Bridge to Terabithia

by Katherine Paterson

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How do the members of Jess's family feel about Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia?

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In general, Jess's family does not have a big problem with Jess being friends with Leslie. That does not mean they are all completely supportive of Jess, though. Jess's dad is probably the least supportive of the friendship. He has some fairly archaic ideas about how boys and girls should associate. He also doesn't like how Leslie tends to pull his only son away from doing "manly" things. Brenda and Ellie don't seem to have a problem with Jess and Leslie being friends, either. They tease Jess a lot about it, but I don't believe that means they are against the friendship. I would say that they like that Jess and Leslie hang out together because it gives Brenda and Ellie the opportunity to tease Jess more. May Belle is the most positive about the friendship between Jess and Leslie. That's why she is always trying to tag along and find out what they do together in the woods.

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In Bridge to Terabithia, what feelings do Jess and Leslie share regarding other people?

Clearly there are a number of things that unite Jess and Leslie in this excellent short story. One of the key elements is the way that they are both "outsiders" in the school community. Jess is an outsider because of the poverty of his family - it is clear that he is not accepted in his school, whereas Jess is an outsider because she has just moved into this community and she is very obviously different. As Jess and Leslie embark on their journey of the imagination into the kingdom of Terabithia, this serves to isolate them from the rest of their peers as they share this game together. It is interesting that the only person they both have respect for is the beautiful Miss Edmunds. Of course, it is highly significant that at the end of the story Jess is able to share Terabithia with his younger sister - perhaps reflecting a greater maturity and willingness to share this childhood game with others.

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