Montana 1948

Growing up in Montana 1948 by Larry Watson

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Montana’s land runs from the Rocky Mountains and the Continental Divide in the western part of the state to rolling plains in the eastern part of the state. Two-thirds of Montana is in the Great Plains. Montana’s beautiful landscape includes forests, prairies, highlands, and valleys. About four percent of the present population of Montana is American Indian. The major groups include the Assiniboine, Blackfeet, Chippewa-Cree, Crow, Flathead, Gros Ventres, Kalispel, Kootenai, Little Shell Band of Chippewa, Northern Cheyenne,Piegan, Salish, and Spokane. David Hayden is a normal white kid who lives with all these different nationalities of indian all around him. Some of them can be really nice like Marie Little Soldier who is his caretaker but there’s some indians who some people in David’s family hate greatly. In Montana 1948, Larry Watson depicts the process of growing up. The protagonist, twelve year old David Hayden, often describes the in the summer of 1948 as events that wrenched him out of the innocence and obliviousness to the complex world of childhood and adulthood.

David is a twelve year old kid who is just beginning his adolescence. Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and psychological development that generally occurs during the period from puberty to adulthood. Adolescence is usually associated with the teenage years, but its physical, psychological or cultural expressions may begin earlier and end later. Davids adolescence was first seen when he started getting feelings for his caretaker Marie Little Soldier. Marie Little Soldier is an Indian girl who is liked by everyone and loved by David. She has just started taking care of the Hayden family and when she was about a couple weeks on the job when she got a very bad case of the flu. Marie was on bed rest at the Haydens house and David could not stop worrying about her and he was always helping her.

There are three stages of adolescence and in the first stage of adolescence David gets feelings for Marie Little Soldier. For each phase of Adolescence there are four developments. The four developments of the going through adolescence are physical, emotional, social and mental development. For David’s second stage of Adolescence he starts eavesdropping and this is normal for David at this age because he wants to know as much as he can. Unfortunately when David is eavesdropping he’s hearing the worst of his Uncle Frank. David’s view on life dramatically starts to change as he eavesdrops confidential and shocking conversations held between his parents, about Franks behavior towards Marie Little Soldier. At this time David learns that the Indians have no power or influence in society. Due to the stability of David’s family, combined with the respect Uncle Frank had with the community of Bentrock, the events which occurred became a destructive and shocking surprise for David. This event portrays a young boy forced to move into the adult world by overhearing what is turning his world upside down.

The third and final stage of adolescence was to be the best adult he could be by doing the best he could do to support the family name. David’s first lesson he learnt was the importance of the family name and how it impacts him, even when he doesn’t want to use it. As a result of his Father and Grandfather operating as town sheriff, the family name is connected with power and authority. The Hayden’s would have been considered somewhat wealthy during the summer of 1948, this is when David realized that the combination of power and wealth gives him a level of respect from the people of the town; even though he has done nothing personally to earn it.

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Realisation of the Existence of Evil in Montana 1948

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

David Hayden lived with his parents in Mercer County, Montana. A rather peaceful and quiet community, that has to deal with the harshness of the marginal land and frigid winter climate. To David, a social recluse, the rawness of the environs was a blessing as he never liked the town confinements. This traumatic story begins to erase his childhood innocence. It was in this idyllic (for David) setting, that he experienced a rather abrupt realisation of the existence of evil. Not just evil in general, but evil in the most omnipotent and confusing way. This realisation, lead David into an awareness that evil can connect with some strange ways and that there is potential evil in the best of us. This realization of the existence of evil was the pivotal point in the plot that has thrust the twelve year old David Haden into the complex and perplexing world of adults.

Late summer 148 was a happy and carefree time for young David. He enjoyed his boyhood pursuits. David loved to be with his horse, Nutty, on his grandfather’s ranch where he could explore, hunt, he‘ killed more beer cans, soda bottles, road signs, and telephone pole insulators’ than animals, and collect things important to a boy. David’s mother Gail on the other hand was constantly worried about how her son is growing up. She felt it was her duty to civilise him. She thought that Montana is just too rough a place to bring up a child and longed for her tamer native North Dakota. This almost eutopic state of affairs was not going to last much longer and the change’s would come from the most surprising direction.

