What sensory details help reveal the similarities between the two main flashbacks in the story "The Leap"?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two main flashbacks in "The Leap" involve details about Anna Avalon's life-saving leaps. During these leaps there are several sensory details of the use of legs, arms, and hands, torso, and of course, keen eyesight.

1. The first leap takes place when the violent storm strikes the big top where the Flying Avalons are in middair. As lightning strikes the main pole and "sizzled down the guy wires," Harry is toppled forward, but Anna twists her body so that she is able to grab a braided metal guide wire that sizzles from the electrical energy. While she saves herself, the palms of her hands are severely burned. Unfortunately, an "overeager" rescuer breaks her arm in trying to extricate her from the wreckage, and she hemorrhages from some internal injury; consequently, she miscarries her seventh-month old fetus.

2. The second leap is replete with sensory details. This time Anna saves her daughter, but she again risks her life. When she and her husband return home, they discover that their house is on fire. More importantly, the daughter's bedroom is about to burn. Anna strips down to her underwear, climbs a tree whose branch is not far from the girl's bedroom window; on this bough, she inches along on her stomach. Once above the house, Anna stands and balances a moment over the other branch that curves above the branch that skims the roof. Then with the grace that only she possesses, Anna leaps to "that thinnest extension" which breaks, but it cracks in her hands as she vaults toward the roof's edge. The broken bough breaks and the bystanders look up to see where Anna "has flown." She has leaped onto the roof, for her daughter hears her. Then, she sees her mother "hanging by the backs of her heels." To encourage her daughter, Anna smiles. Tapping on the window, Anna beckons the daughter to release the latch by gesturing. She speaks to the daughter, instructing her to raise it and prop it up with a stick so that will have no chance of crushing her fingers.  She swings down, catches the ledge with her hands and crawls through the window.
Together mother and daughter fly through the air with the daughter lying in her mother's lap. Her mother's toes are pointed and they "skim" through the air to the firefighters' net.

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The Leap

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