The Leap Questions and Answers
by Louise Erdrich

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What is the theme of "The Leap" by Lousie Erdrich?

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The theme of “The Leap” by Louise Erdrich is that survival often depends upon the ability to use reason. The narrator’s mother exhibits quick-thinking when lightning strikes the tent pole during her trapeze act with her first husband. Erdrich writes,

My mother once said that I'd be amazed at how many things a person can do within the act of falling. Perhaps, at the time, she was teaching me to dive off a board at the town pool, for I associate the idea with midair somersaults. But I also think she meant that even in that awful doomed second one could think, for she certainly did. When her hands did not meet her husband's, my mother tore her blindfold away. As he swept past her on the wrong side, she could have grasped his ankle, the toe-end of his tights, and gone down clutching him. Instead, she changed direction. Her body twisted toward a heavy wire and she managed to hang on to the braided metal, still hot from the lightning strike.

In this part of the story, the “act of...

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