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Analysis

Terabithia

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Terabithia is created by Leslie and Jess's conviction that they require a space of their own, a magic space where no one will bother them and where they can hang out in peace. On an early day in their friendship, Leslie tells Jess her idea:

"We need a place," she said, "just for us. It would be so secret that we would never tell anyone in the whole world about it." Jess came swinging back and dragged his feet to stop. She lowered her voice almost to a whisper. "It might be a whole secret country," she continued, "and you and I would be the rulers of it." (4.98)

Their first ideas about Terabithia come from the Narnia books (by C.S. Lewis), which Leslie lends Jess. They build a castle in their own imagined land, declare themselves rulers, and create customs and ceremonies to observe. In Terabithia, they fight imaginary battles, become victorious, and conduct celebratory feasts. We don't learn much about what Terabithia looks like physically. We know you have to get there by crossing the creek in between their farms and the forest: the place where they build their castle is "where the dogwood and redbud played hide and seek between the oaks and evergreens, and the sun flung itself in golden streams through the trees to splash warmly at their feet" (4.105). To properly "see" Terabithia, we just need to use our imaginations, just like Jess and Leslie do. (For more on Terabithia's significance, see "What's Up With The Title?")

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