In "The Leap," there is a question about making predictions about the end of the story from things earlier within the story.

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

That "The Leap" would end in a flashback can be predicted from the tone of the story and from things the narrator emphasizes, such as "read all night" and "owe[ing]" her "existence" to her mother. "The Leap" ends appropriately in the midst of the mother's leap from the fire-engulfed upstairs window where her daughter was trapped in flames. They are headed, with her mother's toes pointed, toward the "fire fighter's net," and the narrator echoes her mother's own experience of finding "how many things a person can do within the act of falling" while she contemplates possibilities and nestles against her mother's stomach.

Firstly, this ending might be predicted by the title itself: Since the story emphasizes the results of one leap, it is fitting that it end in another leap. However textual evidence of tone also predicts the ending. The tone is one of giving tribute, of admiring a life almost lived out. The narrator refers four times to owing her existence to her mother:

I owe her my existence three times ...
The first was when she saved herself ...
I owe my existence, the second time then, to the two of them and the hospital ...
I didn't see her leap through air ...

Therefore, since the whole story is a tribute, it can be predicted that the end and resolution will offer the greatest tribute--the leap that saved her life.

Finally, the end can be predicted from textual evidence of what the narrator emphasizes. She emphasizes the mother's heroic acts, like burning her hands to save her life and her unborn baby's life (or to try to any way, as the baby didn't survive after all). She emphasizes how she owes her life to her mother. She emphasizes the things in her mother's now blind-sighted life that allude back to her skill as a trapeze artist. Additionally, she emphasizes how she feels about her mother, which is most dramatically revealed in her determined and selfless statement that she will "read all night, if I must."

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The Leap

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