Breaking Dawn: Imprinting Deconstructed

23 Nov

By Littlebells

In Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, Jacob (who can shape-shift into a wolf) discusses how wolf pack members find their mate.  Jacob discusses what imprinting is to Bella Swan early in the series, but it is in Breaking Dawn Part 1 that we see imprinting in action.

When a shape-shifter imprints on a specific human of the opposite gender, he becomes unconditionally bound her for the rest of his life. When it happens, the experience is described as being pulled toward that person, while a glowing heat fills him; the connections of everything else become severed, or simply secondary, and only the imprintee is left to matter, leaving the shape-shifter with a deep need to do anything to please and protect her…It is unknown whether the shape-shifter could go one day without being in contact with his imprintee, the separation involved potentially causing both of them pain. What would happen if a wolf was rejected by his imprintee is also unknown, though this is assumed to be almost impossible; the imprinter is deemed to be the “perfect match” to the imprintee; he will be anything she may want or need, making rejection extremely unlikely. Should it happen, the imprinter may feel unspeakable pain, but he will still respect her decision.[1]

The issue that many fans had with Jacob’s imprinting on his future life partner was she was a baby when it occurred.  A lot felt this was pedophilia while others said it wasn’t a romantic love at that point, but a love of a brother and protector.  According to imprinting there are different stages, particularly if one imprints on a child:

Stage one: the shape-shifter will act as an older sibling

Stage two: as the imprintee gets older, the shape-shifter becomes the best friend

Stage three: feelings begin to change to more romantic notions

Stage four: when the imprintee is old enough, the feelings become more romantic/sexual

Now that you have been educated in S. Meyer Imprinting 101, let’s take a look at imprinting outside the world of fantasy

What is Imprinting?

Imprinting is a phenomenon that occurs mostly in animals.  Yes it does happen in humans, but we will get to that a bit later.  In studying animals, such as geese and baby chicks, the first object they have visual, auditory, or tactile experience becomes their “mama”. [2]

There are men and women who believe there is only one person in this world you can find happiness, while others believe that there are several people you can be happy and compatible.  There are different theories and debates about how one finds their partner.  Unlike Meyer’s definition (solely for the purpose of her story), human beings generally have to jump into the dating pool and “kiss a few frogs” before finding their love.  Some know right away they are meant to be together and others take longer to decide that this is the person they want to be with.  There is more free will in picking a mate.  However, at the foundation of this search for the one, there is a degree of imprinting.

According to Harville Hendrix, PhD:

In recent years, scientists from various disciplines have labored to deepen our understanding of romantic love, and valuable insights have come from each area of research. Some biologists contend that there is a certain “bio-logic” to courtship behavior. According to this broad, evolutionary view of love, we instinctively select mates who will enhance the survival of the species. Men are drawn to classically beautiful women – ones with clear skin, bright eyes, shiny hair, good bone structure, red lips, and rosy cheeks – not because of fad or fashion but because these qualities indicate youth and robust health, signs that a woman is in the peak of her childbearing years.

Women select mates for slightly different biological reasons.  Because youth and physical health aren’t essential to the male reproductive role, women instinctively favor mates with pronounced ‘alpha’ qualities…that ensure the survival of the family group.”[3]

There is also the “exchange theory” which says people pick mates that are more or less similar to them and the “persona theory” where we pick a lover that enhances our self-esteem.

What is interesting about Meyer’s take on imprinting, is if the imprinter is rejected, there is no one else he can select as a mate.  That is extremely sad and limiting.  So in essence, here are some things to ponder regarding this theory: is it fair that only the imprintee gets free will to choose?  Is it a form a manipulation on the imprinter to woo and charm the imprintee? If imprinting did exist like this, who imprints: only men?  Only women? Every other person born into the world?  What if you don’t imprint till you are 95?  Would you want to imprint? Would you rather choose whom you pick as a life mate or would you rather have it already predetermined for you?

Also see- What is the Value of the Twilight Comic Books?

Please join us for a open discussion this Wednesday 11/23/2011 through Friday 11/25/2011. 

19 Responses to “Breaking Dawn: Imprinting Deconstructed”

  1. 4string November 23, 2011 at 9:36 AM #

    This is a really good article and informative. Didn’t know the stuff about animals. Neat.

    • littlebells November 23, 2011 at 10:56 AM #

      Thank you 4string! Yeah I really learned a lot researching this. Always happy to see you here. 🙂

      • Open Book November 25, 2011 at 1:12 PM #

        ITA! with 4strings LB. Very informative and well researched article.

