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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 74 / 185

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Landscape: Quandt and Isolation

68

fears and hatreds; they walk around with mouths like clenched fists… In fact, in Canada Rapunzel and the tower are the same. These heroines have internalized the values of their culture to such an extent that they have become their own prisons (Atwood 209).

Nora shares some of these Canadian Rapunzel qualities. The mother, tough, silent, and

miserable, is reminiscent of Atwood’s earlier description of Canlit women. Between

these two strong women is a rather insignificant man, Nora’s husband and the old

woman’s son.

The first monologue is delivered by the mother from the sea-side house. She

hates this vacation. If Nora is a Rapunzel figure, then the old woman is also entrapped in

this vacation. It is an annual torture, as the old woman says, “every year this holiday by

the sea. Seagulls screaming into your brain, crust of salt in your hair, the blank face of

the sea, steel-grey. The waves booming and crashing relentlessly until you think your

head will split open. And no matter how cold it is she goes swimming. Her red bathing

suit like a blood-stain.” It becomes clear that the mother is angrier at her daughter-in-law

than with the vacation. She repeats “her red bathing suit clinging to her so you can see

everything.” The mother is jealous of this young woman and is afraid of Nora's youth

and strength, fearing, “She will destroy us with her hard body.” There also is a sense of

resentment over losing her son to Nora. The old woman asks, “When would I learn that

my children existed apart from me, that when they were taken from my womb they were

no longer me?” Here, the sense of security and safety of the womb takes on a different

tone. The womb becomes a way in which the mother has ultimate control over her child's

life, which evokes Atwood’s Rapunzel comparison. The old woman would control Nora,

if she could, in order to better control her son. The old woman also feels isolated even

though she lives with the pair, if not of her own choosing. She confesses, “I hate living

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