Bridge to Terabithia

by Katherine Paterson

Start Free Trial

Describe Jess's relationship with his father in Bridge to Terabithia.

Jess's relationship with his father is distant and a little troubled. This is mainly because Mr. Aarons isn't around all that much. As he works long hours to support his family, he doesn't get to spend much time with them, and this inevitably has a negative impact on his relationship with Jess. Mr. Aarons also isn't supportive of Jess's love of art.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The relationship between Jesse Aarons and his father can reasonably be described as not very close. There are a number of reasons for this. First and foremost, Mr. Aarons's job prevents him from developing close bonds with his son. Needing to work long hours to support his family means that Mr. Aarons never gets to spend much time with them. Inevitably, this has a damaging impact on his relationship with Jesse.

Jesse and his dad also have different personalities, which puts them at odds. Jesse is good at art and loves to draw. But Mr. Aarons is more of a macho type of guy who doesn't think that boys should be spending their time engaging in activities he regards as effeminate.

When Jesse was in first grade and told his dad about his artistic ambitions, Mr. Aarons was far from pleased. He very nearly accused the “old ladies” at Jesse's school of turning his son into a homosexual.

Mr. Aarons's intemperate outburst had an immediate negative impact on Jesse; he thought his dad would be proud of him and was hurt and disappointed by his reaction. Even years after the event, Jesse hasn't forgotten about it, a clear indication of just how badly it has affected both him and the relationship he has with his father.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team