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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 10 / 185

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Introduction: Isolation, Radio Drama, and Saskatchewan

4

italics added). This isolated hero and the harsh climate of Frye’s tragic vision are readily

found in many of the radio plays dealing with Saskatchewan history.

While images of the hero-in-isolation, winter, death, and wilderness are all

important to Frye’s realm of tragedy, images of community, summer, rebirth, and the

pastoral garden are equally important to his vision of comedy. Timescape will also

explore how some Saskatchewan radio plays evoke the comic elements of Frye’s cycle,

despite the resolutely tragic characters and situations within the plays. Aspiring to the

higher, comic side of Frye’s cycle is what keeps some characters struggling on through

adversity.

Another useful work to this study is Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian

Literature by Margaret Atwood. Survival was written in 1972 and is being re-issued this

year, with a new introduction by Atwood.4 The bulk of the dramas in this thesis will be

drawn from 1980-1988, a period during which Atwood’s model was still influential in

Canadian letters. Atwood’s observations on the difference between explorers and settlers

in Canadian literature and their relationship to the land are particularly relevant when

analyzing radio plays with historic themes:

Usually explorers enter chaos and emerge from it; they do not try to impose order on it. That’s an activity more characteristic of settlers. They do not move through the land, they go to one hitherto uncleared part of it and attempt to change Nature’s order (which may look to them like chaos) into the shape of human civilization.5 (Survival 120)

4 by McClelland & Stewart. Review: “what this new edition of Survival does highlight, instead, is the lack of other books on the same subject since Atwood’s” and “Where is the work being done now along similar lines?” McClennan, Robert. “The Original Survivor.” The Peer Review vol. 2 – no. 1, Fall 2004. 27

5 “the shape of human civilization: houses, fenced plots of ground with edible plants inside and weeds outside, roads; and, later and for purposes other than survival, churches, jails, schools, hospitals, and graveyards” (120).

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