Without a doubt, the most important character in this impressive short story is not the narrator, but the narrator's mother. Let us remember that it is the story of Anna that is told, not the narrator's own story. The narrator, in fact, remains a somewhat shadowy presence. We are told little about her, and what we are told is really only in relation to the story of Anna, the narrator's mother. In a sense, this story is a pageant to the narrator's mother and the way that she has saved her daughter's life three times. Let us remember that it is the mother's skill and agility as a trapeze artist that enables her to save her daughter, and this "catlike precision" is something that is alluded to at the very beginning of the story:
She walks slowly through her house here in New Hampshire, lightly touching her way along walls and running her hands over knickknacks, books, the drift of a grown child's belongings and castoffs. She has never upset an object or as much as brushed a magazine onto the floor. She has never lost her balance or bumped into a closet door left carelessly open.
This story then is the story of Anna, and her history, and in particular her relationship with her daughter and how she saved her so many times.