Bridge to Terabithia : Chapter 6
Summary of Chapter Six: The Coming of Prince Terrien
As the Christmas season approaches, Jess's sisters are arguing about what to buy their boyfriends at high school, and his mother is claiming there is not enough money for presents. Brenda asks Jess what he is going to give to his girlfriend? She makes fun of Leslie's looks, and Jess wonders why he feels more related to Leslie than to his own unkind family. Much of the family money is going to get May Belle a Barbie doll. Jess cannot think of a present for Leslie.
Finally, Jess sees a sign for free puppies, and knows what he can give to Leslie. He meets her at the castle on Christmas Eve afternoon to give her a brown and black puppy. She names the puppy Prince Terrien, the guardian of Terabithia. They go to the pine grove because it is a moment of greatest joy. Leslie gives Jess a box of watercolors, brushes, and art paper.
At home, May Belle helps Jess ease Joyce Ann's fear that Santa won't be able to find them because there is no chimney to come down. Jess decides May Belle is a good person. He helps her play with her Barbie doll on Christmas morning. He pretends to like the present his dad bought for him: a racing-car set. The older sisters are jealous of each other's presents, and the mother complains. Jess feels disappointed and is glad to go milk the cow. When he leaves the house Leslie is waiting for him, and “It felt like Christmas again” (p 64).
Commentary on Chapter Six: The Coming of Prince Terrien
The Christmas season reveals character. Jess is sensitive and sees that his father's desire to please him with the car-racing set is the same as his desire to please Leslie. He pretends for his father's sake, knowing his dad spent more than he could afford. On the other hand, Jess's free gift to Leslie is inspired. She loves the dog. It is a gift no one else would have known to give her. She also knows what Jess most wants and gives him art supplies.
Jess feels closer to Leslie than to his family. He wonders if he is a foundling. He devours the books Leslie loans him. His whole life is richer because of her, and he notes the selfish and shallow behavior of his sisters with sorrow. Only May Belle seems to understand that the feelings of others count. She tries to comfort the youngest child, following Jess's lead, because he knows there is not enough money for “Santa” to give her a nice present.
There is a moment of dramatic preparation when Jess has to hold the dog as he swings on the rope over the creek bed. He thinks the more logical way would be to carry the dog over the dry bed farther down, but he has begun to believe in the magic of Terabithia and thinks he has to enter the right way, swinging on the rope. This is foreshadowing for the tragedy to come.
Paterson, Katherine, Bridge to Terabithia, Illustrated by Donna Diamond, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1977.