In her book Bridge to Terabithia, Paterson uses the two main characters, Leslie and Jess, to illustrate several key themes in the book. After leading a dull life, Jess finally meets the most adorable person in his life, Leslie, who happens to complement him. Paterson shows how the friendship the two was so strong that after the girl’s death, her concentration and overall lifestyle was distracted. Throughout the narration, three major subjects that Paterson stresses include hero worship, ritual, and fantasy that the author intends the reader to conceptualize.
Hero worship, the concept of finding something or someone so adorable that you picture it as your whole life, is effectively manifested in the novel. It is said that Jess had previously led a lonely life but upon meeting Leslie, his life changed completely. His experiences had been transformed so much that he could not even concentrate in class. It is said that Jess could hardly keep a straight face in class just trying to imagine what might be going on behind that angelic look of Leslie's” (Paterson 26). This incidence with Mrs. Myers indicated how much affection Jess had in Leslie.
The topic of ritual is also adequately addressed in the novel Bridge to Terabithia. Every Christmas, people would gather at Jess’s house to mark the occasion and in one particular case, Elie and Brenda are thought to have enjoyed it (Paterson 33). In fact, another ritualistic concept during the celebration is that the boys had made the habit of engaging in fights. Because of the frequency and systematic nature in which the Christmas and the fights are discussed, one gets to learner about the issue being a routine. Therefore, it is noted that the author uses the concept of making something a tradition to indicate that is had become a ritual.
Finally, the author also discusses the concept of fantasy in the narration. To discover and dream about the possibilities that life offers, the two friends, Jess and Leslie, would occasionally go to their dreamland. In Terabithia, they would get carried away in their illusion and sometimes thought of themselves as the creators. It is stated that “Like God in the Bible, they looked at what they had made and found it very good” (Paterson 24). This incidence indicates that the two friends had become so much unreal that they were picturing themselves as supernatural in their dreamland.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by O’Dell
Hemingwayesque argues that “grace under pressure” is the implication of having strength when in the face of possible defeat (Blanche La Guma 117). In the novel Island of the Blue Dolphins the author illustrates how two siblings overcame challenges ahead of them that had at some time threatened their lives. After their father’s death, the village is vulnerable to attack both from intruders and from wild animals. After his brother is killed, Karana takes over the role of guarding herself without anyone’s assistance in the jungle. The two, Karana and her brother Ramo are the main characters in the narration who effectively display acts of courage and determination that enable then to survive the harsh bush life.
Even though Ramo ends up to be killed by wild dogs in the advanced stages of the story, it is clear that he is portrayed as a young man who could defy all odds that bush life required. The most notable occasion of his courage after being defeated is when he undertook the role of keeping the village safe after being attacked and defeated by the invaders, the Aleuts. It is stated that “Ramo had the task of keeping the abalones safe from the gulls and especially the wild dogs” (O’Dell 26). In fact, as Hemingwayesque asserts, his act of displaying grace is evident as the pressure had mounted in the community and he was tasked with the role of watching it after most of the males had been killed in the confrontation.
However, the author uses Karana to show the ultimate definition strength in the face of defeat. After she had been left alone on the island after the death of her brother, Karana is described to have lived a totally independent life that and she was independent despite the danger posed by the wild. Through a monolog, she says, “I filled my canoe with abalones and paddled toward shore, one of the other following me. As I stopped he dived and came up in front of me. He was far away, yet even then I knew who it was” (O’Dell 151). This act by Karana showed that she did not mind taking the role of the man in the society as long as it was her defense tactic. According to Hemingwayesque, this action is a model of masculine virtue that is an illustration of having strength in the face of defeat (Redford).