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Short Story Analysis on "The Leap" by Louise Erdrich

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Amanda Machado

on 5 November 2014

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Transcript of Short Story Analysis on "The Leap" by Louise Erdrich

by Louise Erdrich
A Short Story Analysis On
In "The Leap," the main character is Anna Avalon's
who is also the protagonist, and the narrator, Anna's daughter.
More About the Story
In "The Leap," some examples of symbolism are...
This short story has more than one theme, like any good
story would. A couple of them are...
The title for this story has a literal, and
a figurative meaning.
Reason For Title
The Basics
"The Leap"
Minor characters include Harold Avalon and her
most recent husband (the narrator's father).
Which point of view does Louise Erdich use to write this story? How do we know?
The Setting
Where does the Leap take place?

The narrator communicates her story mostly through flash backs, but it physically takes place in the narrator's
child hood home.
"The Leap" is mainly about how the daughter of a trapeze artist has come to the realization that she owes her mother her very existence a total of three
different times.
About the Story
By Saving Herself
When Anna and her husband were performing, lighting struck the circus tent.
Anna had to chose to survive or go down with Harry. Ultimately, Harry died along with their 7 month old unborn child.
The unfortunate accident led Anna to a hospital, where she then met the
narrator's father, he stayed by her bedside and they fell in love.
Giving Her Life
Saving Her Life
When the narrator was seven she found herself in an inescapable burning house, where Anna had to use her trapeze skills and a nearby tree to rescue her.
Self vs. Self
trapeze accident or instead try to save her husband Harry Avalon.
Whether or not Anna would save herself and her baby in the
Self vs. Fear
Whether Anna could get over her fear from her almost fatal
fall and risk her life in order to rescue her daughter from the burning house.
Where the conflict goes away...
when Anna let Harry fall, and grabbed onto the electrified pole in order
to keep her and child alive.
when Anna uses the talent she's kept in her past, to leap onto the
tree and into her daughter's window so she could save her life.
Examples of
Anna's life changed after her fail of a blind trapeze
act and now she is slowly becoming permanently blind
from cataracts.
When Erdrich writes, "They loved to drop
gracefully from nowhere, like two sparkling
When the narrator tells the reader about the house fire when she was seven years old, she speaks of it as a memory, something that has already happened.
Burned Hands
After the accident, Anna's hands had been burned,
so much so that the impression of the lines had disappeared making them totally smooth. This symbolizes Anna's unplanned life. Her "life line" has gone and her life became surprising and unpredictable.
The Tombstone
the future she thought she would have.
Symbolizes the death of Anna's old life and
Ages of Children During Crisis
seven months old when she passed symbolizes how old her second daughter, the narrator, was (7 years old) when she was almost caught in the house fire.
The fact that Anna's unborn baby was
Sometimes you have to take risks.
order to save her baby and herself. Even though she did lose her child, she had to try.
Also she risked her life to save her second daughter from the fire. As a mother, she did not hesitate to try rescuing her. She had no choice.
Anna had to risk losing Harry, in
Great things happen when courage overcomes fear.
When Anna knew
what she had to do to save her child, she did so. Even though it took getting over her fear of her past fall, her courage over came that fear when she leaped onto that tree to save her daughter.
When you think about the scenes of the trapeze accident and the house fire, the mood is a bit dark, even frightening.
But there is also a perceptive/insightful mood to the story that comes from her deep thought into the influence and impact her mother has had in her life.
Literally, there were two physical "leaps." Once in the trapeze act and a second time to the window of the burning house.
"The Leap" also shows symbolism with is figurative meaning in the
plot, when Anna falls from her act, she ends up in the hospital where
she meets a man that teachers her to read, enjoy books, and how
to live a lifestyle of normalcy. She "leaped" from circus acrobat
to house wife and mother.
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