What is the theme of "The Leap" by Lousie Erdrich?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The title of "The Leap" conjures the words of the Existentialist Soren Kierkegaard, who described faith as a leap. The narrator's mother, Anna Avalon, who made a living in leaping with faith into the arms of her husband, also decided to leap twice in the faith of her belief in the importance of maternal love in order to save her children: the unborn baby during the circus accident--

As he swept past her on the wrong side, she could have grasped his ankle, the toe-end of his tights, and gone down clutching him. Instead, she changed direction--

and the narrator as a child in a burning home. Anna had enough faith in the importance of motherhood and the saving of another life that she has twice risked her own life and leaped to save her children. For Anna Avalon human life has always been precious and meaning in her life has depended upon those for whom she is responsible; therefore, she has made leaps.  This, then, is a theme of "The Leap"--the importance of the life of one's child, a being who shapes the meaning of love.


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