Bridge to Terabithia Quotes

"He thought later how peculiar it was that here was probably the biggest thing in his life, and he had shrugged it off as nothing." (Narrator, Chapter 1, p. 8)

Jesse has just learned from his sister, May Belle, a new family has moved into the Perkins place. He didn't think much of it at the time, because people moved in and out of the Perkins place regularly. It was the type of farm house people moved into when they couldn't afford anything else.

He realized later, how pivotal this day was in his life, for it is the day Leslie Burke moved in next door. It is the day his life changed forever. She gave him the courage to be himself and she exposed him to thoughts and ideas, he never would have explored otherwise.

"He nodded and smiled again. She smiled back. He felt there in the teachers' room that it was the beginning of a new season in his life, and he chose deliberately to make it so." (Narrator, Chapter 4, p. 31)

Jesse at first resisted becoming friends with Leslie, because she was a girl and she beat him in the recess races. He was angry with her for beating him in the races, for this was supposed to be his year to be the best runner in the fifth grade.

Then during music class something changed. She wore him down by constantly talking to him and trying to win his friendship. As they sang in class he saw her for the first time, as a friend. He realized she was someone he wanted to talk to and to listen to him. He made the conscious decision to be her friend and in that moment, he changed both of their lives.

"We need a place, she said, "just for us. It would be so secret that we would never tell anyone in the whole world about it." (Leslie Burke, Chapter 4, p. 38)

Leslie has decided she and Jesse need a secret place to go to be alone. It is a place where they can talk about their dreams, be themselves, and not worry about being judged. They decide on a spot in the woods behind Leslie's house, which is only accessible by swinging over a creek on a rope tied to a tree. She decides to call this sacred place Terabithia, they pretend it is a country and they are the king and queen.

"Leslie was more than his friend. She was his other, more exciting self-his way to Terabithia and all the worlds beyond." (Narrator, Chapter 4, p. 46)

Jesse's parents are worried about him spending so much of his time with a girl. They are worried about what impact it will have on Jesse's personality. They think he should be spending time with boys, playing sports and participating in masculine activities.

Jesse can't find the words to tell them how he feels about Leslie. She has opened him up to another way of looking at the world, she tells him stories and is supportive of his drawing. These are things his parents can never do for him.

She helps him imagine and become part of Terabithia, also by allowing him to be a king, she allows him to feel special. She gives him a reason to rise from bed each morning, because he is excited to see what new story or idea she will give him each day. She allows him to be a Jesse no one else has ever seen, a better Jesse, than even he could have imagined.

"But Leslie," she insisted. "What if you die? What's going to happen to you if you die?" (May Belle Aarons, Chapter 8, p. 85)

May Belle is concerned for Leslie's soul, because Leslie has just told her she doesn't believe in God. May Belle thinks Leslie will be condemned to hell if she doesn't believe in God. Leslie stands fast in her assertion that there is no such thing as God. She also thinks, if there is a God he would not send people to hell.

This quote is foreshadowing the events which will happen just a few days after Easter. Leslie does die without believing in God, which concerns Jesse. He is worried his friend has been sent to hell, but his father comforts him by telling him God doesn't send children to hell.

"Maybe we ought to forget it today."

"C'mon, Jess. We can make it." (Jesse Aarons, Leslie Burke, Chapter 9, p.88)

It has been raining hard for a few days, but Leslie wants to use the rope to swing across the creek into the country of Terabithia. Jesse is not so sure it is a good idea, because the creek is swollen with water and he is afraid of falling in and drowning.

Leslie talks him into making the crossing. Even though he is frightened at the thought of crossing the creek, he is not about to be bested by a girl, so he swings across. He is determined not to let Leslie know how scared he is of crossing the swiftly moving creek water.

Again, this foreshadows what is about to happen, as the reader now knows Leslie will try to cross the creek and dies in her attempt.

"Your girl friend's dead, and Momma thought you was dead, too." ( Brenda Aarons, Chapter 10, p. 102)

Jesse has just returned home from the most perfect day of his life. His teacher, Miss Edmunds, took him to Washington D.C. to tour the National Gallery and the Smithsonian Institute. He came home in a joyous mood, ready to face any punishment his parents might have for him, because he left for the day.

Instead, he finds the whole family sitting in the house-silent. His mother bursts into tears upon seeing him, which confuses him even more about what is going on in the house. His sister Brenda tells him Leslie is dead. His father explains she died crossing over the creek. The rope broke causing her to hit her head and she drowned. Jesse is in shock and denial, he cannot fathom how Leslie could die like that.

His parents are upset because they didn't know where he was, as he had asked his mother's permission to go with his teacher while she was still half asleep. They thought he had drowned in the creek like Leslie, so the tears were tears of joy, because he was alive.

"Cremated. Something clicked inside Jess's head. That meant Leslie was gone. Turned to ashes. He would never see her again. Not even dead. Never. How could they dare? Leslie belonged to him. More to him than anyone in the world." (Narrator, Chapter 12, p. 114)

Jesse has just found out Leslie's parents are having her remains cremated. He thought he would be able to see her one last time, even if it was in a coffin. He is angry they didn't ask him his opinion on the matter. He feels she belongs to him more than she belongs to them and he should have some say as to what happens to her body.

He can't understand how he is supposed to cope with her death, if he cannot see her one last time. He feels as if he is being cheated out of his chance to say good-bye.

"She had tricked him. She had made him leave his old self behind and come into her world, and then before he was really at home in it but too late to go back, she had left him stranded there --- like an astronaut wandering about on the moon. Alone. (Narrator, Chapter 12, p. 114)

Jesse felt angry with Leslie for dying. He felt as if she changed him, but before he was comfortable with the changes, she left him. He felt abandoned without her there, to guide him through this new world she opened before him. He didn't know what he was supposed to do or feel, all he knew is he was not ready to face the world without her.

His parents are not equipped to help him face the world alone without Leslie, although his father did try to comfort his son. They knew Jesse had to sort out his feelings for himself, which is the hardest part of being a parent. Letting your child deal with the death of friend on their own terms. It made them feel helpless.

"And when he finished, he put flowers in her hair and led her across the bridge-the great bridge into Terabithia-which might look to someone with no magic in him like a few planks across a nearly dry gully." (Narrator, Chapter 13, p. 128)

Jesse has taken some planks left behind on the porch of Leslie's parents' house and made a bridge across the creek. He has decided to take his sister, May Belle, to Terabithia. He is going to give her the same opportunity Leslie gave him. The opportunity to be more than she ever thought she could be, to learn about new things, to look at the world in a new way, and to be a queen. She might not understand what her brother is giving her yet, but one day as she grows older she will comprehend what her brother has done for her.

Related Links:

Bridge to Terabithia Summary
Bridge to Terabithia Quiz
Bridge to Terabithia Chapters 10 - 13 Summary
Bridge to Terabithia Chapters 1 - 3 Summary
Bridge to Terabithia Chapters 4 - 5 Summary
Bridge to Terabithia Important Characters
Literature Summaries

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