Bella Swan external image kristen_bella_swan_twilight_new_moon.jpg

Ashley Beckerman


Bella Swan is a character created by Stephenie Meyer in her Twilight saga books and films. The “Twilight” series is also written in Bella’s point of view, therefore, making her the main character and also one of the protagonists of the story. "Bella is described as being clumsy and stubborn. She has a private mind, which is thought to be why Edward is unable to hear her thoughts. She is also said to be a terrible liar, but occasionally demonstrates good acting ability" (Wikipedia).Bella’s character is portrayed in the four different books of the series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.
The story of Bella’s character begins in Twilight when she moves to live with her father in Forks, Washington. She then meets to mysterious Cullen family and falls in love with Edward Cullen. However, although he returns her love, things start to get complicated when she learns that the Cullens are vampires. The excitement continues as she becomes the prey of another vampire and is saved by Edward and his family. The first book concludes with Bella asking Edward to turn her into a vampire so that she, as well as him and his family, will be safe from harm, however, Edward denies her request.
The second book, New Moon, picks up with Edward and his family leaving Forks after an accident attack by Jasper Cullen (one of Edward’s brothers). Bella spends most of her time in this book depressed and completely shut out from the rest of the world. She seems to mourn his leave for the first half of the book. Bella starts to come out of her depression when she starts hanging out with Jacob, a childhood friend who has a slight crush on her. After riding motorcycles with Jacob she soon learns that she can see visions of Edward when she puts herself in danger, and therefore is constantly putting herself in life threatening situations in order to even catch a glimpse of him. She also finds out that her life is about to become more complex when she learns that Jacob is a werewolf, and that vampires and werewolves are sworn enemies. This new knowledge becomes even more exciting when Edward comes home and Bella chooses to go back with him instead of be with Jacob. It is a clear choice for her and she even says, “Jake, I love you. But don’t make me choose, because it will be him. It’s always been him” (Polyvere).
The third part of the saga, Eclipse, resumes our love story with Bella once again being in between Edward and Jacob. Although Edward tells her that it is too dangerous for her to hang out with him, she tells him that neither Jacob nor his pack would ever harm her, and she begins to visit Jacob from time to time. Meanwhile Bella once again is put into danger when an evil vampire creates an army of new vampires to seek revenge on Bella. Edward then decides to propose to Bella, and even though she has been against marriage from the start, she accepts. To keep everyone safe, the werewolves and vampires join forces to fight off the army of new vampires. However, when Jacob learns that Bella is engaged to Edward he gets extremely upset, and Bella decides to kiss him to comfort him, but comes to realize that she is in love with Jacob as well. Bella once again explains to Jacob that although she loves him, that she loves Edward more. At the end of the book Jacob runs away to escape from the hurt he feels from not being chosen.
The finale of the series, Breaking Dawn, consists to Edward and Bella getting married and Bella getting pregnant. After a quick pregnancy and giving birth to a fast-growing baby vampire, Bella is in a fragile state and in order to save her life Edward turns her into a vampire. When turned into a vampire she realizes that she possesses special abilities including her ability to shield herself and those around her from the powers of other vampires Although more exciting events occur in this series, these are the most important facts needed to understand the character of Bella Swan.

Neo-Analytic Perspective

In the field of Personality Psychology, the approach that is concerned with the individual’s sense of self is called the Neo-Analytic approach. Alfred Alder really portrayed the beliefs of the Neo-Analytic approach in his theory of Individual Psychology which stresses the different and unique motivations of people and the importance of each individual’s position in society. One of the ideas proposed by Adler is that the “central core of personality is the striving for superiority” (BOOK). Considering this idea, Adler might argue that Bella has developed an inferiority complex, which is explained as a person’s inflated feelings of personal incompetence that concludes from a devastating sense of helplessness or some experience which makes them feel powerless. Adler might believe that Bella has developed an inferiority complex because of how she feels when she is unable to protect herself. Throughout the “Twilight” saga Bella is constantly getting herself into dangerous situations that she tries to handle by herself. However, she is never able to completely take care of herself and therefore must always be saved by others. In Twilight she tries to James (an evil vampire) alone, but finds herself being rescued by Edward. She constantly has to be rescued and therefore holds a feeling of helplessness knowing that she is unable to protect herself. In New Moon, when Laurant (another vampire) comes back to harm her she doesn’t even try to fight back because she has already realized that she is unable to protect herself without the help of others, so instead she runs away. This example shows that after failing in one experience, she felt like trying to succeed in the second experience wasn’t even worth trying for.
Adler might also argue that Bella fits into the ancient Greek typology as someone who is phlegmatic. A person who is phlegmatic tends to seem conforming and apathetic to others on the outside, but on the inside is really tense and distressed. Bella could be seen as phlegmatic because she seems to conform to what people want, but on the inside is always feeling tense and upset. An example of this is when Edward leaves her in New Moon. After Edward leaves, she conforms by pretending that she has gotten over it by hanging out with friends, but truthfully, inside she is still completely torn about him leaving. Throughout the series Bella is constantly tense and distressed inside whether if it is deciding to be with Jacob or Edward, or hiding her knowledge that the Cullens are vampires, or if it is hiding her feelings about Edward. However, she always seems to conform to whatever is going on in the outside world and keep her true feelings and self inside. In general, the neo-analytic approach to personality is good for describing Bella’s character because it focuses on the impact that others can have on personality as well as the struggles that occur when a person tries to deal with emotions and drives on the inside and still deal with the demands of those on the outside.

