Semiotics of the Landscape

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The secrets that are held within our hearts always find a way to express themselves. This is true of every individual. Our secret desires and experiences show themselves little by little through our dreams, our personalities, and even through our hobbies. This is a partial description of Sigmund Freud's theory of the unconscious mind. What secrets are being expressed in Margaret Atwood's short story which is called Death by Landscape? How are these secrets manifesting themselves through the story? The answer to that question is how the presence of landscape is portrayed throughout the short story. This paper will discuss how the inner secrets and thoughts of the main character, who is named Lois, are expressed throughout the short story…show more content…
Even within the memories of Lois, the wilderness, despite being such a crucial setting to such lovely but painful memories, is not really what she focuses upon at all. Lois recalls the nature around her merely as a backdrop to the memories she holds dear for Lucy. Yet even though the wilderness itself didn't seem to effect her that much, even within the story, in response to losing Lucy, Lois distances herself from all things related to the wilderness. All things, that is, with the exception of these paintings that she collects. Within the story, Lois comes to the realization that she collects the paintings because she can see Lucy hiding in them; not her physical self, but rather, she can imagine that Lucy is in them; in some way, she has found her long lost friend and is holding on to her. Is that all there is to it, though? I think it is worth analyzing just what sort of paintings that Lois is collecting. The Canadian wilderness is beautiful in its own right; the paintings that Lois collects, however, are particularly barren. That is the theme the artists of these paintings from the group of seven were trying to capture. The Canadian landscape is cold, often looking dead or uninviting, because it is either overgrown or particularly empty. What Lois is collecting is not just the recollections of her possibly dead, either way estranged friend. Lois, in a way, is harvesting herself. What Freud would believe that Lois is expressing is her
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