What is the genre of "The Leap"?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The genre of “The Leap” is short story, specifically realistic fiction or fictional autobiography.

The short story is a specific genre within fiction.  Fiction is a type of writing that is not true, but is written with made up characters.  Within fiction, the short story is a specific sub-genre.  It is not just short.  It is designed to have a tightly generated structure that fits within a few pages, with only a few characters and a short plot with few or no subplots.  Realistic fiction means that the story is something that could have reasonably happened.

This story is obviously short, you can see that yourself.  It does not really have a plot in the traditional sense.  It is more like a reminiscence, or a fictional autobiography.  In the story, the narrator describes all of the ways in which her mother has saved her life.

I was seven the year the house caught fire, probably from standing ash. It can rekindle, and my father, forgetful around the house and perpetually exhausted from night hours on call, often emptied what he thought were ashes from cold stoves into wooden or cardboard containers.

You can see that the story is told in the first person, which gives it the autobiographical story.  It is also told more as a series of incidents, mostly the times her mother saved her life.  In that case, it is more about the impact of the author’s mother on her life, beginning with the exciting sentence saying that her mother is “the surviving half of a blindfold trapeze act.”

The story is told as a daughter looking back, when her mother is older.  She is describing all of the things she is grateful for, and the impact of her mother on her life.  Her mother was a remarkable woman.  Besides being a circus act, she was brave and strong in other ways.  She was a fighter, and as an adult the narrator is looking back on that and reflecting on how it is influencing the adult she has become.

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