The Mundane World
Jesse is the only boy in a family of five children. He is adored by his younger sister, May Belle, but generally mocked by his older sisters. He doesn’t fit in at school and is picked on, particularly for his artistic ability. He enjoys running and practices often.
The Call To Adventure
After training all summer for a race at school and fully expecting to win, Jesse is beaten by Leslie, a new girl at school – and the race was only for boys! Leslie is an outsider too – she doesn’t own a TV and her family is not religious. Jesse finds that Leslie has moved next door to him and he starts talking to her more often.
Crossing The Threshold
After exploring one day, the pair find a rope swing across a creek. This swing is the threshold. Leslie asks Jesse wouldn’t it be good to have some place better than just not being at school – some place that could only be entered by swinging on the magical rope. With this symbolic crossing, Jesse embarks on his path of trials.
The Path of Trials
After crossing the rope swing, Leslie and Jesse create Terabithia and crown themselves King and Queen. In this fantasy world they are able to confront problems they have in the real world in a safe place. Problems they have with parents and teachers seem less scary. Their fear of Janice Avery, the bully, is finally overcome in Terabithia. Jesse’s final trial comes when Leslie dies while trying to enter Terabithia alone. He finally overcomes the guilt and grief he feels by using the strength of Terabithia.
Master of Two Worlds
Jesse’s growth on his journey allows him to remain the King of Terabithia and crown his sister, May Belle, Queen. His initial anger and guilt is overcome by accepting all of the good things he learned from his time with Leslie and their wonderful creation.