Bridge to Terabithia

by

Katherine Paterson

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Brenda Aarons Character Analysis

Jess’s eldest sister. Brenda thinks Jess is a nuisance and is constantly teasing him, laughing at him, and trying to get him in trouble with their mother. She is preoccupied with looks and fashion, and often finds herself getting frustrated and upset with their family’s lack of money. Jess finds Brenda “dumb” and self-centered and hates the way that she and Ellie conspire to gang up on him. Brenda isn’t really redeemed at any point in the novel—she continues to berate and criticize Jess even after the death of Leslie, policing the way he reacts to her loss, and only behaves gently toward him in a single moment when forced to by her family.

Brenda Aarons Quotes in Bridge to Terabithia

The Bridge to Terabithia quotes below are all either spoken by Brenda Aarons or refer to Brenda Aarons. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of Bridge to Terabithia published in 2017.
Chapter 4 Quotes

[Jess] wasn’t comfortable having Leslie at his house either. […] Brenda and Ellie always made some remark about “girl friend.” His mother acted stiff and funny [and] later she would refer to Leslie’s “tacky” clothes. […] Her hair was “shorter than a boy’s.” Her parents were “hardly more than hippies.” […] His father had seen Leslie only a few times and had nodded to show that he had noticed her, but his mother said that she was sure he was fretting that his only son did nothing but play with girls, and they both were worried about what would become of it.

Page Number: 58-59
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

“What are you giving your girl friend, Jess?” Brenda screwed her face up in that ugly way she had. [Jess] tried to ignore her. […]

“Don’t you know, Brenda?” Ellie joined in. “Jess ain’t got no girl friend.”

“Well, you’re right for once. Nobody with any sense would call that stick a girl.” […] Something huge and hot swelled right up inside of him. […] Lord, it hurt his guts to realize that it was Brenda who was his blood sister, and that […] he and Leslie were not related at all. Maybe, he thought, I was a foundling, like in the stories.

Related Characters: Brenda Aarons (speaker), Ellie Aarons (speaker), Jess Aarons, Leslie Burke
Page Number: 72-73
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

“Well, Momma, he’s just sitting there eating pancakes like nothing happened. I’d be crying my eyes out.”

Ellie was looking first at Mrs. Aarons and then at Brenda. “Boys ain’t supposed to cry at times like this. Are they, Momma?”

Related Characters: Brenda Aarons (speaker), Ellie Aarons (speaker), Jess Aarons, Leslie Burke , Mrs. Aarons
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Bridge to Terabithia LitChart as a printable PDF.
Bridge to Terabithia PDF

Brenda Aarons Character Timeline in Bridge to Terabithia

The timeline below shows where the character Brenda Aarons appears in Bridge to Terabithia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...breakfast. Jess races back home and sits down at the table, where he older sisters Brenda and Ellie complain about his sweaty stink and beg their mother to force Jess to... (full context)
Chapter 2
Fantasy and Escapism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Ellie and Brenda, who promised their mother they’d be home from shopping by seven, don’t return by the... (full context)
Chapter 6
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Fantasy and Escapism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
As Christmas approaches, Ellie and Brenda become “obsessed” with buying presents for their boyfriends at school. Mrs. Aarons attempts to remind... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...toy a piece of “junk” and nearly kicks it. As the day dissolves into misery, Brenda expresses jealousy over Ellie’s gifts and Joyce Ann breaks one of her new toys. Mrs.... (full context)
Chapter 8
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
...once a year on Easter, and the visit is a big one. Mrs. Aarons tells Brenda and Ellie that she’ll take them shopping soon—but one afternoon, Mr. Aarons brings home the... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...is milking the cow and sits with him. He tells her about the sad news—and Brenda and Ellie’s self-centered reactions to not being able to afford new Easter clothes. Leslie says... (full context)
Chapter 10
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
...room, his mother looks up at him and begins sobbing. Jess asks what’s happening, and Brenda snottily says that his “girl friend” is dead—and everyone thought, until now, that Jess was... (full context)
Chapter 11
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...that he hasn’t eaten anything since yesterday afternoon. He sits down at the table with Brenda and Ellie and begins eating pancakes. Brenda snottily states that if her boyfriend died, she... (full context)