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Both are very lonely. Jess is the only male child in the house and is supposed to help his father run the farm. His sisters either annoy him or boss him around. Jess loves running and hopes to win the footraces at school. This will bring him much needed attention.
Leslie is lonely because she is the only child of an older couple. When they meet, Jess finds that Leslie is also a runner and can beat him. When she becomes aware of Jess's need for attention and to win the races, she withdraws from the race. Leslie is an incredibly sensitive girl, noticing the pain of those around her. Both she and Jess are remarkably talented in an artistic sense.
As Jess matures and finds other interests, Leslie is left alone again. Her adventurous spirit leads her to the fantasy land both created where an accident takes her life.
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