What comparisons do you think the narrator would make between her life and her mothers?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A strong connection that the narrator/daughter makes is that she and her mother are bound together in an existential way.

First of all, when lightning struck the circus tent pole as she and Harold Avalon were in midair, the mother made the decision to save her own life by grabbing the high wire. By doing so, she was indirectly able to give life to her daughter, for in saving herself, Anna Avalon was injured and went to the town's hospital where she met the narrator's father and later gave birth to the daughter.

Secondly, when the family's house catches on fire, the mother again faces danger in order to save a life. This time Anna acts directly to preserve the life of her daughter by climbing a ladder, balancing on tree limbs, and hanging upon a new gutter in order to reach the window through which her child can escape a raging house fire. Then, holding her daughter in her lap, Anna and her daughter "skimmed toward the painted target of the fire fighter's net." As they fall, the daughter hears the beat of her mother's heart, an existential experience not unlike that of when she was a baby in the womb.

dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first comparison that the narrator would make between herself and her mother is that at this point in their lives, neither of them are strong enough to be on their own.  The narrator makes a point of telling the reader that she moved back in with her mother not only because her mother could not see and needed her help but also because she, the narrator, was not doing very well in her life either. 

A second comparison would be that both of these women seem to have faced a great deal of adversity in their lives and had to deal with death and near death experiences.  The narrator’s mother obviously had to deal with the death of her husband and her unborn child and the fact that she almost died herself.  Additionally, she almost lost her daughter in the fire but was able to save her instead.  Similarly, the narrator had to deal with a near death experience when the firemen could not save her from the burning house and her mother had to come to her rescue.