What is the theme of isolation/alienation in Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters?

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The theme of isolation and alienation in Tomson Highway's The Rez Sisters stems from the characters impoverished existence and dreams of a better life. Examples include Pelajia Moosetail's belief that there is no one in the community to whom she can relate, and Veronique's fear that her sister-in-law's children will be left alone after Marie-Adele's death.

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It is easy to tell right from the outset that Pelajia Moosetail feels isolated. Her desire to go to Toronto is based on her belief that everyone (except herself and her sister Philomena) who live is Wasy is crazy. It is therefore apparent that there is no one to whom she feels she can relate in this world of dust, poverty, and unemployment. The sisters also discuss the fact that their beloved bingo games are getting smaller and smaller, which tells us that people are either leaving or getting bored of the sisters’ beloved hobby, which adds to the sense of alienation and isolation that they both feel.

It is the fear of a different kind of isolation that Veronique St. Pierre fears. Her sister-in-law, Marie-Adele Starblanket, who lives down the hill from the Moosetail sisters, is plagued with fear. With fourteen children, there is precious little time to be lonely, but Marie-Adele has cancer, and Veronique is afraid that if Marie-Adele dies, her children will be isolated with no one to take care of them.

As for Marie-Adele herself, she doesn’t seem to mind isolation. In fact, she states that if she were to win “The Biggest Bingo in the World”, she would use the money to buy an island to live on with her family.

The roadtrip to Toronto provides a welcome respite from feelings of isolation and alienation, as it gives all the characters a chance to share their problems and worries.

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