Leslie Burke

Leslie Burke

    Bridge to Terabithia
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living…  in a new town. She moved there with her parents, with whom she shares a unique relationship. Leslie has no siblings, no pets, and no television. She calls her parents by their given names. They are writers, and they encourage her to indulge her imagination. As the three of them paint a room gold in their new house, her parents dance and urge her to see “the paint catch fire in the sunset.”

Profession… the “new girl” at Lark Creek School. She is in 5th grade, an age when kids can be rather mean, and she isn’t doing herself any favors at her new school. She comes school dressed in eccentric outfits, joins (and wins) the boy-only race at recess, and sits in Janice the bully’s designated seat at the back of the school bus, causing her neighbor and classmate Jesse Aarons to wonder aloud if she has a “death wish.”

Interests… Juicy Fruit gum, running, and exploring the nooks and crannies of the caverns of the mind. Her motto in life is to “close your eyes but keep your mind wide open.”

Relationship Status… becoming fast friends with Jesse, another social misfit. Jesse is alternatively annoyed and in awe of Leslie. “We need a place, just for us,” she tells him, and with that she leads him to an imaginary kingdom that only they know about called Terebithia, which can only be reached by crossing the creek via enchanted rope. In reality Terebithia is just their neighbor’s land. But then again…what is reality?

Challenge… fending off the evil creatures of Terabithia. When in Terebithia, Leslie urges Jesse to hear the they hear the “sound of the prisoners of the dark masters rattling their chains.” They build a treehouse that will be their stronghold as they endeavor to fight against warrior dragonflies from the treetop provinces and trolls to free the prisoners. For Leslie, this is no game. “We rule Terabithia,” she proclaims, “and nothing crushes us!”

Personality… intelligent, generous, and charming. Leslie is the sort of person that anyone could like – except her fellow 10-year olds. Her quirks are numerous but all benign, all expressions of her vast imagination. 



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