The Theme of Loneliness in "Brother Dear" by Bernice Friesen and "The Lamp at Noon" by Sinclair Ross

Categories: Brother Dear

Isolation in Families When comparing Brother Dear by Bernice Friesen and Lamp at Noon by Sinclair Ross isolation is interpreted as sadness. Firstly characterization because characters change how they feel towards their family leading to isolation. Secondly, literary devices comparing protagonists with something shows how sad they are. Lastly, due to conflicts within the story’s characters chose to become isolated through sadness. Brother Dear and Lamp at Noon demonstrate isolation by separating families because of sorrowful situations. Which results in both families developing regret, increasing their sadness.

Isolation is shown through characterization, metaphors/similes and conflicts.

Characterization is highlighted throughout both books. Greg from Brother Dear and Ellen from Lamp at Noon take unexpected turns toward isolation. In Brother Dear, Greg changes drastically in character from being quiet to loud spoken. The change is highlighted through the arguments he has with his father. Greg goes from being quiet and listening to his father to talking back and fighting with anger.

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The brutal fight against his dad was about Greg dropping out of University. His dad being stubborn, fights back and insults him by calling him a failure. The results in Greg leaving town but feels sorrow, isolating himself from Sharlene.(Friesen, 30-34) Sorrow and isolation is shown by Greg physically when he leaves his family due the verbal fight between Greg’s dad and him. Lamp at Moon highlights sorrow emotionally, unlike Brother Dear. Ellen from Lamp at Noon finds herself being loud and outspoken but becomes desperate. Ellen firstly being outspoken by telling paul “please…say we’ll go away” (Ross.

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Eventually, Ellen becomes desperate to save her baby and proves it through action because “she was gone when [Paul] reached the house…and the crib was empty” (Ross.71). This causes Paul to chase after Ellen to bring her back but soon finding out their baby has passed. These events cause emotional sadness and isolation within the family. Both books display their protagonist being dynamic character by displaying their emotions. Changing from being quite to speaking up or the other way around. This causes sadness through isolation emotionally and physically.

Metaphors and similes are spread throughout both books comparing objects or people to how they feel. Greg shows how he feels through metaphors. When Greg leaves, Sharlene chases him to bring him back home but Greg compares her to their dad. “If all you came for was to make me feel worse you can go home. You’re no different from dad.” (Friesen, 32) Greg already feels sad about the situation between his dad and him. Comparing Sherlene to his dad shows how Sherlene is hurting him like their dad was. Greg also says she should leave because if she’s the same as his dad, he’ll feel worse having her around.

Greg indirectly compares how two different people impact their feelings. Brother Dear uses metaphors to express how the protagonist feels and Lamp at Noon expresses it through similes. Paul expresses how naked he feels. When Ellen and Paul fight about leaving and staying Paul thinks “suddenly like the fields he was naked […] striped away“ (Ross.71). Paul tries to express how he feels, striped of his wife and his baby. He’s alone. Also like the fields, his future rests with the land and with his family. Without them he feels striped away. Both authors compare their protagonists with others or objects to showcase how they feel. The main feeling highlighted throughout would be sadness.

Conflicts within their families causes them to separate. Brother Dear the main conflict is man vs man (Greg vs Dad). The rising action in Brother Dear includes Greg and his dad clearly showing signs of an argument. When reaching the climax Greg has enough and walks out on his family. “Excuse me, Greg says [..] Gets up and walks out the door.” (Friesen.31). Next the falling action Greg leaves his family due to him having enough fights. Clearly pointing the reason Greg isolates himself because of conflicts between his dad and him. Brother Dear has it’s conflict on man vs man but Lamp at Noon focuses on man vs nature. Throughout Lamp at Noon it’s noted that the family is fighting the storm to survive. Ellen becomes tired of waiting for the storm to brush off. She decides to take action and save her baby before it’s too late. Ellen leaves and fights nature to save her baby “it had been her arms, perhaps, too frantic to protect him, or the smother of dust upon his throat and lungs. (Ross.72). Ellen tries to save her baby but it dies due to the conflict of nature and her. Later, paul finds her and discovers their baby has passed this causes emotional isolation within the family. The sorrowness from the lose of their child leads them to emotionally isolate themselves from the baby. The conflicts man vs man and man vs nature are the causes of both families splitting up physically and emotionally. Brother Dear and Lamp at Noon show isolation by splitting the families because of sadness. Thus resulting in both families generating doubt and regret further increasing their sadness. Firstly, isolation is expressed through characterization by protagonists changing how they are with their emotions. Secondly, metaphors/ similes are also ways to show isolation by comparing objects to the characters emotions, Lastly, conflicts causes problems within families leading to them separating physically and emotionally. There for, characters become sorrow and isolated from families.


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The Theme of Loneliness in "Brother Dear" by Bernice Friesen and "The Lamp at Noon" by Sinclair Ross. (2022, Apr 18). Retrieved from

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