In Bridge to Terabithia, why would the girls not be wearing new clothes to church this Easter?

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liesljohnson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 8: Easter (in Katherine Paterson's novel Bridge to Terabithia), Jess's sisters, Brenda and Ellie, are really excited because they always get to wear fancy new outfits to church on Easter.

This may not sound like a big deal to most readers or a reason to get particularly happy, but because their family has very little money, these girls hardly ever get to wear new things. But their mom thinks it's important for them to look nice on that holiday, which is why she's always let Ellie and Brenda have new Easter outfits in the past.

If you take a look at the second paragraph of Chapter 8, you'll see why the girls are disappointed, though. Instead of getting to go shopping with their mom for new outfits, they learn that their dad has just lost his job. With no money to spare, there won't be any new clothes. The narrator of the story drops the news on us in two short, staccato sentences: "He'd been laid off. No new clothes this year."