        • Littlebells November 25, 2011 at 5:07 PM #

          Thank you OB. 🙂 I had fun even though I think some people take this imprinting thing way too seriously.

  2. comic relief November 23, 2011 at 2:01 PM #

    I agree, a very great job with the research for the article. Very informative; I wondered whether Stephanie Myers notions regarding imprinting was influenced by animals, and it appears most wolves are monogamous.

    • Littlebells November 24, 2011 at 1:50 PM #

      Thanks CR!

      I have tried forever trying to figure out what this “imprinting” feels like, especially since it’s with a baby and well…I figured it probably is like the bond that is formed between parents and their children. It’s a love you can’t explain and you would do anything for them and they become your priority.

      Anyone else out there with me on this????? hahahah!!!!

      It’s so weird. The imprinting.

  3. Littlebells November 24, 2011 at 11:20 PM #

    Screw imprinting– You just need basic math!!!

    • Open Book November 25, 2011 at 12:42 PM #

      This is great…..LOL!!

  4. Open Book November 25, 2011 at 1:08 PM #


    The imprinting between Jacob and Renessme was always cringe worthy to me. I can’t even begin to try to understand it.

    Yet, in my moment of reflection on this subject. I was thinking what if u imprinted on twins? Would u have two people to satisfy? What if u made a mistake and imprinted on the wrong one. Do u get a do over? LOL!!

    Seriously, I think the whole idea is rediculous. I do beleive people should date a number of people before settling down. Especially in this day and age. I think in the past women were quick to settle down because society placed pressure on them to have a husband if they wanted children. However today women can choose to have a family without having a husband or choose not have children. So women can play the field and date alot of frogs just like men, which I think is great!!

    • Littlebells November 25, 2011 at 5:10 PM #

      OMG!! That would be horrible!!! Would you want to share your man with your sibling? Ewwww!!!!! I’m grossed out right now! hahaha!!!!

      I like your comments and have to say the main theme is free will and choice. I would hate to have some guy imprint on me, not be wooed by his charms, and then feel like crap because now he will never ever be able to “mate” with anyone else.

      The part about the whole Jacob/Renesmee thing for me was the fact that it was Bella’s baby. Of course it was!!! Heaven forbid everything NOT work out for everyone! What’s funny is I had a friend who made a prediction as to what she thought BD would be about before it even came out. She called it to the “T” and so as I was reading, I was thinking, “No way! She called it!” When they got to the part where Bella got pregnant I about chucked my book across the room because I KNEW SHE WAS GOING TO BE RIGHT ABOUT THE IMPRINTING. No those are not shouty caps, just over emotional ones. 🙂

      • Open Book November 27, 2011 at 1:36 PM #

        Did u read the comments to the article u posted above? They are very interesting to read as well.

      • Open Book November 28, 2011 at 3:02 PM #

        LB U Said: “the main theme is free will and choice. I would hate to have some guy imprint on me, not be wooed by his charms”

        Yeah! The imprinting thing and curious people are not mutually compatible. So u and I are safe!!LOL!!

  5. Kerriann November 29, 2011 at 8:13 PM #

    AFAICT you’ve cvroeed all the bases with this answer!

    • Littlebells November 29, 2011 at 8:42 PM #

      Hi Kerriann!

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂 What are your thoughts about imprinting?

  6. Andre Stoey December 10, 2011 at 1:51 AM #

    I genuinely enjoy examining on this website , it holds great articles . “Wealth and children are the adornment of life.” by Koran.

  7. Littlebells December 10, 2011 at 4:42 PM #

    So I still have yet to write up my BD review, but I wanted to say this here since it’s on topic:

    Bill Condon did a very tasteful job with the imprinting. I noticed that he chose to focus on an older Renesmee instead of a baby, which was a wise choice and made it less bleh. Also, I’m glad that they had Jacob saying he thought it was sick that the imprintees had it in their genes to accept the imprinter, or something like that…

    • Comic Relief December 11, 2011 at 2:02 PM #

      I agree with your assessment LB, but I also thought Condon did a good job by having Jacob use the imprinting as a sacrificial shield to keep the Wolves from attacking Renesmee.

      In the book Myers poorly defined the imprinting process as this quasi-spirtual-instinctual process that was neither directed by the imprinter or imprintee. Condon gave this event some baring on the story, purpose and ultimately makes Jacob a kind of hero in the process, (at least until we see the next event in this story).

  8. Sarina Rainwater December 17, 2011 at 3:50 PM #

    I like this blog very much so much superb info.

    • Littlebells December 17, 2011 at 5:33 PM #

      So glad you dropped by! 🙂

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