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Fridge / Bridge to Terabithia

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Fridge Brilliance

  • Leslie's overactive imagination makes perfect sense when one considers her parents. Not just because they're writers but the implication is that they often don't have too much time for their daughter. While they're writing, Leslie is often on her own - encouraging her to think up other worlds or ways to amuse herself.
  • Minor example. Jess thinks Leslie doesn't have dresses to wear to church but she replies that of course she does. Remember how she said she still had her Barbies? She's clearly a Tomboy with a Girly Streak and can clean up nicely when she wants to.
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  • Terabithia's creatures are full of this trope, but the Hairy Vultures have an interesting case; they're crude parodies of Gary Fulcher, whose catchphrase is "dead meat". This adds to the perfection of them being vultures. What better animal than a scavenger to have an affinity for dead meat?
  • Leslie's death seems sort of odd, considering her swimming skills, until you realize she probably didn't just fall in by herself, she was most likely knocked clean out when she hit the rocks.
    • It's also likely the shock of the rope breaking and hitting the cold water disoriented her.
  • In the book, Jesse has misgivings about crossing the creek to Terabithia after several days of rain and, knowing Leslie has no such qualms, berates himself for being a Dirty Coward and admires Leslie's bravery. Except, as becomes clear from Leslie's fate, Jesse's caution is well-founded, while Leslie's courage may actually be recklessness.

Fridge Horror

  • This is most likely unintentional, but there is a scene where Jess contemplates whether Leslie felt fear before she died. As a child, this seems sad, but silly as you accept the explanation by Jess' Father ( she hit her head, was knocked out and that's why she died - so she didn't have time for fear at face value. However, this explanation is improbable - by such a high stand rocks would be too deep to hit when falling just a few meters. Far more likely is that she was unable to reach the shore because of the current pull effect (current is fastest in the middle, and anybody in water is drawn towards it) and that her limbs went numb from exhaustion and hypothermia (it was April and rain water is surely cold). So instead of a swift, almost painless death you get a long, hopeless struggle coupled with plenty of horror and despair. Good read.
    • Maybe a tiny bit of Fridge Brilliance could come from the fact that they only told Jesse that she was knocked out to make him feel better vs him hearing that she died horribly by making it seem that she didn't see it coming.
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  • And there's the simple fact that Leslie's parents either found her body or had to identify it.
  • The story delves a bit into the theme of escapism and how playing make believe with Leslie helped Jesse ease into his life... With her death, it leaves some to question if he would just stay holed up in Terabithia, hiding away in his imagination had his dad not come and reconciled with him.
  • Jess has survivor's guilt over Leslie dying while he was off with Miss Edmunds. If she hadn't invited him, he almost certainly would have gone out to play. Given the strong current aggravated by the rain, it's possible that Leslie and Jess could have been killed - especially if one fell in and the other jumped in to try and save them.
    • This is actually implied in the story. When Jesse comes home from the museum, his parents have been thinking he was dead all day. Why? Leslie was found dead in the creek and Jesse was nowhere to be found. The conclusion: As soon as Leslie fell in the creek, Jesse tried to be a hero and went in to save her, getting himself killed for his troubles, with his body being washed away. Since this is what Jesse's parents think happened, it is implied to be what would have happened had Jesse gone to Terabithia with Leslie on that day.
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    • An alternative to think about: Leslie falls in the creek and Jesse is frozen, partly with horror, partly with shocked disbelief at what's happening. (After all, Leslie's a good swimmer, the rope can't break, and in any case, this is Leslie.) Jesse's trauma is now compounded by the experience of helplessly watching his only friend die, confirming his self-image as a Dirty Coward.
  • The story depicts Jesse's survivor's guilt over Leslie's death, but, as an adult, one realizes that there was plenty of that survivor's guilt to go around. After all, despite Jesse's and Leslie's belief that their activities were a secret, it turned out that everyone, particularly the parents, knew about it. Specifically, the parents knew that their kids were swinging on a rope to go play across the creek. Once Leslie dies, it really has to eat at them that they didn't put a stop to things before it got out of hand. After all, Jesse and Leslie are both kids; they can't be expected to know how dangerous it was to swing on a rope across a creek; that's what parents are for. No doubt Leslie's parents are beating themselves up over not seeing this coming and losing their daughter as a result. Meanwhile, Jesse's parents have to face the fact that their own son may have dodged the bullet that resulted from their inaction, but someone else's kid died instead.
  • A little bit of a horrifying Fridge Brilliance that might have an explanation to why the death is changed up. In real life, Lisa Hill (Leslie's inspiration) was struck by lightning and died. Now, while the main reason why this was changed to a drowning was so it would seem more realistic, keep in mind that one of the themes brought up was "what happens after a non-Christian dies?", with the overall idea that they go to hell. Lightning bolts are usually associated with God delivering judgement. Thankfully, one of the characters brings up that God's probably not going to let Leslie burn in hell, because otherwise, if the lightning bolt death was kept, some people might think that God was having his cake and eating it too.
  • Miss Edmunds is probably going to know that Leslie died while she was at the museum with Jess. When she finds this out, she's going to be torturing herself for wondering why she didn't invite Leslie too.
    • Not to mention that at the funeral in the 2007 film, Jess has a moment of denial and says "next time we should invite Leslie to go". If she hadn't considered that beforehand, she sure as hell realised it then.


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