On one thing, Charlie is right: Bella shouldn’t date Edward Cullen. What Charlie doesn’t know in the Twilight books is Edward’s too old for Bella. Much, much too old. He’s lived about 104 years; she is 17 or 18. Therefore, simple math states: Edward Cullen is 86 or 87 years her senior. His physical age means nothing; his actual age – his mental age – renders him an unsuitable boyfriend. The only possible way for them to have a healthy relationship is for Bella to become a vampire and live her own life – sans the Cullens – for a hundred years or so. By then she should have matured to a point where her mental age, though still less than Edward’s, should be ‘adult’.
Historically, Edward has endured hardship beyond Bella’s imagining. World War I. World War II. The Great Depression. Plagues, hysterias, rationing, the McCarthy era. Witnessed hatred, selfishness, selflessness, and pity. Edward Cullen understands the human condition, even as a vampire, better than a shallow 17 year old human could hope. The worst Bella has endured, prior to meeting the Cullens, was moving from Arizona to rainy Washington. The most Bella can imagine regarding their differences is how many times the vampire’s graduated high school.
He lived History class, Bella, rendering him Too Old. Edward Cullen thinks about Bella’s soul. Bella thinks about how much she doesn’t want to go to prom. The differences are phenomenal. Frankly, I can’t see what he would see in her, why he would want her, beyond her delicious smell. Is it all just about physical attraction, Edward? I thought better of you.
In comparison to Edward or any of the Cullens, Bella is a baby. Dating Edward, or marrying him, is unthinkable. And then they live together forever…so that Edward can shape her into his ideal woman. She’s young; she’s impressionable. She can become anything Edward Cullen has ever wanted. It’s no different than the arranged marriages practiced in ancient China or Medieval Europe between pre-pubescent girls and middle-aged men. Why do we get so disgusted at that idea, but approve and applaud if one of the newlyweds is a vampire?
Others may be fooled by the glamour and the glitter, but I see you, Edward Cullen: an opportunist preying upon an unsuspecting young woman. One too young to understand that this relationship is unhealthy, or that the interests best served by such a relationship are yours. But hasn’t that always been the way with vampire kind? Take what you desire from humans with no thought to their well being?
Edward disappears when he decides it’s time, the Cullens all disappear. Edward calls the shots, controls the whole picture and Bella can only struggle against the tide when Edward has made up his mind. For all he’s portrayed otherwise, Edward selfishly manipulates even Bella to his whims. He wouldn’t be so adept at it if he were playing with the same handicap as she – the handicap of inexperience.
Charlie sees it intuitively; Charlie doesn’t approve. But daughters seldom listen.