What correlation is there between theme or narratorial point of view and the use of female body images in Erdrich's "The Leap"?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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The predominant theme of "The Leap" is various full circles in life being connected. As an example, consider the first full circle. Anna's husband is falling to his death after the lightning strike. Anna attempts to complete the circle of life by grabbing the blazing cable thus striving to save the child fathered by her plummeting husband. Consider also the end circle. The narrator is trapped in a burning house. Anna dares the impossible to rescue her. They plummet down together toward the firefighters' rescue net with the narrator curled against Anna's stomach, safe against the outside of her womb reminiscent of the first baby within Anna's womb:

we flew out the window, toward earth, me in her lap, her toes pointed as we skimmed toward the painted target of the fire fighter's net.

I know that she's right. I knew it even then. As you fall there is time to think. Curled as I was, against her stomach, ... I wrapped my hands around my mother's hands. I felt the brush of her lips and heard the beat of her heart in my ears, loud as thunder

The heaviest instances of female body imagery are in the opening paragraph and in the closing paragraphs. The images show Anna making physical connections and closing physical circles. For example, in the opening paragraph, Anna is described as having cataracts and touching her way through the house without ever losing her balance or bumping into anything. Here the circle is closed in that Anna returns to activities (different purposes) from her past. It is also closed in that her touch is what saved her after the lightning and is saving her now (on a smaller scale).

As to point of view, the point of view is first person told through Anna's daughter's understanding and focalization. The point of view closes a circle of life by connecting the female body images to the characterization of Anna through her daughter's perception of her:

I would, in fact, tend to think that all memory of double somersaults and heart-stopping catches had left her arms and legs ... [except she is] lightly touching her way along walls and running her hands over knickknacks,

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