Why is “The Leap” a good title for this story? Name all the leaps, both literal and figurative, that occur in the story.

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title is appropriate because the "leaps" that Anna, the narrator's mother, makes in the story symbolize the choices she makes during her life, choices we all have to make. These decisions affect Anna's life and the lives of her children, even though Anna is unable to save her first child. Because Anna survives, however, she meets her second husband, and he teaches her to read while she's in the hospital, a ritual the narrator continues when she moves back east with her mother.

The two physical leaps are also emotional leaps. The first comes when Anna, seven months pregnant, is performing with her husband, and lightning strikes the tent. Anna chooses to try and save her child rather than die holding on to her husband's ankle, symbolizing her emotional leap. The child is stillborn, and the narrator feels a connection to her throughout the story, considering her a "less finished version" of herself.  The second physical leap occurs when the narrator is trapped by fire in her bedroom upstairs. Anna uses her skills as a trapeze artist to rescue her daughter, symbolizing a leap of faith that she can save this child, and she does.

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Leap," a number of literal leaps take place. First, Anna makes a leap by saving herself when lightning strikes the tent she is performing in. Second, Anna makes a leap when she is recovering in the hospital and falls in love with her doctor. This leap leads to the birth of the narrator because the two get married and have a baby. Finally, Anna makes a literal leap when she rescues the narrator from her bedroom during a house fire.

The title of this story is, therefore, an appropriate one because it directly refers to these physical leaps. Looking deeper, there is also clear evidence of a figurative leap. That is, the leap of faith Anna takes when she rescues her daughter. Anna knows that going into a burning building is a risky venture with no guarantee of success, but her love for her daughter is so strong that she will do anything to save her life.

Figuratively, then, the title also alludes to this leap, a leap that is symbolic of a mother's love.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would also want to focus on how the final leap that ends the story symbolises the love and close relationship that the narrator and her mother share. The way that they are described as being so close together as they fall, and the caresses of love that the mother gives to her daughter, make this an incredibly intimate moment.

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The Leap

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