Why does Jess practice running in Bridge to Terabithia?  What stops Jess from practicing running?What does Momma make Jess do and why?  Thanks for answering! 

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jess practices running because he wants to be "the fastest funner in the fifth grade when school open(s) up".  Last year, Wayne Pettis had been the fastest runner in the fifth grade, but this year he would be playing sports with the sixth grade, and so would be out of the competition.  Jess had actually beaten Wayne Pettis once last year, so this year he has a good chance to be the best.

Jess is known as "that crazy kid that draws all the time" at school, and he figures that if he proves himself to be the fastest runner, he will gain a measure of respect.  He also relishes the thought that May Belle would be so proud that "her brother was the fastest, the best", and that all her little friends would look up to him.  Most of all, though, Jess, wants to earn the attention and respect of his father.  Jess' father is always tired or busy, and Jess longs for some recognition from him.

Jess stops running because Momma sends May Belle out to call him in for breakfast.  After breakfast, Momma keeps him busy with a seemingly endless list of chores.  Jess must milk the cow, pick the beans, and help his mother with the canning.  Later on he has to fix sandwiches for his little sisters because his mother is too tired.  Jess always seems to have to do more than his share of the work in the house because his spoiled older sisters constantly make excuses to avoid helping out (Chapters 1-2).