Up to this point David has been the naïve twelve year old most children of his age are. Being completely oblivious to the sinister world of evil assured him of happy childhood, until now. The Haden’s had a house keeper, Marie Little Soldier, an Indian woman of fleshy amplitude that made her look soft and strong at the same time. But now she was ill. It wasn’t known at the time how significant her illness would be to the future of David and the whole Hayden family. Gail insisted that a doctor attends to Marie, but Marie was reluctant. Marie’s illness and her demand for no doctor frighten David. But it wasn’t so much no doctor at all, rather she did not want to see Dr Frank Hayden, David’s much respected uncle. The reason for this was Frank’s indecent assaults on Indian women. He would abuse his power and trust as a doctor to sexually molest young Indian women. Frank has indecently assaulted Marie before and seeing him again terrified Marie. So she spoke out to Gail. And that opened the proverbial can of worms.

Poor Gail now had the job of convincing Wes, her husband and the town’s sheriff. David overheard the conversation between his parents and what a shock it was to him. As David listened he expected his father to explode but he only said, ‘I wish you wouldn’t have told the sheriff.’ That comment summed up the dilemma Wes now had on his hands. David was getting bewildered by what was happening around him. However the biggest shock was still to come.

Frank Hayden, a doctor, a decorated war hero, his father’s favourite son and cherished figure for David was about to commit the most despicable act a human being can commit, that is murder. That’s right, Frank in order to save face decided to kill Marie so she wouldn’t speak out. He thought he could blame the pneumonia that Marie was suffering from for her death. He might have got away with it. But David accidentally has seen him leaving his house while David was using Len the deputy sheriff’s outhouse. David is shocked by the fact that anyone could do what Frank has done. In frustration and confusion, David is longing for the freedom of going out and discharging his firearm. He shoots an innocent magpie, as he looks at the kill he feels extraordinary mixture of power and sadness, exhilaration and fear. The killing was David’s way of releasing the tensions of the events up to now. He felt that ‘sex and death, lust and violence, desire and degradation are there, deep in even a good heart’s chambers’. This was David’s pivotal experience in understanding adults and realising the concept of evil. Becoming aware that evil is in all of us no matter how good we are or appear to be. The consequence of these events was that Wes, Gail and David had to move out of Bentrock and go to live in Fargo, North Dakota.

The loss of childhood innocence was rather abrupt in David’s case. The raise in awareness of the existence of evil and the associated emotions were perplexing for young David at the time. From the moment of Marie’s reluctance to see a doctor, right up to the time when David left Montana with his parents, confusion seemed to have strong presence in David’s mind. David is the innocent child living the almost perfect existence at the beginning of the book. As the events unfolded, all the people around him helped David to mature, to realise, to become aware and above all to understand just how cruel life can be to any human being and that is the essence of evil.

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The Theme Of Overcoming Prejudice ‘Montana 1948’, ‘Still I Rise’, ‘The Help’ And ‘V For Vendetta’

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

The theme of “overcoming prejudice” is constantly shown throughout the following texts, Still, I rise written by Maya Angelou, Montana 1948 written by Larry Watson, The Help directed by Tate Taylor. The Poem ‘still I rise’ is about how no matter what anyone does to Angelou she will always rises and find inner strength and overcome. As Maya Angelou, she has faced the struggles of racism faced by “Black” people in her time.

The novella of Montana 1948 is a story of a racist town in Montana called Bentrock. About this kid named David and how he saw and experienced racism with people are separated because of different their backgrounds. But David did not overcome it but made him how he is at the end of the book. The film V for Vendetta is about how you can let people discriminate you but can’t take your little ‘inch’ that you have away from you which is shown in Valerie’s torture scene. And finally, the film “The Help” directed by Tate Taylor set in Mississippi 1960’s and is a story of a girl named Eugenia Phelan, who wants to become a writer. In a town where racism is strongly shown, she decides to interview a couple of African American women who were as the help and learns of the violent and racist treatment these African American women face.

