"The Leap" is an appropriate title for Erdrich's short story. A few leaps take place during the narrator's account of her life and that of her mother's. The first physical leap takes place at the beginning of the story. Anna, of the Flying Avalons, literally leaps to a hot wire during the trapeze act in an attempt to save her life and that of her unborn child. Her husband is killed in the accident, and she also loses the child. This leap is both physical and emotional. Anna loses her family and must find a way to recover. However, Anna leaps again on an emotional level during her hospital stay. She learns how to read and write, and she becomes a book lover. Anna has leapt from illiteracy to literacy. As well, she leaps into love with her second husband who will become the narrator's father. Anna's last physical leap is to save the narrator's life, her daughter. She leaps into the burning house to rescue the narrator. This leap is emotional as well, because Anna has relied upon her will to survive and her love for her daughter to complete this rescue.
The narrator also takes an emotional leap in returning to the house of her mother when she is blind. Ironically, Anna begins the story blindfolded in her trapeze act, and she ends the story blinded by cataracts. The narrator returns to take care of her mother and read to her. Both characters take leaps of faith in their relationship.