In "The Leap" by Louise Erdrich, what does the theme "As you fall, there is time to think" mean and how is it important to the story?

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hstaley | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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The narrator's mother made three leaps in the short story, "The Leap."  The first leap was a literal one which dealt with the mother leaping to safety in the fire from the tent.  The second was more figurative or symbolic because she made a leap of faith in loving and trusting her second husband.  The third was a leap into her burning house to save her daughter from the fire.  With all of these "leaps," there was the opportunity to decide which actions to take.  In the first, she made the conscious decision to grab hold of the electrified wire to save herself.  In the second, she decided to take the risk of loving again.  In the third, she had to decide the best way to access and save her daughter.  All of these leaps involved falling, or some sort of failure, but she still had time, even if it was seconds, to determine the course her life would take.