Bodyscape: Isolation, Health, and the Woman’s Voice
complaints with “the old goat won't go to the doctor.” She also accuses him of “just
trying to get out of planting the rest of the potatoes.” Ada is the only one who seems
concerned. Arnie's “closer” relations, his wife and brother, seem not at all worried.
Arnie’s isolation takes several forms. Within the house, Arnie is in the bedroom
while everyone else is at the kitchen table enjoying a feast that was to honour his
birthday. Arnie is a man slipping away in the midst of a surplus of nourishment,
namely his family and food. Geographically, Arnie is in the country and presumably
quite some distance from a hospital. If Arnie had lived in an urban setting, closer to a
hospital, would his family have been more likely to take him to some form of medical
care instead of dismissing his complaints? Such inaction could be evidence of a
prevailing rural mindset upon which these playwrights are picking up; i.e. when you
live a goodly drive from the nearest doctor, you want to be sure you are sick enough to
warrant the trip. The situation is similar to Grandma Luba's initial delay before going to
a doctor in “Grandma's Foot” and children's concerns over their aging mother’s distance
from the hospital in Reunion.
Arnie is also isolated emotionally. The whole time he calls for Louise, she stays
in the kitchen – the heart, hearth, source of nourishment, communal centre of the house.
He is removed from the dinner conversation, which is largely about him. Ada spends
her meal trying to remind Bill and Lorraine of Arnie's past good deeds. While Arnie is
lying alone, he calls for a priest. Lorraine dismisses the request by reminding Arnie that
he is not Catholic. Arnie's call for a television to try to find an evangelist to watch is
also quashed. Finally, it is his bedside clock radio that provides him what spiritual aid
he can find. He sings along to a gospel show. The radio becomes his only company,