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Indirect characterisation is mainly used in this excellent story to explore the relationship between the mother and the narrator, her daughter. Note the way in which the admiration of the daughter is evident from the very first paragraph, as the narrator describes her mother's blindness but also how well she manages:
She has never upset an object or as much as brushed a magazine on to the floor. She has never lost her balance or bumped into a closet door left carelessly open.
The respect she has for her mother is evident through this comment. However, the most revealing comment from my point of view comes at the very end, when the love, closeness and intimacy the two share is completely evident:
I slowly wondered what would happen if we missed the circle or bounced out of it. Then I wrapped my hands around my mother's hands. I felt the brush of her lips and heard the beat of her heart in my ears, loud as thunder, long as the roll of drums.
Even when they were falling together from the house, the narrator does not spend much time wondering about fear, but rather the closeness she shares with her mother is an antitode to fear and takes it away. The "brush of her lips" is a moving, physical expression of love, comfort and concern, as the "roll of drums" to which the mother's heart is compared to is an allusion to her days working as a trapeeze artist. The relationship between these two characters is therefore incredibly close and intimate.
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