In the story "The Leap," what are the similarities between the two leaps?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Both leaps Anna makes are daring, last-ditch efforts to save her child.

The first leap Anna makes is to save her life during a terrible accident. Anna is part of a trapeze act. One day, she is performing her act while seven months pregnant. While she is performing, there is a storm. Lightning strikes the circus tent’s main pole, and Anna takes a calculated risk. She jumps.

Her body twisted toward a heavy wire and she managed to hang on to the braided metal, still hot from the lightning strike. Her palms were burned so terribly that once healed they bore no lines, only the blank scar tissue of a quieter future.

Three people die that day, but other than the burns, Anna survives. Unfortunately, Anna’s husband dies, and although she is put on bed rest, her baby is stillborn. The leap saved Anna’s life, but it did not save the baby.

Anna meets the narrator’s father while recuperating in the hospital. They marry, and then move to a decrepit farmhouse. One day, there is a fire. The narrator is trapped upstairs. Anna’s husband is helpless and not sure what to do. Once again, Anna solves the problem with a leap.

I didn't see her leap through air, only heard the sudden thump and looked out my window. She was hanging by the backs of her heels from the new gutter we had put in that year, and she was smiling. I was not surprised to see her, she was so matter-of-fact. 

Like the first leap, this one was dangerous and next to impossible. Also like the first leap, this one is intended to save her child's life. The narrator considers both leaps times that her mother saved her life. The first time, Anna saved her future daughter’s life by saving her own life. This time, she directly saves her by acting when no one else can. She uses her old skills and somehow manages this incredible feat.

Read the study guide:
The Leap

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