The Twilight Saga

What Was Carlisle's Relationship With His Father Like. And What Significance Did The Cullen Cross Hold For Him?

What Was Carlisle's Relationship With His Father Like. And What Significance Did The Cullen Cross Hold For Him?



  Sincerely, Doc B




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I imagine his father was very strict and he inforced his religion on his son. I think Carlisle was most likely really eagar to please him. He didn't want to be a sinner in his father's eyes. I think that's why he doesn't kill. He's still trying to prove himself to his father.
even LONG after his father passed away. even if his dad passed, Carlisle is still alive and he still thrives to be a better person. His father had this strict religion beliefs that he hoped his son would take over but I have a feeling Carlisle didn't want to be a priest or whatever... but he truly didn't want to be "evil" like those others in that era so he had decided to be the good vampire. :)

Dear KB,

I agree I think that Carlisle's father was very strict. Understanding Carlisle and his father's relationship, of course is the key to understanding the Carlisle, that we have all come to know and love. You make a superb point. As boys turn into men they traditionally try to be accepted in their father's eyes.

I think that Carlisle and his father were very different men. And as Stephanie told us at first they both held similar religious beliefs. What we believe powerfully affects what kind of woman or man we are.

Thank you for sharing, Doc
Bear Story:

I think that what happened to Carlisle's belief system was provably very similar to what happened to John Wesley. Wesley (the father of the Methodist Church) belonged to the same church that Carlisle's father did. And like Carlise he was a very sensitive man. He wanted to have a close relationship with God. But the more he tried to live a Christian life, the more miserable he became. Because all that he could focus on were his failures. At the end of each day, all that he could think about were the times that he had fallen short of following God's laws.

Then one night he went to a bible study meeting. One that he very much didn't want to attend. His group studied and discussed a verse from Paul's letter to the Romans. (Interestingly it was one of the same verses that changed Martin Luther's life) To paraphrase the verse it said "What you do in life, has nothing to do with God's acceptance of you. God's acceptance, and love of you, totally comes from his grace. (Grace is God's love of all woman and men. It is freely given and all that you need to do is simply accept it..."Amazing Grace") Wesley said that as he walked home, he felt a "warmth in my Chest," as he realized that everything in his life had changed. (PP) Stephanie tells us that something similar happened to Carlise. Quote "Carlisle's beliefs had already started to change from his father's.
God's Grace to Wesley and Carlisle meant that now they were totally accepted and loved. And that meant that both of them were totally free to simply go through life LOVING.

And that is how the Carlisle, that we all came to love, came into being. He simply loves others and life. And that is why he can instantly forgive Edward or himself (et all). He can even regret destroying the monster James.
Well, in the book we read that Carlisle's father was a very religious and strict man..he believed in the superstition of his time..I don't think he was very kind to his son. But maybe his strict education has contributed to give Carlisle his values, such as respect for human life, sense of committment,ect. I think that following his father's rules has been a training for Carlisle when he imposed himself the "rule" of not killing people. I feel the cross is still a symbol of Christianity for Charlisle, but especially something that makes him hope in a life after death, because even if he's a vampire he's still "carrying his cross". Bye :-)
What Was Carlisle's Relationship With His Father Like. And What Significance Did The Cullen Cross Hold For Him?

I think Carlisle"s father was very strict, he wanted Carlisle to follow in his footsteps, so I am sure that ment a lot of religion taught to Carlisle. I am sure Carlisle wanted to be free from the reign of his father, yet longed for his father to love and respect his decisions. I kinda imagine Carlisle as an oppisite as his father. All that Carlisle is as a father figure is what he wanted as a child from his father, as his father lacked it.
The Cullen cross is signifigant because Carlisle believes there is a place for them in heaven. That if they can make up for thier wrongs, thier soul remains in tact and they will have a place in the afterlife. It also is a reminder of his pre-vampire life, and father. I think he still wants to please his father.....and trying to be a morally sound vampire is what he is trying to do, to accomplish this.
Dear Renesme's Mother,

You make great points.
I think that Carlisle did strive to be the "father" his own father never could be. As he said about Bella "She is MY BELOVED daughter."

And I think that you are right. I feel that Carlisle did believe in an after life. One that he felt he would be sharing with his WHOLE family.

