In "The Leap," how do a sound, an odor, and a certain setting work together to spark the narrator's memory at the beginning of the story?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the exposition of "The Leap," the narrator, the daughter of the former Anna Avalon of the flying Avalons, has her childhood memories triggered by the sound of a crackling fire and the smell of smoke as she sits in the sewing room which was once her bedroom as a child.

These sensory memories are reminders to the narrator, whose blind mother now lives with her, that she owes her life to this remarkable woman. For, it was she who first preserved her own life in a life-threatening accident under the big top, then again using her tremendous acrobatic skills, she rescued her seven-year-old girl from the child's burning bedroom on the second story of their home. By climbing a ladder, then inching along the length of a tree's branch that "curved above a branch that brushed the roof," the mother was able to balance upon this delicate branch and leap onto upon the roof. Once there she gently tapped upon her daughter's window so as not to alarm the child, and she motioned for the girl to open wide the window. "She swung down, caught the ledge, and crawled through the opening." Once inside the room, the mother picked up her child and they

...flew out the window, toward earth...her toes pointed as [they] skimmed toward the painted target of the fire fighter's net.

This daring rescue, therefore, is what the daughter will always remember whenever she has the sensory experiences of sound, smell, and place.

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