What are some problems in "The Leap"?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The text references various problems that clearly have impacted both the narrator and also her mother, Anna, the surviving half of the Flying Avalons, the trapeze group of which her first husband and herself were members. Problems such as the lightning bolt hitting the tent and then the death of her husband, and her own stillbirth, must have had a massive impact on Anna. In addition, was the fact that she had never learned to read because of her constant touring. This however is remedied when she meets the narrator's father, who teaches her to read:

It was in the hospital that she finally learned to read and write, as a way of overcoming the boredom and depression of those weeks, and it was my father who insisted on teaching her. In return for stories of' her adventures, he graded her first exercises. He bought her her first book, and over her hold letters, which the pale guides of the penmanship pads could not contain, they fell in love.

Further problems are shown through the narrator's house catching fire when she was seven and the need she has to be rescued. This is something that continues into later life, as the narrator suggests that she has returned to be with her mother because of her need to escape some unspecified situation. The story therefore contains lots of examples of problems, some of which are solved.

rareynolds eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One way to think about the "problems" in the story is to think about the three times the narrator owed her life to her mother. The first was her mother's survival of the trapeze accident that killed her first husband; the second was her mother's chance encounter with the man who would become her father -- the man who taught her to read; the third was the time her mother rescued her from a house fire. These are all versions, in a way, of the same "problem" -- the problem of how the narrator came to be, or the problem of motherhood. In a sense, the real problem of the story is the narrator's struggle to come to terms with her mother, a person of quiet heroism and inscrutable motivation, who nevertheless is responsible for her life. The story offers no "solution" to this problem, other than to suggest that a mother's love, and protection, is something that is felt rather than understood.

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The Leap

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