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Louise Erdrich – The Leap – Questions

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– The title “The Leap” could mean a leap of faith or can be taken literally as a jump. But in context of the story, “The Leap” means bridging gaps and making connections between things. When Anna lost her husband she was able to meet her new love while recuperating at the hospital. The two biggest leaps that Anna made was when she attempted to save her unborn child along with her own life and when she saved the narrator from the house fire.

– The author uses the tip of the iceberg technique to build suspense. This is done by using simple language that at first may appear straightforward but with a deeper analysis, it can unlock a much more vivid meaning. The author also builds suspense by giving bits and pieces of the events she is describing. Because this is a short story, each word plays an important role and serves a purpose.

– The story is in 1st person point of view. This helps the reader to view the mother under the same light as the narrator. If this story was in first person it will be easier for the reader to find flaws in the characters, but by using 1st person the author can directly guide the reader to understand the story the way she wants. The use of 1st person also makes the reader relate to the feelings of the daughter towards her mother, and also helps to make the story much more authentic and raw.

– The stillborn child represents the sense of responsibility the narrator feels, “I considered her a less finished version of myself.” To her, this child did not have the opportunity to grow and develop and she has consciously taken that as a message to live for both herself and her sister. To the narrator, the child also is what kept their mother alive to in turn have her. During Anna’s pregnancy she lost her husband and soon after her child’s, this heartbreaking time pushes the narrator – even though it happened before she was born – to take care of her mother saying that she “(owed) her my existence three times.”

Character traits


Talented: She toured around Europe with the Flying Avalons.
– Courageous: She jumped into a burning home to save her daughter.
-Graceful: “Catlike precision of her movements.”
– Sentimental: refused to leave the city where the accident occurred and where her daughter was buried.
– Quick thinker: Grabbed the hot rope to save her self during her fall.
– Modest: She kept no pictures or costumes from her glory days.
– Lived in the extreme: Anna loved living in “extreme elements.” She was 7 months pregnant while in the Flying Avalons.


-Grateful: “I owe her my existence three times.”
-Didn’t have a successful life: “I returned, in fact, from my failed life.” Sense of duty/responsible: “I came home to read to my mother…if I must, to read all night.”
– Doesn’t know mom well: “It is from those newspapers…that I get my information.”
– Admirable of mother: Praised her mother throughout the story, said nothing negative.

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