Bloody Vegetarians in Twilight
by Chantel Gillus
In the vampire world, there isn’t much eating going on—the feasting of human food I mean. Since vampires drink blood for their nourishment, there isn’t an appeal to human food. Although in the film, Twilight (Catherine Hardwicke 2008), eating human food is a way for the vampiric Cullens to conceal their identity. Otherwise, their usual habit of feasting is drinking the blood of animals. The Cullen family consists of Carlise Cullen (Peter Facinelli), Esme Cullen (Elizabeth Reaser), Emmett Cullen (Kellan Lutz), Rosalie Hale (Nikki Reed), Jasper Hale (Jackson Rathbone), Alice Cullen (Ashley Greene), and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson).
Carlisle and Esme are married, and the rest of the clan act as their adopted children. Being that they don’t age, they hop from one town to another, with the Cullen “kids” attending high school and later graduating, so their immortality doesn't become suspicious to the locals. Their current high school in the film is the real-life Forks High School in Forks, Washington, where Edward meets his future lover, Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart). 17-year-old Bella is a new student, coming from living with her mother Renée Dwyer (Sarah Clarke) in Phoenix, Arizona, to now living with her father Charlie Swan (Billy Burke) in Forks.
When Bella first sees Edward and his fellow Cullen siblings in the cafeteria, she is immediately intrigued by the mysterious and strange Edward. When the Cullens go to their designated table, secluded from the rest of the humans, the only foods they’re seemingly eating are veggies, boiled eggs, water, soda, and an apple. The light consumption of food is a ploy to conform amongst the humans and control their appetite for the human blood surrounding them. The cafeteria is filled with food they can’t eat. It’s like a kid in a candy store packed with delicious sweets, but their parents tell them they can’t buy nor eat any.
Later, Edward sees Bella in biology class, but he is painfully engulfed with the scent of her sweet blood. It's painful to him because he and his family are “vegetarians” in the vampire community; they can only consume animal blood, rather than human blood. Bella’s blood is something Edward desperately wants, but he isn’t allowed to drink it or it’ll break he and his family’s moral code. Therefore, he must restrain himself from giving into his inner animal instincts and protect his identity as feasting on Bella could possibly blow the Cullens’ cover.
Bella could become the first of many human victims to fall prey to a vampire. If too many humans turn up dead, it can cause hysteria; both in the human and vampire world. Vampires are instructed to maintain a balance when it comes to drinking human blood because killing too many humans can risk not only exposing the Cullen family, but other covens too, according to the Volturi. The Volturi coven is the coven of all covens; they are considered both royalty and the government amongst vampires, and they are the ones who delegate the rules. Those who pose a threat to the safety of vampires will reap the consequences, whether it be human or vampire, and be killed by the Volturi.
The Cullens' eating habits are to protect them and those around them. They wouldn’t be able to resist themselves from feasting upon the humans in their high school, let alone their town, if they weren’t "vegetarians." Bella, especially, would be the first food item on Edward’s grocery list. Their ability to consume little to no human food and animal blood is an attempt at self-discipline and survival. However, their will power is challenged after Bella’s arrival to Forks. They considered themselves "vegetarians," yet their thirst for blood still lingers.
Twilight. Dir. Catherine Hardwicke. Perf. Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner.
Amazon Prime, 2008. Streaming.
Picture Citation: “The ‘Twilight Saga’s Legacy’: The Good, the Bad, and the Sparkly • the Daily
Fandom.” The Daily Fandom, thedailyfandom.org/twilight-saga-legacy/. Accessed 24 Oct. 2023.