What is the climax for the story called "The Leap" by Louise Erdrich?


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You unfortunately have broken enotes regulations by asking more than one question - you are only allowed to ask one question per day, so I have edited this question down and will respond to one element - the climax in this story. If you wish to find out the other stages of this story you will need to ask more questions.

It is important to remember that this story can be quite confusing for readers to understand because it employs a technique called flashbacks, when the narrator looks back at events in her life and the action jumps between these different times. The climax of the story actually occurred in the past, and the narrator is looking back and telling us about what happened. The climax of the story is clearly when the house caught fire and it looks as if the narrator is not able to escape and will die:

Outside, my mother stood below my dark window and saw clearly that there was no rescue. Flames had pierced one side wall, and the glare of the fire lighted the massive limbs and trunk of the vigorous old elm that had probably been planted the year the house was built, a hundred years ago at least. No leaf touched the wall, and just one thin branch scraped the roof. From below, it looked as though even a squirrel would have had trouble jumping from the tree onto the house, for the breadth of that small branch was no bigger than my mother's wrist.

It is this climax, when the narrator is apparently facing certain death, that gives the mother the opportunity to use her amazing agility and talent as a trapeze artist to make "the leap" that a squirrel would have struggled to make and rescue her daughter. Now I have identified the climax for you, go back and see if you can identify the other elements of the story. Good luck!

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What are the two rising actions and climaxes of the story "The Leap" by Louise Erdrich? 

The two rising actions and climaxes involve the first and third time that the narrator owes her life to her mother.

  • During the first occurrence for which the narrator is indebted to her mother, the disaster of the collapse of the circus tent happened; during the critical time in which Anna Avalon fell through the air (rising action), she had the presence of mind to realize that she could not save her husband (rising action), so she might as well try to save herself by curving her body and veering toward the high wires (climax), which she succeeded in grabbing onto, and even though they burned her hands severely, she saved her life, and she hoped that of her unborn child.
  • During the third occurrence for which the narrator truly owes her mother her life, the narrator is seven years old and is caught in her burning home. When her mother returns with her father, she immediately asks him to unzip her dress, but her husband is too nervous. The mother who "lives comfortably in extreme circumstances" quickly pulls off her dress, climbs a tree whose one branch touches the house (rising action) and leaps from a branch catching her heels in the gutter. She knocks on the daughter's window, tells her to prop it open and step out(more rising action). With the girl in her arms, Anna points her toes toward the fireman's net and soars through the air (climax), landing perfectly.

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