Bodyscape: Isolation, Health, and the Woman’s Voice
of returning home. She has heard tales of patients being released from the sanatorium
and returning home only to be “treated like a walking plague.”
News of Eddy's imminent release only heightens Lorraine's sense of isolation.
When talking to herself, she hints that she could be pregnant. Lorraine feels a baby is
safe from TB as long as it is inside her, isolated within her womb. Thus, the womb is
presented as isolation and safety for the baby. But for Lorraine, the safety her baby
enjoys while inside her womb highlights her own isolation. While a baby could be
symbolic of regeneration and hope for the future, Lorraine will not witness that future.
She resolves never to hold the baby when it is born. Lorraine would rather it be put
directly into the preventorium.
Lorraine's perception of her own battle with tuberculosis and the road to
recovery is the source of the title of the play. When told she'll soon be “on the mend”
she explores the term mending, saying it “sounds like a pair of old socks, or old crocks,
ha, that's what we are, old crocks someone's left on the shelf.” Thus the image moves
from mere isolation to abandonment. Eddy has left her. The only way he’ll return is if
his TB relapses. She is pregnant, but wants nothing to do with the baby, lest she infect
it. “Chasing cure” is not curing her, so she faces painful surgery. Even if she recovers
from surgery and heals enough to be released, she has no guarantee that she will be
accepted back into her family home. Lorraine is sick, alone and left with little hope.
Lorraine does offer an opinion that TB could be better fought/prevented if socio-
economic factors were addressed as well as medical factors. Again this brings the
discussion back to Gilligan’s relational approach to care and how it differs from the
patriarchal, divisive approach. Eddy comments that, when it comes to TB, “Anyone