Both short stories depict this power play.
Power can come in different and ordinary ways. In "Open Secrets," although the story may be a little confusing because of the seemingly double or parallel plots which are the life of Maureen and the loss of Heather, power is shown to be possessed of her husband, Atty. Stephens. In this way, it is presented in the ordinary domestic cum professional relationship. In "Death by Landscape," power is owned by Lucy and later by Cappie, which eventually evolved into the effect of the sad memory and the landscape that Lois experiences for the rest of her life. Lois is related to Lucy as a peer or even as a close friend, while Cappie gains her power as the superior cum manager of the camps.
The loss of Heather and the possible suspect for her disappearance or death has become the leading factor that prove Atty. Stephens authority. He is not only superior because of his profession as a refuted attorney whose ideas and advice almost often become the final word for the townsfolk. He is a man, a husband, and the boss of Maureen. Maureen suffers in silence and never fight or argue back because she knows her position as a subordinate so she allows him to have control over her not only physically but also emotionally. What worsens her situation is that she is the second wife and is unable to bear her own children. Her physical weakness, that of her miscarriage, even alienates her from any sensual or sexual contact with the man she loves. Ironically, Atty. Stephens is shown as an invalid but this does not keep him from exercising his power over others.
On the other hand, Lois willingly submits to Lucy's power because the latter is better than her in many respects. Lucy is good-looking, well-to-do, the envy of many girls her age. Her physical beauty and economic status simply put her in a position higher than her peers. Lois must have envied her silently, such that Cappie's suggestion that she is responsible for Lucy's disappearance literally destroys her. Even if she does not really do anything to harm Lucy, she feels guilty about negative feelings toward Lucy at their first encounter that eventually affects her self-image and self-esteem until she retires to be an old solitary woman, a widow. Cappie's power though comes as a result of her position as the camp manager. Later, in order to save herself and give justifications for the closure of the camp, she has to point an accusing finger at someone and Lois has become the willing victim.
Moreover, power can be enjoyed by a few without them actually striving for it. As a natural law, it seems that only a few people can have power. They are the chosen few who can have power over others without even striving to have it like the attorney in "Open Secrets" and Lucy in "Death by Landscape. In addition, power is a silent intruder. Nobody welcomes it but it just happens in any relationship and in any event all over the world.
Power intrudes silently and inconspicuously in the lives of the main characters. When Maureen married Atty. Stephens or even before their marriage when she was employed as his secretary, she has already been under the power of the attorney. Her self-image is also affected by the way he treats her as an