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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 72 / 185

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Landscape: Quandt and Isolation

66

used to fear silence because of how her husband would end it: “You spend all your time

waiting for it to break.” Now the silence of her isolation is something she can escape

into. For Frau Klause, silence becomes a freedom of sorts. Images of isolation haunt the

mind long after the play is finished: the abused farm wife, trapped in her isolated

farmhouse by her deranged Nazi husband; Franz screaming for help as he freezes to death

within sight of his house; and finally a woman freed of the hell of her abusive husband

living in self-imposed exile in the house where she lived that hell.

Frau Klause’s situation is somewhat different from that of the woman in Arctic

Landscapes. Where the woman uses her emotional burdens to threaten herself, Frau

Klause focuses all of her hatred directly upon Franz. Both women reveal their deepest

secrets and fears in monologue form. Only the listener learns of their pain. To other

characters, the listener assumes, both women appear to stoically press on with their lives.

The woman presses on in sorrow and grief; Frau Klause presses on by concealing her

past pain and the (in)action she took to end it. Both women have no children. The

woman tragically lost hers; Frau Klause and Franz never had any. This silent, childless,

tortured pair of women appear to fit Atwood’s image of one type of woman in Canadian

fiction.

The freezing death of Franz and the rescue from a freezing death of the man in

Arctic Landscapes highlight the importance of community to survival. The man is saved

from physical danger by a community that cared enough to risk coming out into the

freezing cold wilderness to rescue him. Franz’s only community on the farm was his

wife. By torturing her, he removed himself from her sympathy. Franz, according to his

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