Introduction: Isolation, Radio Drama, and Saskatchewan
landscapes, witches/old women/crones in the tragic cycle will continue to be applied.
The presence of Frye’s “unformed world” such as the sea instead of the more comic
green worlds of “faerie and fantasy,” will also be considered. Again, tragedy draws on
isolation, not community. In Quandt’s plays, the saving power of community is
highlighted. In terms of Frye’s archetypes, this saving the hero from the edge of death
swings the cycle towards comedy.
Quandt’s plays will also provide a chance to meet both Atwood’s Nature-the-
Monster and Nature-as-Woman. Atwood develops the argument that many Canadian
writers are influenced by their natural surroundings. To the Canadian writer, landscapes
are as much about state-of-mind as they are about physical surroundings (Survival 49).
Atwood’s Nature the Monster is vast, powerful, indifferent to humans and very real –
especially when at its coldest and harshest:
Images from Nature are almost everywhere. Added up, they depict a Nature that is often dead and unanswering or actively hostile to man; or, seen in its gentler spring and summer aspects, unreal. There is a sense in Canadian literature that the true and only season here is winter: The others are either preludes to it or mirages concealing it (Atwood 49).
Atwood also writes that in Canadian Literature, some writers are not only obsessed with
winter but also harbour a deep distrust of nature (Atwood 51). This echoes Frye’s
thoughts on the tragic modes of the untamed, the heath, and the desert of the animal
world, the vegetable world, and the mineral world respectively. Nature in Canada,
Atwood contends, is especially jarring in the post-Enlightenment age when God is dead
and Nature is no longer the friendly Wordsworthian force she once was. Characters
encountering such a force often find it dangerous, for “Nature [is] seen as dead, or alive
but indifferent, or alive and actively hostile towards man… The result of a dead or