Bridge to Terabithia

Danielle Azzo

Hour 3 English 12

Bridge to Terebithia Review
Bridge to Terebithia Review

The film Bridge to Terabithia, describing the life journey of actor Josh Hutcherson playing the role of Jess Aarons, analyzes the archetypes and important segments. The journey segments include The Call, The Threshold, The Challenges, The Abyss, The Transformation, The Revelation, The Atonement, and The Return in that order. According to the Transformation, the archetype of Jess throughout the film change as he encounters life changes. These life changes have a positive effect on Jess towards the end of the film. He realized his true colors and his place in the world.
Bridge to Terabithia is a film that tells the story of Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke, neighbors at the age of 10 years old, who together create a world of fictional creatures and friendly animals only known to them named Terabithia. This adventure of Jess and Leslie’s becomes more of a life changing stage in the 10 year olds' lives. With the help of his new friend Leslie, Jess is able to look at his world in a whole new light. Jess learns responsibility, trust, friendship, and more importantly, he learns about himself.

Hero's Journey Chart

Background Information: The main character, Jess, has a hard life. With a poor family struggling to survive and make a living, Jess always seems to be neglected and forgotten especially with his many siblings.

The Call: Jess becomes interested in the new girl that moved next door to him. Leslie, being the only child, is a fun-loving and spirited girl. Jess wants to know more about her and gets the chance when she speaks out in class. Leslie admits to the class that she does not have a T.V. in her house, which catches Jess's attention.

The Threshold: Jess stands up to the school bully named Janice Avery. After that point, Jess becomes very fond of Leslie's care for others and ability to stand up for herself. Jess and Leslie begin to build up their friendship and as it grew on, it eventually led to the birth of their own private world, Terabithia.

The Challenges: Jess and Leslie face the tests of their journey. They numerously encounter enemies like Janice Avery who bullies kids because of her own insecurities with Jess and Leslie being 2 of the many kids she bullies. Jess faces a test of his own. He learns what responsibility really is when he has to work for his family and the abandonment from his own father. This becomes more intense when Jess's father gets laid off from his job, which causes more tension on Jess. The only way for Jess to escape the chaos is to be with Leslie in Terabithia.

The Abyss: Leslie comforts Jess by inviting him to spend time with her and her parents. Jess is invited to an art exhibit with his schoolteacher and decides not to invite Leslie. After his fun filled day, when jess returns home; he discovers the terrible news about Leslie dying trying to cross the river to Terabithia. Jess had become selfish when he only thought of himself spending time with his teacher alone. Guilt overcomes Jess.

The Transformation: The death of Jess's best friend Leslie has a great affect and influence on Jess. He feels the right thing to do in Leslie's favor is to preserve their 2nd home, Terabithia. He wants to somehow repair his selfishness by becoming more of a giving and open person. This includes being a better older brother to his little sister May Belle whom he had neglected to spend time with.

The Revelation: Jess rebuilds his new sanctuary of Terabithia by constructing a bridge across the river to the magical land. This is in preparation for the coming of the new queen of Terabithia, May Belle. Jess has fully transformed to the caring boy in which was brought out by Leslie.

The Atonement: Jess introduces May Belle with a crown joining her with her first steps onto Terabithia grounds as the new queen. The Terabithian creatures welcome her with open arms and excitement. Jess says, "There is a rumor going around that the beautiful girl arriving today might be the queen they have been waiting for."

The Return (with a gift): Jess has made a full transformation as the caring boy he always was but never showed. He has transformed to an appreciative and loving boy with the great help of his once best friend Leslie who still lives in him every time he returns to Terabithia.

Character Archetypes

A character archetype can be described as characteristics in a person which other things are similarly patterned. This could be an image, character type, attitude, and personality.



The character Jess in Bridge to Terabithia has an archetype known as the "brat." This is because of his characteristics and personalities described in the movie before the transformation. Jess was more or less the outcast in the movie. He didn't fit in with others until someone came along to change that named Leslie. Jess would never allow his sister May Belle to visit Terabithia with him and Leslie. He was greedy when he would neglect his sister that only would want to have someone to play with. Jess is considered a "brat" because it was an inherited part of the family that he grew up in. Jess was occasionally neglected in his own family so neglecting his sister comes naturally to Jess. Jess felt that the only way for him to get away from his troubles at home was to be with Leslie in his second world Terabitia.


Leslie Burke is the character in which brings out the best in people because of her spirited personality itself. Leslie's personality contains adult-like attributes which is linked to being the "helper" of finding Jess's inner being. Leslie gave Jess to do many things that he was never able to do such as giving him the strength to stand up for himself. Leslie taught him to be outgoing and open up his feelings with her. She allowed Jess to be himself when he is with her because he was never able to be himself outside of Terabithia. Once Leslie dies, she is no longer needed for Jess. She has taught him everything he needed to know in order to be by himself. She, in some sort, was his guardian. Leslie gave Jess hope at a desperate time during his family troubles and allows new beginnings that occur after her death.


Impact of Archetypes

There was much impact of Jess because of his best friend Leslie. Without Leslie's archetype of being a guardian and positive influence on, then he would not have been given the opportunity to be the caring and loving person that he became at the end of the movie. The film as a whole was influential because it showed how someone like Jess that is somewhat an outcast could be transformed because of the positive influences of one person. Leslie brought joy to Jess's life once he got to know her. He was able to finally have someone to talk to and open up to. He got the chance to escape the hardships of his family and discover him and Leslie's second home inTerabithia where they did not have to worry about responsibility or bullies. Terabithia became their quiet space in a sense.

Archetypes show up so frequent because many people have different personalities. People have a way of expressing their own personality to others as well. Just like in Jess's situation, he encountered a person who became his best friend. Leslie had a huge influence on Jess in which changed his perspective on life as a whole. This may have happened so someone before and I can say that it has happened to me. What this indicates about our society is that not one person is the same as another person. In a society, depending on the place in the world, people might have different thoughts and perspectives on things. This affects our society as a whole because no one is the same so that means that there will be different perspectives on situations from different people.