How does Athol Fugard explore the theme of art and freedom through the portrayal of Helen's artistic journey and the community's reaction to it?

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Fugard shows that the real artist who requires freedom to create can quickly become alienated from society. After the death of her husband, Helen responds to the inspiration she feels to make her sculptures rather than the expectations of her community. Instead of attending church and playing the role of the pious widow, Helen chooses to skip church because it never made her feel inspired the way the act of creation does. This choice begins to upset and even offend her community, and they eventually question her sanity and how safe it is for her to live alone. Relegating Helen to an old folks' home would allow them to continue to justify their belief that she rejects social standards, not because there is anything wrong with the standards themselves, but because she is not of sound mind. In other words, they need to believe that Helen is the problem, not them. However, the artist must have freedom, and Helen's freedom seems to scare them. She does not fit in, and she disrupts their ideas about what is natural for a widow—or a woman—to do.

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