Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

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Topics for Discussion

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Jess's irritation with his four sisters, his conflicts with his short-tempered mother, and his defeat in the race for which he trained all summer might have prevented his friendship with Leslie. How would you account for the growth of their friendship?

2. How does Terabithia aid Jess and Leslie in their developing friendship? What do they bring to their imaginary land, and what do they gain from it?

3. Janice Avery is feared by Jess and Leslie. How just and how effective is the revenge that Jess and Leslie seek against Janice for her theft from May Belle?

4. What provokes Jess and Leslie to befriend Janice when they find her crying?

5. What is unsatisfying about Jess's relationship to his parents? Who, if anyone, is at fault for this? What needs to be done to improve the relationship? Does this happen in the novel?

6. What is unsatisfying about Leslie's relationship to her parents? Who, if anyone, is at fault for this? What needs to be done to improve the relationship?

7. What are Jess's immediate reactions to Leslie's death? How normal are they? What would happen if he did not go through them?

8. What does it mean to Jess when he makes the funeral wreath in Leslie's memory? What does his experience with May Belle over the creek mean to him? What guilt and what fear does Jess overcome in his rescue of May Belle? Why and for whom does Jess build the bridge into Terabithia? How does this action relate to Jess's friendship with Leslie?