Forks High School is home of the Spartans. In ancient Greece, the city-state of Sparta was the prevailing military power known for its brutal yet efficient warmongering. The modern word "spartan" refers to a person of great courage and self-discipline.
Volterra, the home of the ancient vampire coven in New Moon, is a real city in Italy, with a population of about 11,300 mortals. Volterra was used as a setting in other books, including On Love by French author Stendhal (pen name of Marie-Henri Beyle ), the Lord Ramage series by British author Dudley Pope, and Chimaira by Italy's Valerio Massimo Manfredi.
When Edward leaves Bella, she plunges immediately into despair. Her mood is echoed by the night's blackness that envelops her. The Moon has no light of its own; moonlight is really sunlight that is reflected off the Moon's surface. What are called phases of the Moon occur as a result of the Moon's orbit around the Earth. During orbit, when the Moon is between the Sun and the Earth, the side facing the Earth receives no sunlight, and therefore the Moon is not visible from Earth. This phase is called the new Moon.
Bella feels safe in English class, as long as she's not required to read books with a romantic theme. Animal Farm, one of the titles she studies in class, is a political satire written by George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Blair). In it, a group of animals take over the barnyard, cast out their human masters, and set up an egalitarian society. George Orwell died of tuberculosis in 1950.
The flower pictured on the cover of New Moon is a ruffled, or parrot, tulip. The traditional meaning of the tulip is "perfect love." In the Netherlands, New Moon's cover illustration depicts the same flower, but in place of the single falling petal, a heart-shaped drop of blood appears.
Bella's cliff-diving exploit makes lots of waves. According to the World High Diving Federation, cliff diving is the acrobatic perfection of diving into water. With a free fall of about 3 seconds, a diver can reach speeds up to 62 mph (100 km/hr).
Shape-shifters abound in New Moon. Lycanthropy, turning from man to wolf, is but one form of therianthropy, the ability to metamorphose into animals in general.
In New Moon, Bella finds herself in an impossible situation, loving mortal enemies. "Catch-22" is a term coined by Joseph Heller in his novel Catch-22, describing a set of rules, regulations, procedures, or situations that present the illusion of choice while preventing any real choice. In everyday use, the phrase means a no-win situation.
Bella confronts Edward in the piazza of the Palazzo dei Priori. The palazzo (palace) was designed in 1239 by Maestro Riccardo. Its pentagonal tower was rebuilt by the architect Mazzei after it was damaged in the earthquake of 1846.
Bella's daredevil antics allow her to hear Edward's voice in her mind. Stuntman Evel Knievel was an American motorcycle entertainer famous in the United States and elsewhere between the late 1960s and early 1980s. Knievel exploits earned him multiple entries in the Guinness Book of World Records, including one record for breaking 37 bones.