In the novella ‘Montana 1948’ the theme of overcoming racism is portrayed through the main character David. Growing up, David has been brought up in a rasium town and family. Where they discriminate the native Americans and is put into an adult situation of his uncle Frank molesting the Native woman nanny named Marie and possibly others. Which caused David to change and his view of life when he is older. David doesn’t become racist, despite his childhood and influences. Throughout the entire novel, David did not speak or thought badly of the Native American people. David thinks of them as people too, although the people around him don’t think so. For example, David says about Frank “… he’s acting as if this is all some kind of joke” David is saying about his Uncle Frank that as if nothing is wrong and it means nothing to him. Frank He has a strong attitude and a good reputation that he has to keep. So no one was going to care or believe that Frank would do such a thing if its true or not, and even if he did sexual things to Native American women, it wouldn’t matter as they are not white but colored, and back then if you were not white you were put down for your color. Frank said if he were gonna go to jail, he would wanna go somewhere else not in Montana but out so he wouldn’t let his reputation go or his friends and family in town down. But he doesn’t believe (neither does the rest of his family believe he should go to jail as its all a big joke and it’s priceless. David, he respected them and saw them as normal people. Despite their families support and yearn for justice towards Marie, they don’t seem to change their view towards Marie and Native Americans. But in this novel Larry Watson showed a different view of how preduject might not always be overcome but you can learn from them, which in David’s case oven thought the racism hasn’t been overcome but David did learn from it and knows more about the subject and learned as you could tell by why and how he/ David views history, as he became a history teacher at the end of the novel.

This theme is of showing that overcoming predigest cannot always be overcome. David had already ‘overcame’ racism and he never let it take over his own life. But instead, let it shape him into who he is at the end of the novel. And how he continues to be interested in the ways that the past continues to affect the present and the way in which cerinte events get left out of the story from the past. He thinks about the truthfulness of history and reflects the lessons he learned in the aftermath of his uncle’s death when they decided to cover up his death and crimes. I

n the poem ‘Still, I rise’ shows the theme of overcoming predigest is shown by Maya Angelou. She portrays this theme through the use of language features. She explains that no matter what happens or what is thrown at Maya Angelou or any colored woman and men, she will always rise. The theme of “Still I Rise” is really about self-respect and confidence. In the poem, she reveals how she will overcome anything with her self-esteem. She shows how nothing can get her down. “Still I rise” is repeated throughout Maya Angelou poem. Of saying that you can throw anything at her, to try put her down, being racist to her, just try your best and yet I still rise. Although others may criticise what you do or who you are, do not give in to their words or hurt. Be proud and embrace your past and future and what you have become. Metaphors and similes are used to portray how a narrators see herself and her relationship with the world.

Still, I rise is a powerful poem about the struggle to overcome prejudice. Her poem becomes an anthem, a peace of hope for those and for the oppression. No matter the circumstances, there is always hope to hold onto. The poem is filled with figurative language and when read through it, it comes off as a short song eg a church song. The message is loud and clear no matter the cruelty or circumstance, the victim will rise up, and overcome. Against oppression, slavery, and racism. Although written with the civil right issues and black slavery in mind, still I rise is universal in its appeal. Any individual could understand the underlying theme eg don’t give into torture, bullying, humiliation, and injustice. Another language device Maya Angelou uses with ‘you’ the speaker choosing particularly active verbs – shoot, cut, kill. To emphasize the aggression. But all the no aail for the oppressed will still rise, this time ‘like air’ an element which you cannot shoot, cut or kill. This links into sociaty by, During the 17th-18th centoery African woman and men were brought over to america, to become there slaves. They were “owned” by the whites and they had to privlage to do whatever they want to the ‘slaves’ as they were ‘differnt’ to the white people. They were over worked, sold for money, killed to pleasuer the white people of america.

This theme of overcoming racism through courage is also shown in the film “The help” directed by Tate Taylor. “The help” is a story set in the 1960’s Mississippi, and is of a girl named Eugenia Phelan. Eugenia is a journalist, wanting to become a writer. She lives in a town where extreme racism was a part of everyday life. The coloured skiend people worked in low jobs while the whites were in higher, better jobs. The storyline of this film is focused on the lives of two black women, Aibileen and Minny, who work as the help in the 1960’s., Eugenia Phelan decides to write a book in the point of view of the help, and learn about the lives of Aibileen and Minny and the rasuim they are put through, because of the colour of their skin. Judgement is made towards them and the coloured skin and this is shown when a comment was made “They (black people) carry different diseases” This shows that the whites are making up things about the coloured skin having unkown/ sicking diseases. This comment also shows that they have very little respect of the coloured and see them as diffenrt, diesesed fulled people. In the society of Mississippi in 1960 and in the mindset of white people, by installing separate bathrooms for each selective race, it shows how racism can lead to division of a single race of humans. However this film shows it’s audience that there is hope that there would come a day where racism is not an issue. This ray of hope is shown by Aibileen’s priest when he states. The film tells in its story line that having courage is to do what is right, is one step forward to overcoming racism and to bring everyone together to becoming one nation.

