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THEMES OF ISOLATION IN SASKATCHEWAN RADIO DRAMA - page 78 / 185

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Landscape: Quandt and Isolation

72

winter. She joins other lonely winter-bound women like The First Step’s Lily and Jessie

of North of Moose Jaw to develop a powerful collage of isolation. Their isolation is both

physical (they are alone on the farm) and emotional (their husbands are gone or dead).

Also dead is any dream of building a happy and successful life in their new country.

The Sea focuses on psychological threats or pain. The play is set near water, an

element Atwood compares to the unconscious, and Frye to the unformed world. The

three characters in The Sea are all troubled souls who keep silent and therefore cannot

help each other. They are a community of three that refuse to see each other’s pain.

While not all contemporary Saskatchewan radio dramas deal in such dark, cold fare,

Quandt’s radio plays feature recurring themes of isolation, both physical and emotional,

that run through other works focusing on present day as well as historical Saskatchewan.

The lesson of the plays explored in the last two chapters is that community and

communication are vital to health and survival. Sukanen’s spirit broke when his

community turned on him in both Dustship Glory and The Shipbuilder. Beaupre, in The

Giant Who Wept, felt that his home and home landscape could heal him, even if they

were never given the chance. In the beginning of And Did the Dog See This?, Piapot

journeyed from being without community, his band having died when he was a baby to

leading his own, strong community; then struggling to keep it strong in the face of the

advancing settler horde. His determination to preserve such traditions as the Sun Dance

speaks to his hope for the future of his people, though his imprisonment by an

unsympathetic European Canadian bureaucracy suggests that it is, at best, hope deferred.

His grandson, though not physically confined in the same way, continues to struggle with

his cultural isolation in the Presbyterian Industrial School that the bureaucrats view as his

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