Bridge To Teribithia

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The following sample essay on Bridge To Teribithia deals with a framework of research-based facts, approaches and arguments concerning this theme. To see the essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, read on. Bridge to Terabithia In most novels involving children, the endings are clear-cut happy endings with the children learning a valuable life lesson in the process of their adventures. An exception to this is Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. Though the valuable life lesson is still present in the story, its acquisition comes at a terrible price, effectively breaking the myth that life will always work out happily.

Katherine Paterson is said to have written this novel based on something that happened in her life. She wrote the book because her and her son knew someone who died at a young age. Her name was Lisa Hill. She was walking home from school and then lightning hit her and she died. She later wrote a book not only because of Lisa, but also to make sense of a tragedy that doesn’t make sense.

She dealt with the fact of having a close friend die at such a young age. She changed Lisa into Leslie and her son into Jess. Jess and Leslie lived in a rural area outside of Washington. They lived in the early 70’s, which was when Lisa died. Bridge to Terabithia is about two kids who battle their make-believe world and the real world.


Jess and Leslie meet when Leslie moves into the house next to his.

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Then they meet again when they both race in the 5th grade race. When they got off the bus one day, Leslie thought that maybe they could make up their own world and keep it only for themselves. They find a rope and Leslie said that the only way they could enter their world is if they swing on the rope. This make believe land that Jess and Leslie have come to adventure in, is a reincarnation of their real lives. I feel this is similar to the reason why Ms. Paterson wrote her novel. In the make believe land of ‘Terabithia’, Jess and Leslie fight the eveils and horrors of the unknown. These horrors are very similar to the daily issues that these two children face. These issues range from bullies in school to ogres in the woods, but happen to be one in the same. Further into the story, it takes an unexpected turn. When Jess goes with the music teacher he lusts after to a museum, he leaves Leslie behind. Leslie having plans with Jess in Terabithia, goes off into their magic world on the other side of the river. However, when she swings to the other side, like every other day, the rope breaks and she falls. Leslie never made it out of the river alive.

When Jess got home and his parents notified him of this life altering situation, he was in denial. In my opinion, his denial was a coping method. Throughout the rest of the story Jess battles his inner turmoil and the feelings that he was to blame. The loss of his friend Leslie sets Jess on a path of self-condemnation, blaming himself for not being there for her. This feeling is common amoung individuals who lost someone close to them. Ultimately, Leslie had become the one constant is Jess’ life that he depended on and got to be free with. Once more, Jess uses Terabithia to deal with the issues his life has dealt him. However, instead of going to this land he creates the one thing that would help the most for the circumstance. Jess caught up with Leslies dad before he had time to leave town. Bill offers him the dog that Jess and Leslie had adopted. Jess tells him that Leslie would like her dad to keep him, ultimately leaving a piece of his daughter with him. Jess asks for the leftover lumber in Mr.

Burkes yard. When he has the lumber, Jess puts it to good use. He creates the most elaborate bridge his mind will allow and deems it The Bridge to Terabithia. Jess hears a noise and he sees his little sister May Belle trying to cross the river. Only she’s too scared and calls for help. His rescue of May Belle is clearly symbolic of the fact that Leslie’s death does not leave the world hopeless and that it does not signify the end of everything. Her rescue is a renewal. This is developed when Jess brings her across the bridge to Terabithia. Leslie was an amazingly special person, but she wasn’t the only special person in the world, and if Jess is to carry on with his life in a way that she would have liked, he must take advantage of the other precious relationships in his life. In doing so, he is preserving her memory as well. The building of the bridge shows that the magic was not in the rope, as Leslie had said, and it was not all in Leslie, either. Instead, it is in the heart of any person dedicated to seeking it. After the completion of his masterpiece, Jess finally allows himself to connect with his little sister, May Belle. He calls her the princess of Terabithia.