This film links back to the ‘Jim Crow Laws’ in the last 19 centorys. Where whites discrimnation towards the coloured, where not allowed to be neither, talk or see one onther as they were both to be seen as differnt “animals/ creatures.” The film ‘V for Vendetta” directored by When Evey is being torchered by V, she finds a note/ story hidden in the walls of the cellar. It’s tells about a girl named Valerie and her story throughout her life. And how hard and a struggle she has been through, throughout her journey and finding her love and being discriminated. How she was not accepted ad discriminated by everyone because of who she was, Lesbian. And how Valerie was taken to larkhill due to herself liking the same gender. “I shall die here. Every last inch of me shall perish. Except one. An inch. it’s fragile and it’s the only thing in the world worth having. We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.” Her letter is also a source of hope for V and Evey because in her letter she doesn’t focus on how she hates norsefire, or how she blames them, She writes about her memories of happier days. Of ruth and her lovers and her ope hat there will be better days ahead even if she’s not alive to see them. In a world full of fear and hatred and violence. Valerie acts as an inspiration in that her life may have been reduced to a scape of toilet paper to write on. However she held onto that last inch of integrity. And her last moments were her own. No one, not the government or her upcoming death, could make her anything but what she wanted to be. And nothing could make her impart any other messages for the world but a message of honest love and hope. “An inch-it is small and fragile, and it is the only thing in the world worth having.” She recognizes that her life is more than just fear and survival day to day and hidden from the truth about herself. Her life is worthwhile because of her experiences with suh precious things as honest love against a society that condemns it. Her life can be extinguished at any time, but her impact in a benevolent manner is all that matters. Valeire is saying that they can do whatever the want with her but they can take away that one inch of her is her memories ad that’s what dries her as she knows who she is and has those memories with her forever.

To conclude in these texts above ‘Montana 1948’, ‘Still I Rise’, ‘The Help’ and ‘V for Vendetta’ show the theme that prejudice can or may not be overcome in their different situations. I’ve learned that prejudice can be shown in its way through racism, deviation of the nation and how it’s dealt with can affect someone’s life in any shape or form, by these four texts. And the subject of prejudice/ racism is still very alive in our lives and society, how people around or away from us can be dealing in similar cases as the texts, there is still always a light at the end of the tunnel and in its way will be able to be overcome.

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A Problem Of American Dream in Montana 1948 Novel

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

Growing Pains

Larry Watson demonstrates everything wrong with small-town America in the 1940s with his novel Montana 1948. The post-war, American town of Bentrock falls short of the “American dream” in numerous ways. Larry Watson explores a vast number of these themes throughout the novel Montana 1948.

One of the most largely explored themes is David’s loss of innocence and transition into adulthood. As the novel progresses the reader can see David, the main character and son of Wesley and Gail Hayden, becoming more of a sexual being. David notices Marie Little Soldier, David’s teenage, Indian caretaker, and recognizes her as a person but views her in a sexual way as he notices her more explicit features. The reader might interpret their relationship as puppy love; love and lust a young boy might develop for the first person he view in a sexual, or romantic, manner even if those feelings are not reciprocated. During the course of Montana 1948 David is subjected to many “adult” scenarios. Twelve-year-old David experiences death, for what the reader can infer is the first time, with his caretaker Marie Little Soldier. This shocking experiences confuses David as he notices his family members, such as his father, acting differently. He soon learns Frank, who is the doctor in Bentrock and Wesley’s brother, is accused of raping young, innocent, Indian women. This situation is much more than any normal twelve-year-old would regularly experience. David is forced to look at his uncle, a man that David once looked up to and aspired to be like, in a very dark light as he comes to terms with his actions. Lastly, David witnesses his father, a person who is supposed to be strong and idolized by the son, when he is visibly weak. When Julian, David’s grandfather, hears that Wesley has locked Frank in the basement as a temporary jail he becomes irate. David’s grandparents come to visit and request that Frank be released, and when Wesley denies their request Julian starts verbally assaulting him. Wesley is mentally exhausted when his parents finally leave his home and David goes downstairs to investigate the situation. Watson writes that David “came into the kitchen and saw my mother sitting by the table. My father was on his knees before her, and his head was on her lap. She was rubbing his neck….” (Watson 123). Wesley is visibly weak here. David sees his father in a light that a son generally would not see, or want to see. He realizes in this moment that his father is a person just as he is, and no one is immune to human emotion. This is a key point in growing up; realizing that your parents are simply normal people like you.

