Bridge to Terabithia Questions and Answers
by Katherine Paterson

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How do you compare and contrast Jess's and Leslie's family? How did their families contribute to their creation of Terabithia?

Jesse and Leslie have very different families. Jesse is one of five children. His family is poor. He works hard to help them make ends meet, leaving him little time to pursue his interests. His parents are angry, stressed and unsupportive. Leslie is an only child. Her parents are well-off, loving, and supportive. Leslie has the time and the means to explore her passions. Terabithia serves as an escape for Jesse, as well as an outlet for Leslie's active imagination.

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Jesse's family and life are very different from those of his friend, Leslie. Jesse comes from a poor family. He is one of five children, and, whether due to age or gender, much more is expected of him than of his four sisters. He works on the family farm and helps his mother with the household chores. His parents work very hard and are often angry and stressed. They are not very loving or affectionate towards Jesse. His mother often yells at him: "Of course, her temper had been terrible, and she had screamed at Jess all afternoon and was now too tired to fix any supper." His father is hardly ever home and when he is, he is too tired to pay attention to Jesse: "His dad was so tired from the wear and tear of the week and trying to catch up around the place that when he wasn't actually working, he was sleeping in front of the TV."

Both of his parents give preferential treatment to his sisters. His mother lets her daughters go shopping, while Jesse is expected to work all day. His father is...

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