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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 39 / 185

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Timescape: History Plays and Isolation

33

acquaintance’s memories of Sukanen. While these narrators all regret Sukanen’s

treatment at the hands of his neighbours, they speak as if they were powerless to help

Sukanen, even had they wanted. They each mention that Sukanen’s plan probably would

have worked, but that the community was more interested in making Sukanen the focus

of scorn. The community in Dustship plays an even more malicious role in bringing

Sukanen down, first by refusing to help him haul his ship to the river, then by dismantling

the hull while he works fifteen miles away. Schroeder claims that, while conducting

interviews for his book, during his research he noticed, “There are still a few men sitting

around looking just a little guilty about that” (Twigg). Schroeder’s narrators admit, to

varying degrees, they feel guilty over the treatment that Tom received. Schroeder’s tale

warns against punishing someone for dreaming bigger, crazier-than-normal dreams.

Schroeder’s Sukanen is consciously designed to be a less mythically-proportioned

hero than Mitchell’s Jaanus. While Schroeder does admit that, as a novelist, he is drawn

to the archetypal, mythic elements in Sukanen’s story, saying “there's a damn good

reason why the myths of Sisyphus or Icarus, in whatever form we come across them, are

as applicable today as they ever were… what I tried to do in Dustship Glory was to serve

the mythic resonance of Sukanen's story, to make sure that those elements which make it

ageless got the necessary backlighting” (Twigg). But Schroeder also observes the

Canadian tendency to play down our own heroes, saying “It's not Greek gods we're

inventing here, after all. We may be celebrating vision, but it's a grounded vision after

all” (Twigg).36

36 Full quotation: “I'm fundamentally content with the Canadian perspective on the world, but there is a distressing Canadian tendency to want to, well, the German word is emuchtem, which means to neutralize, to deflate, to trivialize with sobering detail. The tendency to say, 'Yeah, that sounds pretty wonderful, but really, didn't this guy also beat his wife and cheat on his income tax? So he couldn't really have been all

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