Bridge to Terabithia

by

Katherine Paterson

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May Belle Aarons Character Analysis

Jess’s younger sister. A six-year-old who’s unusually precocious and perceptive for her age, May Belle is Jess’s favorite sibling. She looks up to him and admires his resilience as a runner. May Belle often does Jess favors around the house, helping him with his chores when his older sisters, Brenda and Ellie, would never even stop to consider such a request. May Belle is sweet, naïve, generous, and curious. She constantly longs to tag along and play with Jess and Leslie—but because the two of them usually want to be alone in Terabithia, they come up with ways of distracting and placating May Belle. At the same time, they are fiercely defensive of May Belle—when she’s bullied at school by Janice Avery, they scheme to come up with a way to get Janice back on May Belle’s behalf. At the end of the novel, after Leslie’s death, Jess builds a bridge to Terabithia to prevent an accident like Leslie’s from hurting anyone ever again—and welcomes May Belle to Terabithia as its new queen, demonstrating his desire to continue building his relationship with May Belle even in the face of his grief.

May Belle Aarons Quotes in Bridge to Terabithia

The Bridge to Terabithia quotes below are all either spoken by May Belle Aarons or refer to May Belle 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 2 Quotes

“Daddy!” May Belle screamed with delight and started running for the road. Jess watched his dad stop the truck, lean over to unlatch the door, so May Belle could climb in. He turned away. Durn lucky kid. She could run after him and grab him and kiss him. It made Jess ache inside…

Related Characters: May Belle Aarons (speaker), Jess Aarons, Mr. Aarons
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

On the bus that afternoon [Jess] sat down beside May Belle. It was the only way he could make sure that he wouldn’t have Leslie plunking herself down beside him. Lord, the girl had no notion of what you did and didn’t do.

Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

Jess raced to the sound of May Belle’s cry. She had gotten halfway across on the tree bridge and now stood there grabbing the upper branches, terrified to move either forward or backward.

Related Characters: Jess Aarons, May Belle Aarons
Page Number: 153
Explanation and Analysis:

When [Jess] finished, he put flowers in [May Belle’s] hair and led her across the bridge—the great bridge into Terabithia—which might look to someone with no magic in him like a few planks across a nearly dry gully.

“Shhh,” he said. “Look.”

“Where?”

“Can’t you see ‘um?” he whispered. “All the Terabithians standing on tiptoe to see you. […] There’s a rumor going around that the beautiful girl arriving today might be the queen they’ve been waiting for.”

Related Characters: Jess Aarons (speaker), May Belle Aarons (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Bridge to Terabithia
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Bridge to Terabithia LitChart as a printable PDF.
Bridge to Terabithia PDF

May Belle Aarons Character Timeline in Bridge to Terabithia

The timeline below shows where the character May Belle Aarons appears in Bridge to Terabithia. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...pulls on a pair of overalls, then begins tiptoeing from the room. His younger sister, May Belle , sits up and excitedly asks Jess if he’s going out for a run. Their... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...also make his reticent, overworked father proud. In the middle of his reverie, Jess hears May Belle calling for him because it is time for breakfast. Jess races back home and sits... (full context)
Gender Roles Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
...picking beans from the vegetable patch in the yard. In the heat of the afternoon, May Belle comes outside to tell Jess to look across the street—a family is moving into the... (full context)
Chapter 2
Fantasy and Escapism Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...Aarons is short-tempered, taking all her rage out on Jess. Jess fixes sandwiches for himself, May Belle , and Joyce Ann since their mother is too tired to make them supper. May... (full context)
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...at all. Just at that moment, Mr. Aarons’s car pulls into the drive. Jess watches May Belle run outside and rush toward it to hug and kiss their father—he wishes he could... (full context)
Chapter 3
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
That afternoon, on the bus, Jess sits down next to May Belle —something he rarely does. He doesn’t want to be seen sitting with Leslie, who has... (full context)
Chapter 4
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
That afternoon on the bus, Leslie sits with Jess and May Belle and tells them all about her old school in Arlington, a suburb of Washington. Jess... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
That afternoon, when Jess, Leslie, and May Belle get off at their stop, Leslie asks if Jess wants to play. May Belle says... (full context)
Chapter 5
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
One day, May Belle brings a pack of Twinkies to school as a snack—she is excited about them, as... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
...day, on the bus, Janice Avery stomps down the aisle, her eyes full of hatred. May Belle marvels at the horrific expression on Janice’s face and asks Leslie and Jess if they... (full context)
Chapter 6
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
...of school before the holiday, as Jess pools his money with his sisters to buy May Belle a Barbie doll, he frets over being unable to afford anything for Leslie. He wishes... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...Prince Terrien remains with Jess even as his family bickers and squabbles. The next morning, May Belle gets her Barbie while Jess receives a racing-car set. Jess struggles to set the thing... (full context)
Chapter 7
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Individuality vs. Conformity Theme Icon
Fantasy and Escapism Theme Icon
...someone always wants something from Jess. Whether his mother is pestering him about chores or May Belle and Joyce Ann are begging him to play, Jess can’t get a quiet moment alone. (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Fantasy and Escapism Theme Icon
That night, in their bedroom, May Belle whispers to Jess and tells him that she followed him and Leslie this afternoon—now she... (full context)
Chapter 8
Appearances vs. Reality Theme Icon
...liked it “better than a movie” and found the story of Jesus beautiful and interesting. May Belle pipes up and says that the story of Jesus scares her. Jess agrees with his... (full context)
Chapter 10
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...in an income. Jess crawls out of bed, planning on going to milk Miss Bessie. May Belle wakes and tells him she can’t sleep because of the rain. He invites her to... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
May Belle calls Jess inside, telling him that someone is on the phone for him. He never... (full context)
Chapter 11
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
...will speak up and say it’s all a cruel joke—as he looks at the wide-eyed May Belle , he hears her words about Leslie being damned to hell in his head. (full context)
Chapter 12
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Jess leaves the Burkes’ abruptly and runs home crying angry tears. May Belle excitedly asks if Jess got to see Leslie’s corpse, and Jess hits her in the... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Gender Roles Theme Icon
...that grieving is “hell.” Jess asks if hell is real, reminding his father of what May Belle said about nonbelievers being damned. Mr. Aaron assures Jess that God doesn’t send “little girls”... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Back at the house, everyone is kind and gentle with Jess—except for May Belle , who’s still angry with him. Jess doesn’t know how to apologize to his sister.... (full context)
Chapter 13
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
...peace is disrupted when Jess hears someone calling his name and shouting for help—it is May Belle . He runs back to the creek and finds that she’s gotten halfway across the... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Fantasy and Escapism Theme Icon
...the rope swing used to be, forming a bridge, then starts nailing the crosspieces on. May Belle , who has followed Jess down to the creek, asks what he’s doing. Jess says... (full context)
Friendship, Grief, and Loss Theme Icon
Fantasy and Escapism Theme Icon
When Jess finally finishes building the bridge to Terabithia, he puts flowers in May Belle ’s hair and leads her across the structure—he urges her to look around her at... (full context)