*The Leap* by Louise Erdrich

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“The Leap” by Louise Erdrich
Character Sketch of “Anna Avalon” &
Significance of Title
Echoes 11 pg 190
Anna Avalon
• She is...
• very humble, modest, and full of quiet
determination. She has had to fend for
herself all her life and has managed to
“land on her feet” every time (literally
and figuratively).
Anna Avalon
• She is...
• Very brave/courageous. The narrator
provides details of the dangerous nature
of her mother’s work as a trapeze artist
and of the dangers involved in the heroic
act of saving her daughter from the fire.
Anna Avalon
• She has...
• the incredible ability to remain calm and
clear-headed during moments of crisis.
(ie. re-routing her body in mid-air during
the trapeze accident; devising a plan to
rescue her daughter when everyone else
had given up.)
Anna Avalon
• She has...
• physical grace. (ie. despite being blind,
she moves with “catlike precision...has
never upset an object or so much as
brushed a magazine onto the floor.”)
“The Leap”
Literal & Figurative Meaning of the
Story’s Title
Literal
• Refers to the “leap” that Anna made
to save her daughter from the house
fire. It also recalls the “leap” she
executed with her partner as a
trapeze artist.
Possible Figurative Meanings...
• The mother’s ability to leap is a sign of
her courage in dealing with crisis.
• The mother “leaps” in a figurative way
into the world of literacy and books as
an adult. They become a huge part of
her life (narrator has moved home to
look after her and “read” to her.)
Figurative Meaning con’t:
• The narrator has made a “leap” from
her possible failed life in the West to
a new beginning, returning to her
hometown and to a new relationship
with her mother.
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