Another area Watson explores is the abuse of power in Betrock. In the town of Bentrock the position of Sheriff stays in a close-knit group. To achieve this infamous feat Julian would serve three terms and then hand the position over to his deputy Len McAuley. Julian would eventually retire and hand the position to his son Wesley; once again keeping the position in the Hayden family. Furthermore, to be a Hayden is to be everyone’s business. In the town of Bentrock the Hayden name is is powerful, meaningful, and intimidating. After Julian and his wife’s visit David is informed to not let them into his home, fearing the lengths they may go to in order to free their son Frank. David narrates “I was a Hayden. I knew, from the time I was very young and without having been told, that meant something in Bentrock. Because my grandfather was wealthy and powerful, because my father-like his father before him-enforced the law, because, my uncle treated the sick and injured…people had an opinion about the Haydens”. (Watson 126). This quote explains that the town of Bentrock understood, and respected, the authority of the Haydens. They had the careers, wives, and families that people dreamed of. People envied them, but in a respectful way-so as to never cross them. No doubt Frank understood his power and the respect that his position, as a medical professional, commanded. Times were different in 1948, and if a doctor was needed there was not a large selection to choose from. Numerous ill people called upon Frank, and many received good service with no complaint, but many were not as fortunate. Racism was prevalent in this era and people of different races commanded different levels of respect. In the eyes of Frank Hayden, Indians deserved little to none. As Frank saw sickly Indian girls he would sexually assault and rape them-David’s late caretaker, Marie Little Soldier, being one of them. These grotesque and illegal acts were a clear abuse of power as Frank knew, or so he thought, none of the Indian girls would tell a soul.

Additionally, Watson hones in on the the idea of justice. Justice for the Indian girls is served when Frank kills himself. Frank Hayden’s “rape scandal” took place in Bentrock and the surrounding towns and reservations. When he is eventually caught, and his brother will no longer sit idly by, the reader is led to assume that he is dealing with internal conflict. While Watson fails to truly explore Frank’s character in Montana 1948 the reader is still able to understand his feelings through his actions. Frank is obviously both ashamed and humiliated by his actions, and his way of escaping further embarrassment is taking his own life. Furthermore this action might be thought of as an attempt to preserve the Hayden name. The Hayden family will have justice as, with Frank’s suicide, they no longer have to struggle with deciding what to do. Beforehand the Hayden’s were left with deciding whether to follow the law or let Frank go as Julian wanted. Frank made this decision for them-for better or for worse. Frank escaped his reality so that his family could also escape their own. Ultimately the legal system in the United States in this “post-war” era was clearly lacking. Montana 1948 is a perfect example of the small-town justice system. Watson truly makes this point known with his building of the Hayden family. The family is nearly untouchable and holds most of what little power is in the town of Bentrock. When Wesley first hears of Frank’s crimes he opts to talk with him rather than follow the law and arrest him. This is an example of the crooked justice system of the period. Those holding the power were generally free to pursue wrongdoers how they pleased with little to no checks or balances. This opinion is shared with David by Len McAuley, the town’s deputy sheriff. Len takes a drink of his whiskey and starts to talk with David “‘You know what your granddad said it means to be a peace officer in Montana? He said it means knowing when to look and when to look away.’” (Watson 93). Len makes perfectly clear Julian’s ideals and former methods as Bentrock’s sheriff. Julian expressed these feelings when he urged Wesley to let Frank go, even after being accused of multiple rapes and single murder. This quote proves that the justice system in Bentrock was far from the law, and relied far more on favors and favorites.

Larry Watson’s Montana 1948 explores, and exemplifies, the shortcomings of Bentrock, and America as a whole, in this time period. The reader is able to grasp the concepts of the struggling American government to ensure justice throughout its lands, even in small towns such as Bentrock. Be it the corruption of justice in Bentrock, or a young boy’s loss of innocence, numerous themes are explored and picked apart through the eyes of 52-year-old David. Watson leaves much to be interpreted; as a result, Montana 1948 is a novella that changes with each reader’s perspective.

