Bridge to Terabithia

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title Bridge to Terabithia

author  Katherine Paterson

type of work  Novel

genre  Children's literature

time and place written  1977, Virginia

date of first publication  1978

publisher  HarperCollins

narrator  The narration is told in the author's voice, but the point of view is clearly Jess's.

climax  The moment when Jess returns from his trip to Washington with Miss Edmunds to find that Leslie has drowned.

protagonist  Jess, and secondarily, Leslie

antagonist  There is no clearly defined antagonist in Bridge to Terabithia; the closest thing would be society and its pressures to conform.

setting (time)  The late 1970s

setting (place)  Lark Creek, a rural area in the South; specifics are never given

point of view  The point of view throughout the story is Jess's.

falling action  The last chapter, when the Burkes move away and Jess builds the bridge to Terabithia.

tense  Past

foreshadowing  There is not too much foreshadowing in Bridge to Terabithia, but there is one moment when May Belle, agitated because she believes Leslie's lack of faith in the Bible means she is going to hell, repeats over and over, "But Leslie, what if you die? What if you die?"

tone  The tone of the writing is, in general, colloquial and understated.

themes  Friendship; childhood; conformity and individuality; fear

motifs  Religion; gender roles; education

symbols  The creek; the rope over the creek; Terabithia; the bridge to Terabithia