Compare the reactions of Jess and Leslie to the eastern church service.How does each reaction expand and bridge your understanding of the character?

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anthonda49 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jess is bored by the service because it always seemed to be the same. He tuned it out like he did his school lessons and let his mind float free. He was embarrased bythe way his sisters were dressed and their attitude that they were there to be seen and admired. Because he paid no attention to the service, he jumped when the preacher raised his voice. Yet, when he and Leslie discuss the service, he defends what the Bible says. Leslie found the service interesting. She was most impressed by Jesus dying for our sins. Leslie had not read the Bible, and MayBell told her she would die and go to Hell because she wasn't a believer in the good book.

Jess does not show true belief in his church. He merely accepts what is said and repeats it as if it is his doctrine. He is not a free thinker like Leslie, but blindly accepts what society tells him. Leslie and her family are free thinkers who do not attend church. Yet, Leslie found the story of Jesus to be beautiful and sad at the same time. She couldn't reconcile these two conflicting feelings. The scene merely reinforces what the reader suspects about the two. Jess is a conformist while Leslie, being a free-thinker ponders what is said about religion. Their association will result in a little of Leslie rubbing off on Jess which is shown at the end of the novel.

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Bridge to Terabithia

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