Compare the three ways in which the narrator owes her life to her mother in "The Leap."

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the exposition of "The Leap," the narrator declares that she owes her mother her life: the first time is the day that her mother saved her own life; the second, that her mother married again and was in the hospital that brought her and her husband together; the third, that her mother saved her life by rescuing her from the burning house.

Certainly,the third time is the most active, powerful act of saving that the mother commits, for she directly puts herself in danger when she is none herself. In the other two instances, the saving of her daughter is secondary rather than primary: In the first instance with the lightning hitting the pole, the mother chooses to save herself, thus, saving her her unborn baby--

As he [her husband] swept past her on the wrong side, she could have grasped his ankle,...and gone down clutching him. Instead, she changed direction--

in the second instance at the hospital, the depressed mother is renewed by her love for her new husband who also rehabilitates her arm, thus allowing the mother to be a better parent to the narrator.

But, in the third instance the mother actively and purposefully places herself in immediate danger in order to save her daughter with no concern about her own safety. 

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