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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 68 / 185

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Landscape: Quandt and Isolation

62

under his snowmobile, who is trying desperately to stay awake, this mournful woman

longs for sleep. The listener is left wondering whether or not the woman is actually

contemplating suicide.

The sense of isolation is heightened by the fact that it is never made clear what

connection, if any, the two characters share. As the woman is left wallowing in grief, the

man is rescued and brought back in from the cold. Their only connection seems to be

their brushes with death and the associated loneliness. Where these musings on death

contrast each other is of interest. The man is under physical threat of death; he is

physically stranded away from his community and thus may freeze to death. His survival

depends upon being found and moved to a warmer, safer place. The woman, however, is

facing a psychological threat of death. The weight of the death of her child pushes her

farther into a pool of her own grief, where she may also “drown” in a way. She could be

rescued, also, but her rescue depends upon someone in her circle of friends or family, i.e.

her community, discovering her emotional pain and taking action to relieve it, which

could prove harder to accomplish. The man’s community needs only to realize that he is

missing, follow his snowmobile tracks, and get him to shelter before he freezes. There is

an obvious, physical trail for them to follow. The woman, however, leaves no obvious

physical trail for potential rescuers to follow. Like Frye’s ironic heroine, she withdraws

from the world when only the world can save her. She exists day-to-day in society, but

the threat to her continues unless her pain is uncovered by someone who cares enough to

help her through it. She needs community to be emotionally supported, while the man

needs community to be physically supported.

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