How does Anna's meeting her second husband affect her intellectual growth in "The Leap"?

Anna's mother and the doctor fall in love, and he teaches her how to read and write.

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In "The Leap," Anna's mother meets her second husband while recovering in hospital from her accident as part of the Flying Avalons. He is a doctor, and he is called in to look at her mother's arm, which was broken during her fall.

At this point in the...

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In "The Leap," Anna's mother meets her second husband while recovering in hospital from her accident as part of the Flying Avalons. He is a doctor, and he is called in to look at her mother's arm, which was broken during her fall.

At this point in the story, Anna's mother is unable to read and write. Being stuck in the hospital, however, she becomes so bored that she decides to learn, and it is the doctor who teaches her. According to Anna, he grades her first exercises in return for hearing the stories of her adventures as part of the Flying Avalons. The doctor also buys Anna's mother her first book, a sign of his commitment to her education.

So, Anna's mother and the doctor not only fall in love, but he contributes to her intellectual development by teaching her the important skills of reading and writing.

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Anna Avalon of the Flying Avalons was illiterate when she goes to the hospital to be treated for her injuries resulting from her burns and broken arm in the fall under the circus tent. There, Anna met a doctor who taught her to read, and new worlds opened for her.

Acting as narrator, Anna's daughter states that during her mother's stay in the hospital, she and her physician husband exchanged "one form of flight for another." That is, her father offered Anna the metaphoric flight from the darkness of illiteracy through a world of books and the ability to write and express herself more proficiently. In trade, Anna offered her husband the "flight" of imaginary travels throughout the world as she related her experiences in the world's cities.

Since learning to read, Anna has not been "without a book." When blindness befalls her, her inability to read has been a difficulty she can only overcome with the help of another. Her daughter, whose life she once saved from their burning house, has returned to care for and read to her:

I came home to read to my mother, to read out loud, to read long into the dark if I must, to read all night.

There is no doubt that Anna Avalon is the richer for having met her husband who fostered her intellectual growth, a growth which continues even after she loses her sight.

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