I consider this a very important aspect of this novel because of the fact that throughout the rest, Jess is constantly pushing away May Belle. The growth it takes for him to accept, love and understand his little sister is very admirable. I find certain lines in this novel to be very compelling. For example, “He believed her because here in the shadowy light of the stronghold everything seemed possible. Between the two of them they owned the world and no enemy, Gary Fulcher, Wanda Kay Moore, Janice Avery, Jess’s own fears and insufficiencies, nor any of the foes whom Leslie imagined attacking Terabithia, could ever really defeat them. This quote comes in Chapter 4, just after they have finished building their castle stronghold in Terabithia, the first day that they have conceived of the game. It describes the sense of belonging that Jess feels in this newfound kingdom, where he and Leslie rule supreme, idealized and undefeatable and immortal. He sees it as a perfect escape from harsh reality. It offers a ray of hope which he sorely needs as he struggles to make the transition between childhood and adulthood. In Terabithia, he lives by his own standards and according to his own impulses and personality.

There, he feels himself to be the person he is struggling to grow into. I really love this quote because of the fact that it counts both Jess and Leslie as ultimately the protectors of their own goals. It is simple and yet can be interpretted in so many ways that will hold and rivet the audience. Towards the end of the novel, I find a real turning point in the following excerpt. “He screamed something without words and flung the papers and paints into the dirty brown water… He watched them all disappear. Gradually his breath quieted, and his heart slowed from its wild pace.

The ground was still muddy from the rains, but he sat down anyway. There was nowhere to go. Nowhere. Ever again. He put his head down on one knee. “‘That was a damn fool thing to do. ‘ His father sat down on the dirt beside him. “‘I don’t care. I don’t care. ‘ He was crying now, crying so hard he could barely breathe. “His father pulled Jess over on his lap as if he were Joyce Ann. ‘There. There,” he said, patting his head. ‘Shhh. Shhh. ‘” This is the first part in the novel where Jess and his father really connect in a anyway. Whereas the situation is very much less than desired, it has brought them together in a way. This scene comes in Chapter 12, the day after Leslie has died, when Jess is just beginning to allow himself to feel his anger and grief. In throwing away the paint set, he is not only throwing away a reminder of Leslie, he is throwing away a part of himself as well, an acknowledgment of his artistic talent and calling. Howver, his father telling him it was “a damn fool thing to do” is the first time during this novel where the evidence of his father accepting him is present.

The fact that he used the river to dispose of the belongings is another part I find specific. He chose the river because of the memory of Leslie dying there. This connects the art supplies and talent as also coming to rest in the river. A sense of finality is connected to the river. On the contrary to this though, I also feel like it is connected to the place. This not only is where Leslie ended, but also where the adventure always seemed to start. In this exciting novel there are many different themes. There is friendship, perseverance, and death. Jess and Leslie go through friendship. They are really good friends and have a lot in common. Together with their imagination, they create a whole, new world. Jess goes through death when he has to deal with the loss of his newly beloved best friend Leslie. Perseverance is throughout the whole novel. Leslie, May Belle, and Jess all show serious signs of perseverance. Leslies constant struggle to show Jess the amazing things he is capable of is an example, so is May Belle trying to become a part of their world of Terabithia. Overall, this novel touches base with a lot of the serious problems that children face.

It shows the way that imagination is a coping mechanism instilled in the minds of every individual; it just takes a certain few to tap into all of its potential. Leslie helped a lot of people tap into what their minds sometimes fought against. Although she died at a young age, she left behind so much. Not only in the characters in this novel, but also in the people who dare read about the story. This is similar to the way people leave behind certain aspects of themselves to be remembered. Terabithia in general can act as a type of “memory palace”. There might not actually be much there for the outside observer, but to someone who helped create and live a live there, each corner of the woods holds a memory of the life they lived. The bridge that Jess builds acts as a sort of monument to hope. Leslie hoped that her and Jess could become friends and create a world together. Jess hoped for the opportunity to escape his life for anytime possible. I feel that this strongly connects to what we happen to be learning in class, because we try to connect the things we know to the things we are unsure of.

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Bridge To Teribithia. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Bridge To Teribithia
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