In The Leap, why has the narrator returned to her childhood home?  

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The narrator of "The Leap" by Louise Erdrich states two reasons for returning home, one slightly more explicitly than another.

The narrator's mother, Anna, had been a trapeze artist who was injured in a freak accident that also killed her first husband. Lightning struck the circus tent during the finale of a trapeze act in which she was performing. At the hospital where she recuperated from her injuries, she met her second husband, the narrator's father, who was a doctor. He taught her how to read, as she had previously been illiterate. She fell in love with reading. When her eyes began to fail her due to cataracts, her husband read to her, but then her husband died.

The narrator returns home to keep her mother company after her father's death and to read to her, as you can see from the following lines: 

Since my father's recent death, there is no one to read to her, which is why I returned, in fact, from my failed life where the land is flat. I came home to read to my mother...

The mention of a "failed life" away from home suggests a second motive for returning home, that the narrator had been doing badly when living independently. 


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