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Distant and Complex Father-Son Relationship

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the novel Montana 1948, the relationship between David and his father is complex and distant, and leads us to better understand the struggles that they both face, and their development throughout the novel. Their relationship also helps the reader to understand the importance of positive role models for young children, and the conflict between justice and family loyalty, both of which are difficult themes that they face. Though, as the reader we don’t see into Wesley’s thoughts and emotions, (like we do David’s) through their relationship and the manner at which David views his father, we can develop a good understanding of both characters throughout the novel.

Although David and his father love each other, their relationship in the novel is generally tense and distant as they struggle to relate with one another, and fail to recognise the trials that the other faces during Montana 1948. One of the most notable difficulties that impedes on their relationship is Wesley’s profession as a sheriff. Frank’s crimes and Wesley’s inaction to them, drives a wedge into his father-son relationship, as David fails to appreciate the moral dilemmas that come with Wesley’s job, and can’t understand why his father doesn’t enjoy being a sheriff. He expresses his disappointment at the beginning of the novel, “My father was…a sheriff, a position with so much potential for excitement, danger, and bravery, why couldn’t some of that promise be fulfilled?” This puts a strain on their relationship, as not only does Wesley physically and aesthetically fail to compete with David’s opinion of a county sheriff, but also morally he doesn’t either. Wesley’s struggle between family loyalty and the law is one that David doesn’t ever fully appreciate. Though as the novel progresses, he begins to better understand how difficult it was for Wesley to grow up under Julian and Frank, “I suddenly felt sorry for my father… what must it have been like to have a father capable of speaking to you like that?” David never truly understands his father’s struggles. From Wesley’s side of the relationship, his failure to realise that his son knows about Frank’s crimes, also makes it difficult for them to connect. This is one of the main reasons behind their tense relationship, as Wesley is too preoccupied with his job and the choices that he is being forced to make, to notice his son or realise the guidance that David needs. As David struggles to make sense of the adult themes surrounding him, he doesn’t have the aid of his father. Again this makes it difficult for them to be close.

The relationship between David and his father helps the reader to understand the importance of positive male role models for a child’s development, and more importantly the need for a solid father/son relationship. A major theme for this novel is the difficult journey from innocence to adulthood. For David, he struggles through most of this journey alone, without the guidance of his father as he explores unmapped territory such as sexual urges, mortality and suicide. An example of David’s struggle to process all of these new emotions and feelings can be seen in the magpie scene. As he tries to sift through these complexities of adulthood, (by shooting things), he kills a magpie. “I realised that these strange, unthought-of connections – sex and death, lust and violence, desire and degradation – are there, deep in even a good heart’s chambers”. With the recent events that have occurred, he struggles to process them, without the aid of his father, he can’t navigate these new thoughts. As his father is unaware of his sons recent awareness towards sex and death. As a reader we can understand how being left out and his fathers refusal to explain the situation to him leaves him feeling frustrated. The experience also links David’s sexuality to violence at a subconscious level that demonstrates even further his inability to understand these new urges. It also helps us to understand that without his father’s guidance, David is only able to associate his normal sexual attraction, with Frank’s perverse actions, forcing David into seeing sex and himself as evil and discussing. When David is put it in a situation where he is aroused by a girl, he quotes that he felt “At once dizzy and ashamed and sick” with himself. This reinforces the idea that though David is thrust into many situations where he is forced to make adult situations, that he is still just a young boy, and struggling to shift through all of these emotions. He is not only facing the normal difficulties of adolesce, but also very serious themes like rape, murder and suicide. Concluding that David’s journey from innocence to adulthood is problematic, but it is even harder with a lack of positive role models.

Another way that this relationship helps me to understand the characters is through the conflict of family loyalty verses justice, which is the main struggle, that Wesley’s faces during this novel. Though we never see Wesley’s point of view in Montana 1948, we can come to understand him through the eyes of his son David. As David develops in the novel, he comes to better understand the trials that his father faces, and the implications that arresting Frank would have on his family. “Grief…I hadn’t realised until that moment how large a part of my father’s job this was” We come to understand how growing up under power hungry Julian made Wesley quite a weak and pliable man. He spent his life abiding to his father. Even when he is forced to make a decision between justice and family loyalty, he chooses his family. “He could not sufficiently fear, love, trust obey and honour God…because he had nothing left for his Heavenly Father after declaring absolute fealty to his earthly one” At the end of the novel, Wesley interactions with David give us insight into how difficult pursuing justice, had been for Wesley, with the golf ball scene. It shows how even though Wesley knew his brother was a bad man who had done some terrible things, he was still his brother, whom he admired and up loved for most of his life. The relationship between David and his father gives us insight into Wesley’s character and his emotions throughout the novel.

