| Quote #1
He didn't worry about a shirt because once he began running he would be hot as popping grease even if the morning air was chill, or shoes because the bottoms of his feet were by now as tough as his worn-out sneakers. (1.1)
This tells us about both the kind of person Jess is and how much money his family has (or, rather, doesn't have). He's determined and doesn't care about how he looks. His family hardly has any money at all. Just consider the fact that he's practicing running in bare feet, perhaps because his "sneakers" are "worn-out," and his feet are just "as tough" as they are.
| Quote #2
Lark Creek Elementary was short on everything, especially athletic equipment, so all the balls went to the upper grades at recess time after lunch. Even if a fifth grader started out the period with a ball, it was sure to be in the hands of a sixth or seventh grader before the hour was half over. (1.17)
Even in areas that are already marked out according to class structure – this elementary school doesn't have much money or resources – people still set up their own internal class differences. The elementary school has a miniature class system in which the sixth and seventh graders are superior to the fifth graders, who are then superior to the students in fourth grade and under. In other words, even when you barely have anything, there's still a chance that it can be taken away from you. No wonder Terabithia is so appealing.
| Quote #3
But Jess knew what fakes they were. Sniffing "hippie" and "peacenik," even though the Vietnam War was over and it was supposed to be OK again to like peace, the kids would make fun of Miss Edmunds' lack of lipstick or the cut of her jeans. She was, of course, the only female teacher anyone had ever seen in Lark Creek Elementary wearing pants. In Washington and its fancy suburbs, even in Millsburg, that was OK, but Lark Creek was the backwash of fashion. (2.20)
People in Lark Creek are behind the times and don't approve of women who don't wear makeup but do wear jeans. Yet, today, we wouldn't give someone dressed like Miss Edmunds a second thought. Lots of women go out with jeans and with no makeup. No judgment. But the people in Lark Creek really do judge. This shows how much times can change in just a little over thirty years.