About the Book

Book Protagonist: Jesse Oliver Aarons
Publication Date: 1977
Genre: Children, Fantasy

Best Quotes

Bridge to Terabithia

By Katherine Paterson

Quotes in Katherine Paterson’s ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ are simple but powerful enough to convey significant aspects of children’s lives - such as their craving for friendship, feeling of loneliness, and desire to fit in.

Although the quotes in ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ by Katherine Paterson are mostly clear and easy to understand, there are a few paradoxical expressions that readers will find the author uses here and there to capture the extent to which a particular event in the story goes. The best quotes in ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ are analyzed here.

A Friend in Need

It was Leslie who had taken him from the cow pasture into Terabithia and turned him into a king.

Jesse is always going to be a loner in ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ until Leslie comes along to rescue him from his predicament. Before Leslie, no doubt, Jesse had all the good stuff one would expect from a prodigy. He’s smart, intelligent, and a fine artist among other things.

Jesse’s only problem stems from the fact that he lacks the confidence to showcase his qualities as he is always hiding his abilities – whether he’s at home or over at school, because he’s afraid of being criticized, verbally abused, and jeered at.

However, with Leslie coming into the picture, Jesse must have thanked his stars that, finally, someone he feels normal and at home with has come. And from here, there’s not a single need for him to hide who he truly is. The power of true friendship is shown here as Leslie – an already bold and confident girl – helps him break free from fear, timidity, and low self-esteem.


Sometimes it seemed to him that his life was delicate as a dandelion. One little puff from any direction, and it was blown to bits.

Since Katherine narrates the storyline using Jesse’s point of view, many of the quotes in ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ easily reflect on his experiences with Jesse. From the very first page, readers see how Jesse’s life is characterized by insecurities culminating from the constant pressure to impress his family and peers at school.

Jesse never really has a balance in life, at least not until he crosses paths with Leslie. Despite his many talents, he lacks confidence, is sad, and feels alone – with a sort of hate in his heart for anyone whose ideas he doesn’t resonate well with. Thankfully there’s a mindset overhaul with Leslie moving into his neighborhood and that marked the beginning of his maturity.

Guts and Gumption

He may not have been born with guts, but he didn’t have to die without them.

The moment Jesse starts to reveal his true potential to the world – thanks to help from Leslie – there was no stopping him from there. He enjoys every bit of his new, original self and feels saved from a lifetime of hiding in the shadows. He feels confident enough to grow past the boy he used to be; a shy and timid little boy who can’t even enjoy his own company.

Giving back to society

It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength.

It comes quite unfortunate that Leslie doesn’t stay alive long enough to see the kind of man Jesse grows into – thanks to her impact, but nevertheless, readers see this for themselves and it must feel amazing for readers given how the character of Jesse resonates with a lot of people.

Jesse, now more confident and with the mindset of a leader, does a very selfless thing to help others just like he defeats their fears and becomes more confident. He fixes the bridge Terabithia – a scene that took Leslie’s life – to prevent bad things of the sort from happening again.


How does Jesse Aarons live before crossing paths with Leslie Burke?

Before Leslie Burke comes along, Jesse had been a shy and scared little boy who lacks confidence and boldness.

How does Jesse repay the gift given him by Leslie?

Jesse repays what Leslie does for him by taking responsibility as a leader and rebuilding the bridge to create a safe passage to Terabithia.

What is Jesse’s relationship with May Bell?

May Bell is Jesse’s kid sister who adores and admires him so much and always wants to go everywhere with him. Jesse in turn loves May Bell above all the other siblings.

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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