The paper "Family Life and Problems in Paterson’ s Bridge to Terabithia" is a wonderful example of a book review on social science. The theme of family life is essential to Paterson’ s (1977) Bridge to Terabithia because it is one of the driving forces that motivated Jess Aarons to build a close friendship with Leslie Burke. Paterson (1977) addresses family life and problems by showing the perspective of an only son with three female siblings, Jess, who is torn between growing up like a man and needing physical demonstrations of love. Jess has traditional parents because he feels the pressure of “ acting like a man” in a dominantly female household.
However, as Jess sees his parents, especially his dad, show affection to his younger sisters, he feels envy that demonstrates the difference between what his family expects from him and what he expects from his family: Durn lucky kid. She could run after him and grab him and kiss him. It made Jess ache inside to watch his dad grab the little ones to his shoulder, or lean down and hug them. It seemed to him that he had been thought too big for that since the day he was born.
(Paterson, 1977, p. 14). This passage shows that even boys want to physically feel what parental love means. Physical contact and meaningful daily conversations are severely lacking in the Aarons household, however. The book shows how a lack of communication and physical contact can make children feel isolated and lonely in their own homes. Child readers might respond to Jess’ s family issue by relating to him if they are also middle children or boys in their families who feel envious of their younger/older siblings.
They might identify with him and feel that they are not alone in their feelings and experiences after all. Character identification can reduce anxiety and increase the feeling of group belongingness. When Jess becomes aware of his parent’ s great love for him in the end, these readers will also realize that their families love them too. Furthermore, child readers can also relate to this issue by appreciating their loving family more. If they have parents who are demonstrative with their love and support, even when these readers are as old as Jess, they will realize how lucky they are to have parents who love them this way.
The book can make them feel more grateful for their family who use loving gestures and warm conversations to show their love for one another. Hence, Bridge to Terabithia can help children deal with feelings of isolation and help them realize that their parents love them in different ways.