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Bella’s Transformation from Human to Vampire (Literal, Ant Level Transformation)

(For an explanation of “ant level” and “cloud level” perspectives, see the link for “Fate and Destiny” http://twilightsagaarchetypes.com/fate-and-destiny/.)


Bella knows, and totally embraces, early in the series that physical transformation is her destiny, and she is not afraid of it.  In fact, for most of the series, she is completely focused on the physical transformation as the only aspect of her destiny — it never occurs to her that her destiny would continue to unfold beyond the physical transformation, which of course it does, but more on that later.  While Bella embraces her destiny of physical transformation, the problem is she wants immortality on her terms and her timetable (remember her prom night, then her plan for graduation?), but we cannot control the terms and timetable of when or how destiny ultimately unfolds. 

We can only control our choices when presented with destiny, not the timing of destiny itself, so until it was revealed to her, she had to wait for it. Like her character trying to orchestrate when and how destiny would unfold, all of us can relate to her with times in our lives when we feel “if only this would happen, and now,” but all we are doing is creating chaos and suffering in our lives by trying to manipulate and control at the ant level what we cannot control at the cloud level.  I am convinced this is at least part of why so many people are so passionate about the series because we feel destiny coming for the characters, making its presence more and more announced, but until the timing is absolutely perfect, it kills us to wait for it (as is often true with destiny in our own lives).

Returning to Bella’s foiled attempts to dictate the timing of destiny and her physical transformation — after she marries and consummates her relationship with Edward per their mutual terms on those matters, she starts to rethink the timing of her physical transformation by imagining it can wait a year or two.  She starts backpedaling on her original haste to leave the human world, and she, again, starts trying to put her own terms and timetables on her destiny based on her personal preferences and perceived conveniences. Ultimately, however, destiny unfolds as it was meant to, without Bella’s conscious orchestration of her unplanned and thought-to-be impossible pregnancy and the would-be-fatal delivery; and only then did her physical transformation (as part of her destiny) take place — not because she decided when, where and under what circumstances, but because all of the necessary elements came together and revealed themselves at the junction of destiny’s timetable. 

To clarify the use of the words fate versus destiny again, it is important to note Bella’s choices are almost never based on fear — she does not make choices limiting her to fate, while so many of the rest of us (and the Twilight characters) do.  She is always inspired by what she knows is her destiny (in this example, her physical transformation), and her choices always lead her in that direction, but not until the right combination of circumstances came together did her destiny with regard to her physical transformation ultimately come to fruition.

Bella’s Archetypal Transformation (Cloud Level Transformation)

The preceding section addresses Bella’s physical, literal transformation (the ant level) from human to vampire.  This is not her only transformation, though.  The story also presents a beautiful example of archetypal evolution at the cloud level. All of us experience this in our lives, perhaps with different archetypes than Bella’s, but we all have archetypes that grow and stretch with personal experience as our lives unfold.   Bella has many rich and exquisite archetypes, including the Martyr archetype, the Hermit, the Mother, and the Adult Child, all of which will be dissected in detail later, but one particular series of archetypes reflects transformation of her overall character.  

We first come to know Bella as a somewhat awkward, clumsy girl.  She seems vulnerable to stumbling over her own feet and seems perpetually in need of rescue.  Remember the many early examples of tripping in class, dropping her books, dropping her keys, tripping over logs and rocks, becoming dizzy at the sight and smell of blood (not clumsiness, but still a form of vulnerability), the run-in with thugs in Port Angeles, her hatred for dancing, her near-accident with Tyler’s van (not due to her own clumsiness, but one of many occasions in which she needed to be rescued).  The list of examples of her vulnerability could go on and on, but the point is we as readers are made to understand that Bella’s perception of herself is that of a klutz and someone who perpetually finds herself in vulnerable, if not dangerous, situations.  All of these instances point to the archetype of the Damsel in Distress.  This archetype will be discussed in more detail later, but Bella’s transformation includes her Damsel in Distress later evolving into the Princess, and then later, finally, into the Queen.  Her Queen archetype, once it emerges, is graceful, elegant and strong.  She does not need protecting; she herself is a protector; and she rules over her abilities with grace, beauty and rock-solid precision and perfection.  She even has her own miniature stone castle to complete the literal imagery of the archetypal evolution from Damsel in Distress, to Princess, to Queen.

Bella’s heart is the last part of her literal, physical body (ant level) to go through the transformation from mortal to immortal, but from the cloud level-perspective, her heart is the last step in her transformation to the mystic.  She describes the torturous agony and pain involved in the last step as she waits for her heart to be consumed by what feels like an inferno’s flames.  At the cloud level, though, the heart is the key to true surrender to the Divine and true transformation from terrified (paralyzed) human being to liberated soul.   It is through the heart that we feel and love and engage the Universe, and only when the heart is completely and irrevocably consumed by the flames of passion and transformation can we be liberated from mere mortal to mystic.   In Bella’s world, at the ant level her heart’s transformation marked the death of her physical body and her birth as an immortal, and at the cloud level the death of her human need for explanations and the birth of her acceptance of God’s will.

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