Montana 1948 explores the difficult relationship between Wesley and his son, to help us understand them better and mark their development throughout the novel. Their relationship brings up complex themes such as family loyalty verse justice, and the importance of good role models for children going through difficult times. Through their relationship we gain insight into both characters, their emotions and struggles. Without this, the readers would miss out on important lessons and themes.

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Theme of Work in Montana 1948

July 9, 2019 by Essay Writer

After WWII, many soldiers returned home to a new world. As more and more females joined the workforce, the American identity shifted from a primarily male dominated society to an integrated society between men and women. The burdens of everyday life of females quickly expanded to more than just child care and cooking. In Montana 1948, this notion of work and duty within Bentrock reflects the American society. The ideals of this community demonstrates the powerful change after WWII while also exemplifying the social norms still intact. These norms included race and gender, especially in Bentrock, where a substantial Native American population was present. The idea of work and the meaning of labor reflected the ideals of this society, clarifying its social norms and some of its limitations on social acceptance and advancement.

Work in Bentrock is a form of power and authority over the community. As community leaders of the town, the grandfather and his deputy continue to switch positions as sheriff of the town. “When Grandfather’s term expired, his deputy, Len McAuley, would serve a term; after Len’s term, Grandfather would run again, and this way they kept the office in the proper hands.” This cycle of authority shows the enclosed nature of authority within Mercer County. As an oligarchical type of leadership, the power is only held between two people. Furthermore, the author uses “proper hands” to demonstrate the male presence of power during that time period. Additionally, the grandfather and McAuely take up this labor not to help the community itself, but also to establish their families in positions of power; indeed, within this narrative, work is a sign of honor as well as a sign of purposeful labor.

As a Native American, Ollie Young Bear is a respected member of the Indian community, and his work in many cases illuminates his social position. However, despite his accomplishments, his skin color still dictates his place in society. “Ollie Young Bear was also a war hero… the star pitcher on the Elk’s fast-pitch softball team… (though he probably could not have been admitted to the Elks as a member…” Even though Ollie fought in WWII and played softball, he is still not good enough to become an Elks member. His accomplishments can only get him so far because of the color of his skin. Ollie has a tense relationship with work because despite his best efforts he will never be able to be on the same level as the white men in the community. His work simply puts him at the top of the Native American community, but that community will always be at the bottom of the white community. Additionally, the author writes, “He married Doris Strickland, a white woman… and had two shy, polite children.” Ollie’s status within the community is boosted because he married a white woman. More importantly, the author uses “had” instead of other words such as “raised”. This diction reflects the notion of work because it shows that having children is a job. While hard work does get Ollie to some status, his background still dictates his role in society.

Taking on yet another social message, work in Bentrock exemplifies the changing role of women in society. The mother of the protagonist reflects this type of change. “The sight of my mother loading the shotgun was frightening – yes – but also oddly touching… it reminded me of what she looked like when she once put on a baseball glove and tried to play catch with me. I wanted to rush over to her, to help her, to relieve her of the awful duty she had taken up.” As women continued to stay in the workforce after WWII, a new form of family life was established. This new form of life was, like the mother, frightening and oddly touching. The idea of women in the workforce was frightening because it created a significant type of from male dominance. On the other hand, the emergence of working women gave a new hope for many women who did not want to just stay home and watch the children. Just as the mother’s work in the quotation reflects her internal struggle with this change, it also shows the changing climate of work on a national level. Additionally, the author associates the shotgun with the baseball glove. Baseball and shooting were both typically male dominated sports, but the mother does both. Such work exemplifies the change of heart of the mother and the American people after WWII. The idea of work changed as American society shifted from a white male dominated society.

Work in Bentrock reflects the struggles of the people as well as their ability to combat these struggles. Despite Ollie’s best efforts, his work could not put him into the exclusive Elks club because his work did not determine his status in society. As work continues to change, more social taboos will become norms, such as women and non-whites in the workforce. This notion of work not only reflects the change within Bentrock, but also America as a whole.

