Forks High School

Forks High School

For starters, let it be said that Stephenie had never seen the school in Forks when she wrote Twilight.  The school that exists in the book is nothing like the school in real life.

The High School in Forks is very small and consists of only  “three hundred and fifty-seven—now fifty-eight—students” (TW1). As such, everyone knows everyone else there, and what is happening with the school community, even down to the point that Charlie knows which night the school dance is on.

The school is located “just off the highway” (TW1), so it’s relatively easy to find, even though it doesn’t look like a school and there is a sign to label it. Bella describes it as  looking “like a collection of matching houses, built with maroon-colored bricks” but, from the road, the buildings are camouflaged by “so many trees and shrubs” that it’s impossible to tell how big the school is. Bella notes how different it is to the school she came from in Phoenix, not only by the number of the pupils but also by the lack of it feeling like an “institution”. She wonders: “Where were the chain-link fences, the metal detectors?”

The first building in the school grounds is has a “small sign over the door reading “Front Office.” (TW1). It is adjacent to the parking lot, and can be reached via a “little stone path lined with dark hedges.” (TW1) The small office itself is fairly typical: “a little waiting area with padded folding chairs, orange-flecked commercial carpet, notices and awards cluttering the walls, a big clock ticking loudly.  Plants grew everywhere in large plastic pots, as if there wasn’t enough greenery outside.  The room was cut in half by a long counter, cluttered with wire baskets full of papers and brightly colored flyers taped to its front.  There were three desks behind the counter.” (TW1).

You have to go through the office to get to the nurse’s door, as we see when Edward takes Bella there after she almost faints during the blood testing. (TW5)

The school is atypical of northern US school buildings, but follows the patterns and conventions of those built in the south. To move from classroom to classroom students need to move around outside. This is clear from the very beginning when: “We got our jackets and headed out into the rain” (TW1) and although the precipitation changes later, the outdoors movement around school does not: “When we walked out of class, the air was full of swirling bits of white,” and also “I walked alertly to the cafeteria with Jessica after Spanish.  Mush balls were flying everywhere.” (TW2) In addition, the classrooms are small. “The people in front of me stopped just inside the door to hang up their coats on a long row of hooks,” (TW1) due to them having just entered the building from outside.

Buildings are identified on their exteriors by the numbers “painted on a white square on the east corner.” (TW1) English is in 3, Government in 6, Science in 4. There are limited descriptions of the classrooms, although we do find out that biology has fairly standard “black topped lab tables” (TW1) just like the ones Bella was used to in Phoenix.

The cafeteria plays a central role in the books and it seems to be fairly central in the school campus as well. It is a “long room” (TW1), with “seldom-used picnic benches on the south side” (TW7) from where the “red-barked trees” in the school grounds are clearly evident. It is possibly these trees that Edward carries Bella to sit beneath during the epilogue. The roof of the cafeteria has an “overhang” that provides “shelter” (TW10) from the wet Forks weather!

The gym is the other building mentioned in the story, and is obviously fairly sizeable for the amount of students at the school, as Bella “watched four volleyball games running simultaneously” (TW1) and is also “the only room in town big enough for a dance.” (TW Epilogue). The gym is close to the parking lot, as it is somewhere Bella contemplates hiding, to watch until the “parking lot cleared” (TW2), and she can walk “swiftly out to the parking lot” from the gym.