What are three ways the narrator of "The Leap" owes her existence to her mother? What literary techniques are used to reveal this?

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The first time the narrator is saved by her mother is during the trapeze act. Anna is blindfolded as part of the act. When the storm strikes, she chooses to save herself rather than go down with her husband. The blindfold is either ironic or an example of foreshadowing because,...

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The first time the narrator is saved by her mother is during the trapeze act. Anna is blindfolded as part of the act. When the storm strikes, she chooses to save herself rather than go down with her husband. The blindfold is either ironic or an example of foreshadowing because, later in life, Anna is sightless because of cataracts. In the process of falling, she removes her blindfold and catches hold of a searing hot wire. When Anna's hands heal, the lines are gone, leaving "only the blank scar tissue of a quieter future." Here again, we have a slight foreshadowing of fire and an inclination about Anna's future because she trades trapeze "flying" for a safer family life.

Anna learns to read from her second husband, the narrator's father. So, the first tragic (and actual) leap led to the next symbolic leap in Anna's life: marrying again and learning to read.

The third and final leap is when Anna rescues her daughter (narrator) from their burning house. Two of these leaps are actual leaps. The second is the symbolic leap Anna makes in changing her life. The metaphor of the leap can be attributed to any gesture a mother makes to ensure her daughter's safety. Erdrich could have added other "leaps" or sacrifices that Anna may have made for her daughter. This is the theme of the leap: each represents a mother's sacrifice. And also note that the narrator moves back in with her mother to take care of her and read to her. This is the narrator's way of returning the favor or of making a reciprocal leap for her mother.

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All of the three are presented through the literary technique of flashback, in which the narrator looks backwards in time and identifies the way that her mother Anna engaged in acts that directly led to her daughter's existence. The are told in a stream-of-consciousness style in the first person. 

The first leap is a physical one. As the mother was performing on a trapeze, blindfolded, lightning struck the main pole of the circus tent, causing the tent and trapeze to collapse. Anna grabbed a wire and managed to save herself from falling and dying with her husband.

The second leap was her marriage to a doctor, the narrator's father. The narrator's mother leapt metaphorically away from her familiar environment of the circus. In making this leap, she also learned to read, a great intellectual leap as she had previously been illiterate, and one that ignited in her a lifelong love of reading.

The third leap is the one Anna took from a tree to save her daughter, who was trapped in an upstairs bedroom, from a house fire. 

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