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Healing and Surrender: Two Different Ways of Coping with Emotional Impasse and Self-Induced Isolation

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Healing and Surrender: Two different ways of coping with emotional impasse and self-induced isolation

Compare and contrast essay
Student Number: T00557209

Assignment 3
ENGL 1001
Nir Light
July 20th, 2015

“Death by Landscape” by Margaret Atwood and “To Room Nineteen” by Elizabeth Lesser are both stories of self-induced isolation, in which the protagonists are unable to expose their predicaments to the people around them. Lois, the protagonist in “Death by Landscape,” isolates herself due to the traumatic disappearance of her childhood friend, Lucy. Suzan, the protagonist in “To Room Nineteen,” is trapped in an emotional impasse caused by conforming to her roles as wife and mother, and being reasonable and intelligent, unable to express her true feelings. While Lois surrounds herself with landscape pictures, and finds a resolution in them, Suzan’s isolation progresses, until she surrenders to her predicament and ends her life. Despite the different ways they resolve their predicaments, both protagonists find relief in their choices.
In “Death by Landscape”, Lois is traumatized by Lucy’s disappearance and by being condemned wrongly for causing her death. Enveloped by her trauma, she lives her life in emotional detachment from her husband and children. She can hardly remember getting married or nursing her boys (35). Wilderness provokes her trauma, and she avoids it. She does not expose her predicament to people in her social circle, and they think she purchases her pictures for investment purposes.
Similarly to Lois, Suzan’s isolation is self-induced, driven by her inability to expose her true feelings, particularly to her husband. Intelligence and reason strongly dominate her life, and propel her progressive emotional impasse and mental breakdown. Despite feeling annoyed by her husband’s infidelity, she accepts it because this is the intelligent…...

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