BSU Bridge to Terabithia a Fearful Character Discussion


Jess Aarons is the most complicated child character whom we have met so far. He is more complex that characters such as Squirrel Nutkin, Fern, Fanny, Gluck, Little Thumb or any other character. We learn so much more about him and his life than we have previously learned about a protagonist before. One reason this occurs of course is that he is the protagonist in a novel, not just in a tale or story.

In this discussion I’d like the class to explore his development as a character imagined  by Katherine Paterson. What are the various things that we find out about him which reveal his personality and worlds which he inhabits (i.e. home, school, town, etc.)? What are the important things we learn about his thinking and psychological make-up: his relationships, interests, hopes, fears, secrets, ambitions, etc.?

When you make your initial post, you should focus on ONE ASPECT which readers learn about Jess which has not yet been commented on in a previous post. When you make your each of your two (2) response posts, please respond to a classmate who  discusses a characteristic which you judge a very important part of Jess’ character. Try to add some detail or analysis to what was previously said about Jess in the initial post. Each of your follow-up posts should discuss a different aspect of Jess. This process should enable us as a class to construct a very rounded understanding of him.

??the second task is to reply or comment on my classmate’s discussion with 50-100 words ?start the reply with the first sentence is that I agree with or I like or I think or I actually etc…

Sara response =(((Something that immediately stuck out to me about Jess’s personality was his relationship to fear. At the beginning of the book he is fearful of a number of things. At first he is fearful that he isn’t good enough. He’s fearful that is not a good enough runner to beat everyone and he’s fearful that he can’t draw well. He’s also fearful of his father and everyone else around him judging his love of drawing. This fear also presents itself and the way he goes about his relationships. The reader can see that his closest connection at the beginning of the story is the one teacher who likes his drawings and he feels that he can be himself around. He is afraid of his own fear because he believes that he shouldn’t feel that way. This is probably brought on by his relationship with his father. Later on in the story we find that this fear also shows how he finds his value in his relationships with the people around him. When he gets closer to Leslie he seems to grow more as a person. He becomes more caring and by the end of the book his relationship to fear changes. This presents itself in his relationship with May Belle and his own father. His father comforts him and his grief from losing Leslie, and that is also it starts to help him realize that it is okay to be afraid or upset. It also presents itself when he helps May Belle from falling and teaches her that it is okay to be afraid and that everyone is afraid.)))

Sam response =((( The things that struck me about Jess were his fear and his insecurity about his identity. To begin with, Jess enjoys painting and drawing, but he is fully aware that this makes him a “sissy” in the eyes of the majority of the world, particularly his father. Furthermore, his family is so strained by poverty that he has few opportunities to truly explore his own identity during this formative era of adolescence. He has so instilled in himself the value of winning, believing that there is at least one thing he is brilliant at that will not earn him the unwelcome title of “sissy” or “female” in the eyes of his father and classmates, and that will allow him to shine in his own right. Every morning, he practices, fantasizing about his forthcoming victory. When it came time for recess races, a new girl, Leslie Burke, who had recently moved next door to Jess, boldly crossed the boy’s side of the playground and defeated everyone, Jess and Leslie became friends.As a result of his concerns, Jess’s self-hatred is also shown in this novel. He despises himself for being terrified of the creek, believing that he is inferior to Leslie because of it. Jess despises being afraid of anything, which is likely owing to his father’s well-known expectations that he will be a “real man.” As a result, he is unable to express his anxieties with Leslie, despite the fact that she could most likely have reassured or soothed his anxieties. He’s gripped by shame, and he appears to fear that if Leslie knew he was terrified, she would lose respect for him. This is almost definitely not the case in reality. Leslie was revealed to be terrified of Janice Avery in the previous chapter. This story is one of my favorite, it is about battling within self and friendship. A story where you can get so many moral lesson. )))