Themes in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

There are many main themes in Bridge to Terabithia. One of the most important is Jesse and Leslie s magical kingdom in the woods called Terabithia. Terabithia is a small castle they built in the woods where they go to escape and have magical adventures. The "bridge" is a rope they use to swing over the dry creek. Another main theme is Jesse running every morning during the summer so he can be the fastest runner in fifth grade, only to be beat by Leslie, the new girl in town.

One more theme is Jesse being the only boy in his house. He has two evil older sisters, who always get their way by whining. He has a younger sister who looks up to him and a baby sister, who of course, gets all the attention. Every time the baby cries his mother assumes its because Jesse had something to do with

A few main ideas are the differences between Jesse s family and Leslie s family.

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Jesse s family is quite poor and high strung. Jesse s mother is a housewife. She cooks, she cleans and raises the children. Jesse s father is usually angry. He works and tries to bring home some money. Until he gets laid off but even then he doesn t give up. He wakes up at the same time ever morning to go to the unemployment office. Jesse s two older sisters are Brenda and Ellie. All they do is whine to get off of doing their chores and criticize Jesse for anything.

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His younger sister May Belle, looks up to him but he tries to act like an older, tougher brother and doesn t give her much thought, even though he loves her. The youngest sister, Joyce Ann isn t really mentioned except when Jesse tries to push May Belle to her so she Il leave him alone and when Jesse s mother yells at him because of her. Jesse s hobbies are his art and running. Before Leslie moved in, his best friend seemed to be Miss Bessie, the cow. She would watch him run every morning.

Leslie s family on the other hand is actually rich. Both her parents are writers and they decided to move because they felt they were getting too absorbed in their money and lifestyle. Leslie is an only child but even though she is it seems as if she doesn t spend much time with her father. When her father was fixing up the house and asked her to help she felt so needed and happy. It seems as if he s always busy with his books that he barely spends time with her. Leslie calls her parents by their first names, which confuses Jesse. Leslie s hobbies are scuba diving and making up great stories.

An important message is how Jesse was always so afraid of water, mainly because he couldn t swim and Leslie gave him the courage to swing over the creek. It was ironic how she ended up drowning in the end. Another important message was how Jesse and May Belle "connected in the end after Leslie died. He took her to Terabithia and over a real bridge that Jesse made. May Belle was now part of Leslie s and Jesse s kingdom. She was the new queen of Terabithia.

I was upset when I finished the book. I wasn t expecting Leslie to die on Jesse s "perfect day". The poor boy had enough problems. I don t think his best friend should ve died. I really enjoyed the ending. Through out the book I felt as if May Belle was always excluded and she really needed her older brother. I was very glad to see that Jesse brought May Belle to Terabithia and made her the new queen. I hated to two older sisters, they seemed to be cold hearted. I didn t like Janice from school either until I found out what her problem was. All in all I thought it was a great book with many characters and lots of ambition. I was happy to see that even though Leslie died, Terabithia did not.

Updated: May 03, 2023
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Themes in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson. (2022, Apr 23). Retrieved from

Themes in Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson essay
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