Bridge to Terabithia

A story about an unlikely friendship full of wonder and imagination. Jess spends his mornings training to be the fastest kid in his class, but what he doesn’t anticipate is his new neighbor, Leslie, outrunning all the boys. Though their friendship starts off rocky, the two become best buds, and together create a world where they can escape their worries and insecurities.

Paterson, K. (1972). Bridge to Terabithia. NY: Crown.

Evaluative Criteria: Gender & Culture and Setting

  • Bridge to Terabithia is a well rounded novel incorporating all areas of the evaluative criteria, but considering the main characters and the imagination that went into developing Terabithia, gender and setting are most notable. The author deviates from the stereotypical gender roles, and portrays a young girl lacking femininity who is bold and takes risks, and a young boy struggling to conform to the laws of masculinity. It’s Leslie that helps Jess through his insecurities and embrace who is. Together, these opposites form a bond and create a fantasy world, a setting they are free to explore and discover without the weight of reality. The setting in both realms is important because it becomes a contributing factor to the characters’ emotional growth and self-acceptance. It lets young readers relate to their own struggles with growing up and think about how they could possibly escape their fears and doubts.

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