Study Guide

Bridge to Terabithia Ambition

By Katherine Paterson

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Ultimately, ambition in Bridge to Terabithia is about being greater than yourself, or pushing past the bounds of your mind and heart. At the beginning of Bridge to Terabithia, we think ambition is about running the fastest or drawing the best. And it can be. But it's also about challenging yourself, and others, to enlarge the scope of your world and imagination, and to live the best way you can – sharing the joy of this expansion the way it was shared with you. By the book's end, Jess hopes that he can do his best to live the kind of life Leslie would have lived, as well as the kind of life she would have liked him to live.

Questions About Ambition

  1. What is Jess's deepest ambition?
  2. Who's the most ambitious character, and at whom does he/she direct his/her ambition?
  3. In Bridge to Terabithia, is ambition a positive or negative quality?
  4. What type of person do you think Leslie wanted to be when she grew up?

Chew on This

Although Leslie prevents Jess from achieving his short-term ambition of being the fastest runner at school, she reawakens another desire for artistry, imagination, and growth.

While Miss Edmunds and Leslie have different ideas and approaches, they both want to see Jess succeed in the same way.

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