Bridge to Terabithia Questions and Answers
by Katherine Paterson

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Do you think Jess's passion for the game is abnormal?

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Jess is portrayed as a boy who is lonely despite growing up in a large family. Although accustomed to female company in that he has four sisters, he feels misunderstood because he is an artistic boy in a prosaic family. His parents also endorse rigid, traditional gendered patterns of behavior, so Jess is expected to function as a little man in terms of his farm responsibilities.

Jess and Leslie find in each other kindred spirits. He had not realized that there were other highly creative children his own age, and he warms quickly to the imaginative domain that Leslie inhabits. Part of the attraction is that Terabithia is unique shared between him and Leslie; playing her game strengthens the bond that has rapidly formed between them. For lonely children, finding a creative partner can hold a strong attraction. In Jess’s case, playing along with Leslie is a major component of belonging with her.

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