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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 57 / 185

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Timescape: History Plays and Isolation

51

hope. Frank’s move from Winnipeg to the crooked Scot’s employ took him away from

humane society and just treatment. Frank gains a brief respite from some of his isolation

at the Baxter’s farm where he works for the summer, Frye’s last archetypal stop before

the seasonal swing to tragedy begins. So far, Frank’s journey has been marked by

Frank’s progressive disillusionment with the Utopian dreams he had upon setting out.

This completes Frye’s image of the hero withdrawing from the world by homesteading

alone in Saskatchewan in the winter. Then, Frank dies of influenza, thus completing

Frye’s winter/death of the hero archetypal images. But with the spring comes hope.

Until he falls ill, Frank’s dream of Utopia in the Last Best West sustain him through the

winter. The birth of his son Charlie inspires Frank to build a home worthy of his new

family. Frank’s aspirations and inspirations are the stuff of Frye’s comic cycle: birth,

spring, and Utopias. Frank’s life, however, ends tragically. The fate of his widow and

their child remains uncertain as a new winter approaches without the sustaining help of

Frank and his dream.

Another observation of note in The First Step occurs when Frank claims the

Saskatchewan prairie “truly is the land God gave to Cain.” This is not the only example

of a character making observations about the isolation of prairie landscape in religious or

biblical terms. First impressions of the prairie are especially startling when a character

has come from another country. The dire descriptions of the landscape and skyscape of

the prairies by The First Step’s Frank Dobson contrast sharply with the image of a

benevolent and heavenly prairie and prairie sky presented by Edouard Beaupré in The

Giant Who Wept. Beaupré is a child of the prairies and therefore has more idyllic

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