Thanks for sharing,Doc
A Bear Time story:

Does it matter if Carlisle is a Christian?
I don't think so. Our Christian beliefs are very important to Stephie and me. We believe in a God of Love. The Saga doesn't tell us if Carlisle remained a Christian. But he tells us that: "I never quit believing." There is a wonderful book out called "A light from many lamps."
Title : A book named a light from many lamps (Amazon)

It is a collection of beautiful inspiring passages from all of the major religions and philosophies of the world. And it shows that all men and women are drawn to love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Carlisle's beliefs, to me, are one of the reasons that the Saga is so perfect for all of the peoples of the world. As "The Buddha" might have said, "May the force be with you" (Luke, Carlisle, Bella or who ever you are)
Thanks, as always, for sharing with us. Sincerely Doc
Bear Time Story Continued: (Paraphrased)
Once upon a time the disciples of a teacher named Jesus came to him with a question. They said. "Master we have a problem. There are others who are preaching. But how do we know if their teachings are good or bad. Jesus answered: "YOU SHALL KNOW THEM BY THE FRUITS OF THEIR LABOR"

Moral of the story: If their beliefs are derived from a loving diety (or belief system) then their "fruits," their lives, shall be loving and beautiful (as Carlisle Cullen's are) But if it is not, it may be the opposite, as Aro's were. .
Title; "What a joy to see you!..

The relationship between Carlisle and his father was probably that of the obedient son to his father. It is hard to determine if this is really true; religion & its many issues brought upon the populace of England in the 1640's...actually since Henry VIII's reign..caused a ton of upheaval and problems for the commoners of that day. If Carlisle's father was an Anglican priest in the 1640's then he was on the side of the Government. The problem is that the British King at the time was Charles 1st who leaned heavily towards Catholicism even though the King/Queen of England was also the head of The Anglican Church and believed in the divine right of kings (which is a contradiction of sorts since Catholics put their allegiance with The Pope before any other governing body.) Anyhoo..there was a lot of political strife going on during the years Carlisle was human in England..before he was "changed". Charles I shut down Parliament, bloody battles (no pun intended) resulted from disputes going on between the Puritans and any other groups of people who were not devoted to the Puritan way of life. Puritans believed that they were despised by Anglicans. Be that as it may Puritans fought the Anglican Church/King Charles I (Head of Anglican Church)Oliver Cromwell, one of the foremost leaders against the King and Anglican Church, successfully tried King Charles I and had him beheaded.
In the midst of all this war and chaos you have Carlisle and his Dad, an Anglican Minister... I think Carlisle's father pulled his family very close to him in times of trouble like any normal family would do..except that Carlisle's father was a minister which could have put him and his family in harms way. His father was supposedly very strict and hunted down anything he considered 'evil": vampires,'s not hard to believe that level of hysteria when your King has been beheaded (practically unheard of), the Royal family has gone into hiding on the Continent and when everyone around you is suspicious and going off to wars caused by religious differences and intolerance...
Probably in an effort to strengthen a his family's religious beliefs and in Carlisle's case, his future as an Anglican minister, added to the fact that Carlisle was his only living family Carlisle's father probably pulled him very close to him. They probably had a decent relationship..there is no mention of hate or animosity between them, indeed Carlisle assumes his destiny by taking on father's role in hunting down witches and vampires without any fuss while his father was still alive. Carlisle was probably a dutiful and obedient son who loved his father and wanted to follow in his footsteps. Isn't there a saying that the most sincere form of flattery is imitation?

Now about the Cross (cue the mystery music):

Carlisle's father's cross holds a ton of symbolism for Carlisle as well as sentimental value. Of course the cross reminds Carlisle of his father. Again proving that he probably had a loving relationship or at least a decent relationship with his dad. Edward has his mother's jewelry, Carlisle has his father's cross. Don't we all have something of our loved ones to remind us of a token of love, respect, remembrance? Also the cross might serve as a reminder of those dark, bloody, warlike days..and how Carlisle doesn't want to go there. Carlisle becomes a Vampire with a conscience and works to avoid strife (member of The Volturi & Co-creator of the Peace Treaty with the Quilutes). Another reason is that maybe Carlisle does not want to forget that he was human..with a soul which he believes Vampires have as well as a place in the afterlife. The cross does not show Jesus suffering on the cross but is the traditional risen symbol of Christ . The cross could serve to remind Carlisle & his family that they have souls and are not the hideous monsters of folklore who could be hurt or maybe even destroyed by the sight and touch of a cross. Also, for remembrance purposes,
~SPOILER~Doesn't Bella mention that her human days are like fuzzy pictures after she is changed..and she's only a newborn! Imagine what your memories would be like if they were 400 years old! ~SPOILER END~ Most of all I think the cross served to symbolize his desire to have a family. The cross is the only possession he has of his human matter how small it was. It is a FAMILY HEIRLOOM.
And one last thing: Esme loves antiques and has a flair for decorating. Perhaps she found the cross a beautiful relic of her beloved's past and she too wants to be reminded of Carlisle...she just can't wear it though, like Bella wears Edward's mother's ring, so Esme hangs it on the wall, just so AND NO MESSING WITH HER DECORATIVE CHOICES!!! lol. It is ironic that the only thing we know of that Carlisle took from his human life is a symbol for what would repel Vampires, as the traditional belief the graduation caps all lined up as a joke, maybe Carlisle gets a chuckle when he sees that cross and realizes that it can't hurt him or any other vampires.
Dear Nycmarie,

