you’re looking at it practically, it was a sensible decision to make. (my twilight knowledge is rusty, so i might be forgetting stuff) what big mistakes does bella make?

    they don’t really know much about each other beyond what they’ve learned from a game of 20 questions.

    maybe the reason i dislike bella so much is that her entire thought-process is ‘edward edward edward’, which leads me to get annoyed with him by extension.

  26. Addie on 21 October 2008, 21:51 said:

    You know, when I applied that Mary Sue test linked to Epistle 5 to Edward Cullen, I got a score of 120. And they tell you to “kill it dead” if the character’s score exceeds 50 points. Edward Cullen is so outrageously glorified; even his supposed flaws, like his black temper, are romanticized. And there’s only so many times I can read how velvety-soft his voice is, how golden his eyes, how streamlined his movements. It gets so monotonous. Maybe this is why I don’t like Edward.

  27. Virgil on 21 October 2008, 21:56 said:

    Hey, I’m not against you guys at all. I’m just saying Meyer has more education than Paolini.

  28. Addie on 21 October 2008, 22:07 said:

    Yes, that’s true, isn’t it? Meyer majored in English at Brigham Young University. Paolini never went to college at all. Odd; personally, I’d definitely rank Inheritance above the Twilight series. I find Inheritance mildly interesting, and Twilight sometimes bearable.

  29. Snow White Queen on 21 October 2008, 22:17 said:

    same here. that’s probably because at least i like star wars and lord of the rings, even though it infuriates me to no end that CP ripped it off. however, ripped-off lotr and sw is way better in my book than endless descriptions of ‘smoldering topaz eyes’.

    she may have more education, but she plainly hasn’t learned that most people get bored if you repeat the same description for your super hawt vampire a million times.

    then again, why should she change it? i guess it’s why the books sell anyways…

  30. Essie on 2 November 2008, 01:59 said:

    according to Midnight Sun, its love at first sight for our fave sculpture too ;)

  31. Manic on 6 November 2008, 13:41 said:

    I couldnt agree more with every statement made on this page, but I also can’t help but think that smeyer actually had a good idea with the whole ability thing.

    I mean if theres one thing I love about any book is supernatural abilities. I would personally love to be able to read minds or control the emotions of people, or even just be able to blink and turn out the lights (random I know) Any naysayers??

    But yes I also think that her Mary Sue is just too much of a selfless arrogant person, and shes definatly the dumbest smart person ever to be portrayed, and that really just reflects badly on smeyer herself.

    Also, does no one else think that the werewolves were actually pretty cool? Or shapeshifters or whatever. if you haven’t read past Twilight then w/e, but for those of you who have… c’mon it was a pretty intersting, although predictible, addition.

  32. SubStandardDeviation on 6 November 2008, 14:49 said:

    @ Manic

    Do you mean vampire abilities in general, or the ‘special ability’ each vampire has on top of the regular package?

    Let’s face it, vampires will have supernatural abilities, if only by virtue of being undead. However, SMeyer’s vampires have (from Wikipedia): Super-hawtness (regardless, apparently, of changing fashion trends over 300 years), super-strength, super-sight, super-hearing, super-speed, venomous fangs, eternal youth, near-indestructability, no need to breathe or sleep, no supernatural weaknesses, AND, per vampire, “a certain ability is enhanced, sometimes resulting in a special ability.” It’s ridiculous.

    Not to mention their only weaknesses are: No sense of smell (buy a dog); they must vomit up anything they eat; and when in direct sunlight, they sparkle like a disco ball, which could easily get them killed if there were anything on the planet able to kill them.

    Personally, any mind-altering ability with no practical limit is cheapass, but that’s just me.

  33. Snow White Queen on 6 November 2008, 20:18 said:

    Yeah, the vampires might have been more interesting if they’d actually been allergic to garlic or some weakness. Anything at all!

  34. Virgil on 6 November 2008, 21:36 said:

    They’re weak to manic depressive-ness that just make the story oh so dreadful!

  35. Delzra on 16 December 2008, 01:42 said:

    Vampires: Would be cool if their hearing and sight were normal and if they were slower. The whole strength part is ok as well as their gifts but honestly they are all Mary Sue’s/Gary Stu’s.

    Shape Shifters: Good but they have anger management issues that are rewarded with a good thing. Plain wrong.

    Bella: Shallow, one-minded, uninteresting, just plain bland. Her stubbornness is mistaken for bravery and her only “love” that isn’t unhealthy is possibly the one between her and her immediate family.

    Edward: Just ugh. Reminds me of a possessive ex boyfriend that wrote like Paolini.

    Then we never see character development… anywhere really. It was painful reading them all just to say there was a bit of ok suspense at the end that lead nowhere.

  36. Lewer95 on 22 January 2009, 23:12 said:

    ‘They ‘fawn’ over her, another fact the author mentions happened to her when she got to college.’

    yeah, why do i doubt that…

  37. Musiclover on 17 January 2010, 14:52 said:

    Actually if Bella was a real live person I would probably be friends with her because I kind of think that she’s just misunderstood to be honest but I’m sure all of you disagree with me so be free to argue with me.

  38. Virgil on 17 January 2010, 18:07 said:

    Much easier to point out arguments would work better with proper grammar. If you want to hang out with a shell of a person, go right on ahead.

  39. trust.myheartandsoul on 23 June 2010, 10:55 said:

    To sum it all, Twilight saga is too much of a “perfect” story with perfect charcters, which will never exist in real life.

    Girls really shouldn’t expect their boyfriends/ themselves to be as perfect as the Twilight couples…

  40. trust.myheartandsoul on 11 July 2010, 09:40 said:

    But then again, perhaps the author to twilight meant it to be so, because it’s a children’s book. And children’s books, most of the time, are intended to have good endings, unrealistic situations, perfect characters, etc.

  41. Puppet on 11 July 2010, 09:47 said:

    …The Twilight Saga is a children’s book? Guess I must have just imagined that scene where, you know, Edward gives Bella a C-section with his teeth and all the other stuff.

  42. trust.myheartandsoul on 13 February 2011, 04:46 said:

    @Puppet: I read that too. Disgusting.
    Ok, for the Correction:
    Twilight Saga is a Children’s HORROR book!

  43. maria janice jarito on 18 January 2013, 04:42 said:

    eh….yeah ,i agree with snow white at first but then it`s okay `coz jacob will be paired with bella`s daughter anyway…maybe much more better than bella`s ‘selflessness’…hmmm….hehe i`m glad i`ve found this site…yeah bella`s `personality` is quite disturbing for me,you know, as a girl i want her to be intellegent ,wise and not easily be manipulated in other words i want her to control her feelings…you know something like that…..