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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 75 / 185

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Landscape: Quandt and Isolation

69

there, but I can't stay by myself. I am afraid I will be swallowed up by the silence.” The

old woman echoes Frau Klause’s musings on space in The Silence. Frau Klause says, “I

thought I would be swallowed up by the space.” While Frau Klause desires silence and

solitude, the old woman in The Sea longs for meaningful communication, as do the two

other characters. This desire to communicate is usually centred in an inability to

converse with Nora. To the old woman, it could be a division fostered partly by a gap in

education. The old woman complains of Nora using “words I cannot understand.”

The second monologue takes the listener out of the house and onto the beach.

Here the son is watching his wife, Nora, swimming. She seems very small to him, “Like

a little flag out there on the sea.” He puzzles over how Nora can seem so distant; even

when she “surrounds me with her hard, sweet skin it always seems I'm looking at her

from a distance.” The word “hard” is used repeatedly when describing Nora, showing

just how unapproachable she appears to her husband and mother-in-law. That Nora is

described as having “hard sweet skin” also juxtaposes the young man's view of his

mother, whom he sees as sitting in the house “hating us all ... her face, all dried up like

crumpled paper.” The separation in the play is not only along blood lines, i.e. the woman

who married into the family not being accepted easily, but it is also a separation between

youth and age.

The rift between Nora and her husband is undeniable and an inability to

communicate is a major cause of it. Nora's husband claims she “uses her sentences, hard,

sharp, and crusted like weapons.” Now even Nora's words are “hard.” Nora leaves

behind her notebook, which her husband reads in hopes of finding some clue to reaching

her, but he “can't understand what she writes, the clues are ciphers, hieroglyphics.” Thus

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