You certainly are right the 1640s were a volatile time for both England and the Anglican church. But from DAY ONE the Anglican Church was always divided into a conservative "catholic-like faction" and a reformist faction. To me Carlisle's father's sentiments closely parallel those of Jonathan Edward's. As you provably know Edwards theologic stance from his famous sermon; "Sinners in the hands of an angry God."

"There is nothing that keeps wicked men at any one moment out of hell, but the mere pleasure of God."
Was based on the eleven principles accepted by the conservatives like Carlisle's father.
1. God may cast wicked men into hell at any given moment.
2. The Wicked deserve to be cast into hell. Divine justice does not prevent God destroying the Wicked at any moment.
3. The Wicked, at this moment, suffer under God's condemnation to Hell.
4. The Wicked, on earth - at this very moment - suffer the torments of Hell.
5. The Wicked must not think, simply because they are not physically in Hell, God as angry with them as He is with those miserable creatures At any moment God shall permit him (Satan) to fall upon the Wicked and seize them as his own
6. If it were not for God's restraints, there are, in the souls of wicked men, hellish principles reigning which, presently, would kindle and flame out into hellfire,
7. Simply because there are not visible means of death before them, at any given moment, the Wicked should not, therefore, feel secure.
8.Simply because it is natural to care for oneself or to think that others may care for them, men should not think themselves safe from God's wrath.
9. All that wicked men may do to save themselves from Hell's pains afford them nothing if they continue to reject Christ.
10. God has never promised to save us from Hell, except for those contained in Christ through the covenant of Grace.
11. The wicked will not escape the wrath of God unless they repent.

To me the above 11 "conservative" principles probably made up 90 percent of Reverand Cullen's sermons. Carlisle's transformation from a man who accepted those beliefs, into one who was able to say : (In reference to destroying the monster named James save the lives of his family) "CC to Family: "It pains me to take any sensate life." (PP)

The Cullen Cross: I agree I think that the cross held a special sentimental value for Carlisle as I explained in my response to Shannon.

Thank you for sharing with us, Doc
Dear Doc,

I believe that Carlisle has deeply ambivalent feelings about his father. He wears the Cullen crest and has passed it along to all the members of his 'family.' The values the crest symbolizes--courage, faith, service, loyalty--are things he learned from his father. Obviously they are things that still hold great value for Carlisle, as he lives his life by that code of conduct, and leads by example all those who choose to be part of his way of life. The way Carlisle chooses to live has its roots in the type of man his father taught him to be.

He keeps the cross his father made, the one that hung above the pulpit in the church where his father introduced him to God. This, too, must have significant meaning for Carlisle and we know that he maintains his belief in God and lives a life that aspires to be as close to God as he is allowed to be, despite his uncertainty about what God's judgment on his soul will be.

I suspect that probably Carlisle grew up with a sort of devotion to his father. He would have a reverance, perhaps almost a hero-worship of his father, who was leading an exemplary life. His dad would have been the type of man that a young Carlisle would have wanted to be like.

Of course we know that changed. We don't know with any certainty what exactly made Carlisle begin to question his father's strict intolerance in the name of God. But obviously something did, as we know that he was beginning to establish his own views of religion before he was changed. Where Carlisle's father saw only condemned sinners, Carlisle saw people God could love despite their flaws.

Why is love the defining part of Carlisle? To guess, I would say that perhaps Carlisle's father was the type of man who held obedience and respect above demonstrations of affection. Carlisle would have said "yes, sir" and shown his manners, he would have sat at his father's right hand and learned about being a respectable man. But I don't picture Carlisle's father as the sort of man who would ruffle young Carlisle's hair or tuck him in at night. Those tokens of affection Carlisle grew up missing would have been an important part in his beginning to question all his father believed.

It's not unusual for a young man (or woman) to begin to separate their own personal beliefs from those of their parents. It's a normal, healthy part of establishing our own identities. Very few of us see the world exactly as our parents did. For Carlisle, questioning his father's brand of faith is like that. I imagine for him, he believed everything his father taught him but felt something was missing. When he began to wonder what that was, eventually he would have arrived at Love.

