Bridge to Terabithia

by

Katherine Paterson

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Bill Burke Character Analysis

Leslie’s father and Judy’s husband. A political writer whose job often takes him to Washington, D.C., Bill and his wife are open-minded and progressive. At the start of the novel, sick of city life and the pull of fame, they move to the rural town of Lark Creek to “reassess their value structure,” bringing Leslie along with them. Bill is patient, artistic, and open in his ideas and emotions—the polar opposite of Jess’s own father. Bill and Judy are devastated in the wake of their daughter’s death and waste little time packing up their house in preparation to return to the city.
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Bill Burke Character Timeline in Bridge to Terabithia

The timeline below shows where the character Bill Burke appears in Bridge to Terabithia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
...isn’t necessarily afraid of Leslie’s parents, but he is intimidated by them. Their names are Bill and Judy, and that is what Leslie calls them. They are both writers and intellectuals,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Fantasy and Escapism Theme Icon
After Christmas, Leslie’s father Bill, who has been busy commuting back and forth to Washington for the last several months... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
...standoffish she notices Jess being—eventually, she confronts him about it, asking if he doesn’t like Bill. Jess says it’s not that he doesn’t like Bill—rather it’s that he’s worried Leslie doesn’t... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Bill often compliments Jess’s skill with tools and capacity for hard work, but Jess still feels... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Fantasy and Escapism Theme Icon
After several weeks, the living room is at last finished. Jess, Leslie, and Bill have painted it gold and refinished the original floorboards—Leslie feels the room is now filled... (full context)
Chapter 12
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Bill comes into the room and wraps Jess in a hug. Jess doesn’t move as he... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
As the adults begin talking, Jess overhears Bill tell his parents that Leslie has been cremated. Jess feels something inside his head click... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
...angry with him. Jess doesn’t know how to apologize to his sister. Later that afternoon, Bill comes by and asks Jess to watch Prince Terrien for a couple days while the... (full context)
Chapter 13
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
On Wednesday, Bill and Judy return from Pennsylvania with a U-Haul, ready to pack up the Perkins place.... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Bill, growing teary, says that he envisioned leaving Prince Terrien with Jess—but after some time away... (full context)