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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 76 / 185

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Landscape: Quandt and Isolation

70

language becomes a source of division. Nora’s separation from her husband is

highlighted by his mantra-like repeated phrase, “if she drowns, I won't be able to save

her.” That it is repeated makes it sound like a prayer. But just what outcome he could be

praying for is picked up in the third monologue.

In the final monologue of the play, the listener hears Nora's thoughts as she is

swimming in the sea. The house and shore have been depicted as lonely, hard

landscapes. Nora describes the sea as a much warmer, nurturing ’scape. She compares it

to “amniotic fluid”, and feels she is “part of the sea.” Again, the womb is depicted as

isolation from others, but a safe, warm and nurturing isolation.

Contrasting this nurturing and female depiction of the sea, classic Freudian

imagery is dredged up when Nora names the lighthouse the “eternal male element.” She

puts a darker spin on her husband's thought as she wonders, “can they see me? Are they

desperately afraid I might drown? Do they secretly wish it?” Nora is also aware of how

the others see her, asking, “What of Nora? She is the hard one, the impenetrable one.”

The collection of words surrounding Nora (“hard”, “impenetrable”, “sharp”, “crusted”)

and her phallic description of the lighthouse leads me to believe that Quandt was setting

up Nora as a Freudian phallic character who is, “reckless, resolute, self-assured, and

narcissistic, excessively vain and proud... afraid or incapable of close love” (Stevenson).

The language Quandt uses to describe Nora is too specific to be coincidental, and thus

Freudian imagery emerges like some barnacle-encrusted Kraken to dominate the

characterization of Nora.

Nora's inability to discuss her problems and pain is shared by the other two

characters in the play. Rather than just tell her husband what hurts, she “codifies her pain

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