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Commentary on "The Leap" by Louise Erdrich

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Introduction

Demetria Poe IB English 2 Ms. D Leap Commentary The clearest theme in ?The Leap? is presented by the title itself, which of bridging gaps, making connections between things. Physical, temporal, and emotional connections provide a thread that runs through the story. The most obvious are the two physical leaps made by Anna, as a trapeze artist, to save herself and her children from fire. In each leap she bridged a physical gap, but she also made an emotional leap. When lightning struck and her first husband fell, she clearly chose where her loyalties lay. Instead of grasping his ankle and going down clutching him, she chose to save her own life and that of her unborn child. Anna?s final leap also involved an emotional jump, a leap of faith. The narrator says that her mother saw that there was no rescue for her, yet she stripped off her clothes to make the attempt. ...read more.

Middle

In an act of redemption, perhaps for the first child who had died, she provided onlookers with the kind of spectacle that she had once performed for crowds?an impossible feat that she made look easy by hanging by her heels from the rain gutter and smiling after she landed. This time she succeeded where earlier she had failed, and she saved her child. A more pervasive but less obvious theme is that of preparation and anticipation. Throughout the story the narrator is preoccupied with harbingers, ignored warnings, and signs of impending doom, as well as with the choices that people make to prepare for the future. She couples this theme with that of acceptance of fate, recognizing that individual choices are often lesser evils, and bring with them negative consequences that must be endured. ...read more.

Conclusion

On a deeper level, it is a commentary on to what one owes one’s existence and what one makes of it. On yet another level, it speaks of the moments of decision in each person’s life, and the ways in which one uses these moments to change the courses of one’s own and others’ lives. Such multiple-depth interpretation is typical of short stories in general, but the simplicity of Erdrich’s prose makes her story both more accessible and more obscure. The cleanness of language and vivid beauty of her images make the deeper meanings easier to understand once they are perceived, but the romantic voice relating the tale belies the more profound messages. Similarly, the repetitive use of key words such as “preparation” and “anticipation” makes her themes easy to follow, but her matter-of-fact storytelling seems to imply a naïveté that is not the case. The addition of prosaic detail and conjecture on the events being told lends credence to the fantastic. ...read more.

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