That's the true difference to me, the thing that made Carlisle the man he is. He believes purely and sincerely in love in all of its various forms. He does not pass judgment, as his father so often did. He does not cast stones, even against the Volturi who he knows have the capacity for evil in their hearts. Why? Because even the lowliest of us, the most hateful and vicious, are loved. Carlisle obviously believes that, as he holds hope for the souls of his family despite what they are and what many of them have done. If God can love the lowliest sinner, why not believe He would love all those who try to follow His example?

This is the root of Carlisle's great capacity for compassion, and compassion is Carlisle's defining gift.

What an absolutely brilliant question Doc.
What I think his father's cross means to Carlisle is that it symbolizes the fundamental tenets that Carlisle lives by, as taught to him by his father, but also, it symbolizes the split between his father's strict, black and white religious beliefs and Carlisle's own more tolerant views.
Dear Shannon,
You say it represents both the split between fathwer and son AND the tenets that Carlisle's father taught him. I fully agree. I have tried to jot down the few thoughts that might be relevant.

This is pure speculation, but the things that we do know include;
1. Carlisle was raised a Christian but, in the Saga, he never alludes to the specifics of his beliefs.
2. We know that he had already started to accept a more accepting and loving religious belief prior to his vampiric transformation.
3. And that he never quit believing. CC, Quote: "I never quit believing"
4. His religious beliefs (concerning forgiveness and grace) were significantly different than his father's.
5. His only reference to grace was his "offhand" reference to it. CC to BS,Q: I appreciate the graceful way that you accepted my family.
6. When he choose to design his "family" crest he didn't include a cross in it's design.
7. He had preserved and protected his father's hand carved cross for hundreds of years.

So to me the cross, to Carlisle, first represented his sentiment and his loyalty to his father and his other human family members. CC to RC,Q: "She (Bella) is part of our family now. And we protect our family." (even unto death..not said but implied)

And secondly I feel that the cross (to Carlisle) may well have represented "God's Grace" (Grace is: God's undeserved love of humans)

To me it is interesting that even though Stephie's faith obviously is very important to her that she only indirectly refers to its fundamental beliefs. The advantage to her approach, is that it allows the Saga to be accepted by hundreds of millions of fans around the world who hold different beliefs.
Sincerely Doc
Title: Body Surfing Boston

Dear Shannon,

Thanks for your kind compliment. So many of us (Twi-hards) delight in Carlisle. It is fun learning more about him. And thanks for telling me that the Cullen Crest came from his father. For some reason I mistakenly thought that Carlisle had designed it. (I have no idea how I got that impression) But it would be only logical that his family (his father being an educated professional) would have a family crest in 1640 England. And your pointing out how his family's symbols came to be so representative of him is also very insightful. "Courage, Faith, Service, and Loyalty."

Wow! those characteristics certainly fit him to a T. Courage C.C. Quote: "We defend our family" Faith, Quote "I never quit believing." Service Quote, "Serving them (humans) brings me joy." Loyalty, Quote "Edward chose her (Bella) she is one of us now." Your description of Carlisle's provable relationship with his father is just superb and very insightful.

I have a theory. It is that Carlisle and his father were both good men. But Carlisle was different in that he was a very sensitive man, especially towards the feelings of others. While, to me, his father was a good man but he tended to be stiff and reserved. So many times when men and women couple, opposites are attracted to one another. Each partner's strengths and weaknesses tend to compliment their mates. So my guess is that Carlisle's mother was a very sensitive and caring woman.

And that she balanced her husband's stiffness. Sadly for both father and son Carlisle's mother died. Now when a mother dies, and a child has characteristics that resemble her, fathers tend to become either closer or more distant. I think that her loss, in Carlisle's case, caused the two of them to be closer.

Because of BOTH Carlisle's father and his MOTHER when Carlisle is transformed into a vampire, he is able to do something that, had never been done in thousands of years. Carlisle becomes a vegetarian and he even decides to serve and care for humans. NOW how did he do it? Well he tells Bella "I never quit believing," His father had thoroughly taught him the basics of Judeo-Christianity. BUT IT WAS HIS MOTHER, who through her own example of living, that taught him to love unconditionally, to forgive, and to be able to accept others.

And it was because of what he came to learn from BOTH of them that he had both the discipline (from his dad) and the sensitivity (A VERY POWERFUL TRAIT) from his mother that gave him the tools to overcome the almost impossible temptations of being a vampire. Edward Quote: "But what Carlisle did was much harder."

As always, thanks for sharing, Doc B
Title of Photo Below: 20 winks for a face "only a mother could love."


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