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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 45 / 185

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Timescape: History Plays and Isolation

39

As Beaupre, the hero, lies dying alone and cheated by his manager, he fulfils

Frye’s archetype of tragedy: “the deserted and betrayed hero” (Bate 608). The vegetable

world that Beaupre longs for is similar to Frye’s vision of comedy, the “garden grove, or

park, or a tree of life” (Bate 608). Denied access to his life-giving prairie, Beaupre dies.

Beaupré, however, dreams of a gentler, greener, lighter place for himself as he

dies. He welcomes the trip home to rest, even if it must happen after he dies. Frye’s

cycle allows for the preparation for the resurrection or return of the hero, on the “comic”

side. As did Jaanus in Mitchell’s Dustship, Beaupré tragically dies, but he does so

aspiring to a higher, more comic place on Frye’s cycle.

Beaupré can also be cast as another of Atwood’s quintessential Canadian tragic

heroes. He left to join the circus in order to raise money to send home to his

impoverished family. While Beaupré was alive, his unscrupulous agent stole most of

Beaupré’s earnings. As the giant lies dying, he asks that his body be put on display, in

hopes that the money people would pay to see him be sent home to his family. Again, no

money reaches his family. Not only did his life away from his home contribute to his

death, but his death did not help his family as he hoped it would. That dream remained

unfulfilled. Beaupré also hoped to return home to Willow Bunch for burial. Then,

Beaupré’s second hope remained possible, but unfulfilled. In 1980, Beaupré’s family

was in their seventy-sixth year of an eighty-six year fight to bring Beaupré home. The

play was part of a series of creative social action projects by Ursell and Sapergia aimed at

raising awareness of the family’s fight. A listener hearing the play after 1990 would have

the benefit of knowing that Beaupré’s remains now rest in Willow Bunch, fulfilling one

of his dying hopes. The listener of 1980, however, would be left with none of Beaupré’s

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