Trait and Skill Perspective

The trait approach to personality psychology uses a small amount of adjectives to scale as well as describe people. Carl Jung actually helped launch the trait approach in his use of the terms introversion and extroversion. These two terms are measured by means of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator which consists of three different scales. The first is the sensation-intuition scale, followed by the thinking-feeling scale, and lastly the judgment-perception scale.
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Bella would be considered an introvert. Bella is very quiet and doesn’t really hang out in large groups of people, but instead prefers to hang out with a smaller crowd, or in most cases only one person at a time. On the first scale Bella would be classified as more prone to score high on realism. Although the entire series consists of the supernatural, Bella seems to be living in the real world instead of some imagination. Instead of imagining how things could be, she seems to accept how things are including the real fact that Edward is a vampire, and that Jacob is a werewolf, and that they are sworn enemies. The only thing that makes her lean a bit to the imagination side is her desire to be turned into a vampire herself. On the second scale Bella would be highly on the personal and subjective side. Although she seems to care for those around her, she seems completely involved in doing anything to keep Edward with her, and because she is surrounded by the supernatural she is definitely more subjective because nothing about her life is objective or certain, and she has to rely on other things besides facts to see the world around her. Lastly, Bella is more prone to perceiving things rather than evaluating them because her view of things is very flexible and she is more interested in perceiving a person or a situation than she is on evaluating it. In the Twilight saga, she doesn’t evaluate that Edward is a vampire or that Jacob is a werewolf, instead she is more interested in recognizing and actually seeing them for what they are.
Another large part of the trait approach is the Big Five, which consist of traits including extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Based on these traits, Bella would be considered a highly introverted because she tends to be on the quieter, shy side which is shown throughout the films and especially in
Twilight when she acts Eric (a boy from school) not to write an article about her for the school paper. Bella is also high on agreeableness because she rarely fights with anyone and is always pretty calm, and cooperative. Although she is shy, Bella is friendly and warm to those around her. How Bella is portrayed in the films and books, she seems to be more impulsive than conscientious. She seems to be careless and undependable rather than cautious and dependable. There are a lot of examples of this in New Moon, when Bella becomes careless about what happens to her in order to see visions of Edward, such as when she jumped on the back of an unknown motorcyclist or when she went cliff diving, or when she tries to ride a motorcycle herself (as the video below displays). These actions also make Bella a highly neurotic person because she is unable to handle her emotions calmly, but instead is tense, moody, and high-strung. She also seems to be very low when it comes to openness because she isn’t creative at all, but instead her character and everything about her seems plain and simple. She doesn’t do anything creative and doesn’t even choose her own dress for prom (in fact she doesn’t even want to go)!


Stephenie Meyer created an extremely interesting character in Bella Swan. Bella was meant to represent an average girl who falls in love with a vampire. Meyer definitely succeeded in making Bella a character that a lot of girls could relate to, while also making her someone girls wish they could be. Although Adler might see Bella as developing the inferiority complex, she seems to know exactly who she is and what she wants in life. She is a very determined character who loves deeply and unfortunately is hurt just as easily. The Big Five model might have found her to be a very introverted, agreeable, and careless, but Bella can also be seen as a “ready for anything” type of girl who is always ready to do anything to get the man of her dreams.


"Bella and Jacob Motorcycle Scene."
Bella Swan. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2010, from
Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2009). Personality: classic theories and modern research. Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.
Polyvore. (n.d.). 394. “Jake, I love you…” New Moon. Fashion Trends and Styles.