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

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.