The Leap Essay

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Francisco Mata Mrs. Harschlip Eng 102 “The Leap” In James Dickey’s poem “The Leap,” he tells about his memory of a “thin/and muscular, wide-mouthed, eager to prove” (21-22) girl, Jane MacNaughton. He talks about how she goes from being, “the fastest runner in the seventh grade”, (3) to a “Mother of four.” (28) Jane who spurned the earth, as a seventh grade runner, left behind the “slow-footed yokels” (44) in her cloud of dust. The playground champion is finally overcome by reality. She returns to dust as a victim of the “eternal process”. During a school dance, Jane “with a light/Grave Leap”, touches the end of a paper ring. Dickey sees this as a farewell to childhood and a new beginning into adulthood. She is well…show more content…
He does not go into detail to describe the second leap. This may be because he knows more about her in her childhood, or it may be because he does not want to know about her death at length. When she commits suicide, he knows she is not the same person that he once knew; she is now a, “mother of four.” (28) She has changed, but it has not been for the better because she may have had a hard life. One day she was unable to handle the pressures of her life any longer and committed suicide. He says, as he holds the newspaper containing the article of her suicide, “that I held / without trembling a picture of her lying cradled / in the papery steel as though lying in the grass.” (30-32) It is not that he does not care about her death; he just cannot face her death and this is why he does not tremble. She is hardly the same person to him, and so he is able to save the image of her first leap. He will always use this one image as her identity, full and alive, to him. These two leaps are different, but are used to represent the same idea. Jane leapt in order to express her sense of freedom in the first leap. She leapt with strength; she showed to everyone around her that she was very alive, free and capable. Yet, the second leap was a cry for help, a searching for freedom. By taking this second leap she was able to become free by death. Her life was hard by, “some boy who
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