Bridge to Terabithia

by Katherine Paterson

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What are three characteristics that Leslie and Jess both have in Bridge to Terabithia? Expand.

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Jesse and Lesley are both outcasts at school—Jesse because he is an artist, which is seen as a feminine pursuit, and Lesley because she is the new girl who dresses strangely and outran all the boys in their race on her first day at Lark Creek Elementary. The boys' jealousy of her became dislike, meaning that both Jesse and Lesley were unpopular.

A second thing that the children share in common is the respite that they experience when they are in Terabithia. For Leslie, it is a place where she is not seen as the new girl with the strange dress sense, and for Jesse, it is an escape from his difficult family life.

A third commonality shared between Jesse and Leslie is their extremely creative personalities. Jesse's creative outlet is drawing and painting, while Leslie's is showcased in the invention of the land of Terabithia.

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Both Leslie and Jess are caring individuals. They care deeply for each other, and that is a reason why they exchange gifts with each other, but I don't think that is the best example of how they are caring individuals. I think the best example is when they decide to not hate Janice Avery any longer. Yes, Jess and Leslie do a horrible thing to Janice; however, they feel horrible about it after learning the truth.

Jess and Leslie are loyal people. They are loyal to each other, and they are loyal to their family members. Jess may complain about his family and his sisters, but he is always there for his little sister when she needs him.

Jess and Leslie also share a love of learning, and they each have a special connection with particular teachers. Leslie and Mrs. Myers have a solid connection in the same way that Jess and Miss Edmunds have a special relationship.

Jess and Leslie share a love of athletics, and it is especially geared toward running. The recess races are really important to Jess. He believes that he will be the fastest and that that will earn him a certain amount of royal respect. Unfortunately, the new girl Leslie is faster than everyone, and Jess is upset by this; however, it is this love for running that initially brings them together to start their great friendship.

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Jess and Leslie both share a love for running.  Jess is a good runner who aspires to be the fastest runner in his class.  Leslie is a great runner who manages to beat even all the boys the first time she races them.

Both Jess and Leslie have very creative personalities.  Jess is an artist, and although his work is generally unappreciated by the people in his life, he draws "the way some people drink whiskey".  When he has a chance to retire to his room with his artist's materials, "the peace would start at the top of his muddled brain and seep down through his tired and tensed-up body...Lord, he loved to draw...animals, mostly...not regular animals...but crazy animals with problems...(in) impossible fixes" (Chapter 2).  Leslie's creativity shows in her storytelling.  Terabithia with all its situations and characters are driven largely because of her ability to create magic through her imagination.

Perhaps the most significant characteristic Jess and Leslie share is their need for "a place...just for us".  Both children have difficulties at home.  Jess is the overlooked only son in a family of demanding sisters; he is often taken-advantage-of when his siblings refuse to do their share, and his own needs are frequently overlooked.  Leslie's parents live a unique lifestyle which makes her an outcast with the kids at school.  Both Leslie and Jess feel the need to have some control over their lives, and at Terabithia, at least, they can be "ruler(s) of something" (Chapter 4).

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