“Death by Landscape” explores the nuanced qualities of Canadian culture by utilizing Canadian landscape, Native culture, and character attributes as symbols of the Canadian identity. The story delves into the ongoing struggle between Native Canadians and European Canadians to define what it truly means to be Canadian. Addressing the historically inaccurate portrayal of Native practices and the unflattering depiction of Native people, this story acknowledges the real issue of misrepresentation. Additionally, the story emphasizes the contrast between Americans and Canadians through the characters Lucy and Lois, who symbolize these two distinct nationalities.
So they have created extreme versions of Native people, both negative and positive. The negative portrayals are meant for them to feel superior by comparison, while the positive portrayals give them something to conform to. This ceremony is seen as truly Canadian, filling a void that their ancestors may have lacked. The exaggerated use of Native practices adds depth to the story, evoking a sense of disgust in Lois and the reader. However, it also highlights an unspoken conflict within Canadian identity between Native and European cultures. These practices demonstrate the European Canadians’ need to both mock and emulate Native practices. This story heavily focuses on the Canadian landscape and its impact on its residents. It accurately shows how nature influences the Canadian identity. The tragedy that occurs integrates the Canadian wilderness into Lois’ being. Although she realizes this late, the wild landscape becomes a part of her personal identity. As she grows older, Lois becomes more aware of her obsession with the Canadian wilderness. The quoted passage highlights her realization at the beginning of the story about her connection with the Canadian wilderness. In this passage, Lois reflects on how her husband’s death and her children aging have affected her. She finds herself less preoccupied with everyday tasks, allowing more time for introspection.