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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 77 / 185

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Landscape: Quandt and Isolation

71

and leaves it for her husband to read and puzzle over.” Thus Nora becomes Atwood’s

Canadian Rapunzel, trapped by her own inscrutability. Nora’s “hard” exterior becomes

the walls of her own tower. When the play ends, the listener is left with the feeling that

these three souls will be forever alone, even though they live together. Anger, pain, and

suffering will not allow them to disperse the fog of misunderstanding that engulfs them.

These three plays are studies of characters’ physical and psychological

landscapes. Death by Nature is possible, but avoidable if one has a community able, and

willing, to act in averting tragedy. In Arctic Landscapes the two characters are in peril.

The man faces a physical threat to his life: Death by Nature (freezing). But he is saved

by his community. His danger was known and physically solvable. The woman is

threatened by a psychological danger to her life that she seems incapable of signaling to

others. This danger is physically unapparent, unknown by and hidden from her

community. She is under threat with no sign that anyone is coming to psychologically

save her.

In The Silence, there was, until recently, a community of two. Frau Klause

becomes her own community after the death of her husband, Franz. He was a threat to

his community (Frau Klause), and therefore he was not saved from the physical threat of

freezing, Death by Nature. By not acting to relieve the physical threat to his life, she

frees herself from the psychological and physical threat that Franz presents to her.

Frau Klause’s impressions of her physical landscape are more consistent with the

bleak and inhospitable views expressed by The First Step’s Frank Dobson, another

settler, than they are of the healing and caring prairie as remembered by Edouard Beaupré

in The Giant Who Wept. Frau Klause becomes another woman alone on the farm in

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