How does the narrator feel about her mother in "The Leap"?  

In Louise Erdrich's story "The Leap," the narrator exhibits great admiration, respect, and love for her mother, Anna, as she relates the tragedies and victories of Anna's life.

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The narrator in Louise Erdrich's story "The Leap" feels tremendous love, respect, and admiration for her mother. This shows clearly many times as she relates the events, trials, struggles, and victories of her mother's unique life.

The narrator's admiration for her mother is first revealed when she speaks of how her now-blind mother Anna walks through the house without ever knocking anything over or losing her balance. Her senses are fine-tuned, and the narrator thinks that this "catlike precision" probably comes from the days when her mother was one half of the Flying Avalons circus act. The narrator then speaks of the tragedy that took the life of her mother's first husband. A storm blew the circus tent down, killing him. The narrator marvels how in saving herself, she saved her future children as well, even though the child she carried at the time was born dead.

The narrator most certainly respects her mother's reaction to the tragedy. It could have crushed her spirit, but she did not let it. Anna knew her circus career was over because of her injuries. Her husband was dead. Yet she carried on. She recovered. She found new companionship and eventually love in the doctor who treated her arm (and later became her new husband and the narrator's father). Anna even developed a new passion. She learned to read, and she loved it.

The narrator's love for her mother is especially revealed in her story of how her mother so courageously saved her from their burning house. Her parents had been away that evening, and when they got home, they found the house in flames and their seven-year-old daughter trapped in an upstairs bedroom. Anna never hesitated. She stripped to her underwear, climbed a tree, and leaped out so that she was hanging by her heels from the gutter. The narrator says that her mother remained completely calm as her daughter opened the window. She swung in, held the girl close to her, and jumped directly into the firefighters' net. Her daughter didn't even have time to become scared in Anna's comforting arms. Indeed, the narrator realizes that she owes her life to her mother in more ways than one, and she admires, respects, and loves this woman who risked everything for her. That is why she has moved home to care for her now.

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