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The Underside of Montana 1948: David’s Disillusionment

April 23, 2019 by Essay Writer

The facade of Bentrock, Montana, is the idyllic, but dull, American frontier town. Ordinary people working long hours in the fields each day to provide for their families. To strive for, and eventually live the American Dream, is the essence of what it means to be an American. To have equal opportunity, and to have hard work rewarded, is what all Americans hold in the highest regard. Larry Watson in Montana 1948 explores the post-World War Two era’s disillusionment with the idealized American Dream, and exposes the true meaning of what it means to be an American at the time, through David Hayden’s loss of innocence in the novel. David’s illusion of a perfect American small town is shattered when he realizes that Bentrock, a representation of the post-World War Two American society, has lost sight of the idea of meritocracy, a cornerstone of the American Dream and what it means to be an American. People are supposed to be judged solely by their merit, not by any other distinguishing factor, such as race.

In this small frontier town, these morals of the American Dream should be at their strongest, not subject to racial prejudice and systematic oppression and exclusion of the minority Native American population. David describes one example of the town’s discrimination, “Ollie Young Bear . . . hard work will get you” (3). America is a melting pot of identities, and the Native American minority should not be oppressed to the extent that they are essentially confined to the reservation, restricted of mobility up and down the social and monetary ladder. The only way to move up should not be to give up your culture, like Ollie Young Bear. Bias against Native Americans is unquestioned in Bentrock, and Wesley Hayden is likely not even aware of the casual prejudice against Native Americans that he is exhibiting in this passage. Ollie has done everyone celebrated by white society, becoming a ‘model minority’, and is even wealthy. Yet somehow it is not enough to make up for his race. The important word choice is “could be” versus “should be”. Wesley believes Native Americans to be lazy in general and he only approves of Ollie because he has been assimilated into white culture. Early in the novel, David is blind to this injustice, but by the time of the arrest of Uncle Frank, he finally understands as is horrified. Living the American Dream has suddenly become exclusive. Being an American is supposed to mean that hard work will earn you rewards, and that you will have equal opportunity to do so. Hard work for Ollie does not actually get him anything, only a taste of the respect white men in the society receive.

David spends much of the novel sifting through the images of popular depictions of the American frontier. His fantasies must confront his realities, and he must reconcile these images with the harsh realities of Bentrock. Marie Little Soldier does not reflect the stereotypes of Native Americans found in popular culture. The author points out that the United States has systematically disenfranchised the Native Americans, and held deep-set prejudices against them, and therefore argues that loss of innocence in small town idealism exposes the faults in the post-World War Two era’s idyllic American dream. David is shocked to realize that the American Dream at present is not available to everyone, and he sees new evil in everyone in society. David’s perception of the role of authority in society evolves throughout the novel, and by the time of Uncle Frank’s suicide he realizes that his blind trust in the morality of the status quo has been misplaced. In a small town such as Bentrock, the local authority puts everyone in their proper place, supposedly to ensure an orderly, productive society. Farmers are assumed to do nothing beyond growing their crops and tending to their land. Labor is supposed to be rewarding for the average person. The purpose of authority, which is granted by the common people, is to put everyone in their place and level the playing field, making everyone equal, acting as a sort of Robin Hood. For example, the rich have increased taxes. This is done to make an equality of opportunity for everyone, allowing ordinary people to live the American Dream. Supposedly it is an egalitarian society, but it is in fact an oligarchical one. Instead of everyone equal and content with their lot in life, many people feel beaten-down and oppressed by this grand leveling of society, like the harsh landscape of Montana around them.

Uncle Frank’s suicide would not have happened in an ideal world. Others feel enlightened, superior to the masses, whether because of their wealth or education. David experiences the widespread corruption in Bentrock when he describes, “When Grandfather . . . in the proper hands” (2). Julian Hayden is only paying lip service to the law. He feels a sort of ownership of the office, even though it is an elected office. The sentence structure of many clauses shows the passing of time over many terms as sheriff, and when he retires, he decides who should succeed him, “keeping it in the proper hands”. No other candidates are mentioned. Ordinary people simply cannot imagine anyone else in office, after authority has beaten them down. They had “nothing left over for making trouble” (1). The word ‘expired’ has a connotation of going bad, and the consolidation of power in the sheriff’s office stinks of corruption, which David eventually notices. Like the exclusion of Ollie from the Elk’s club, some members of society feel entitled, a “club” of sorts that is only opens to white males. This directly contradicts the central tenet of the American Dream, and alters David’s perception of the American identity. This system of oligarchy, Watson argues, is backwards and hypocritical to the American dream. Idyllic democracy has been submerged beneath the overpowering hierarchy of small-town relationships. This is something America thought they had left behind two hundred years ago, but it still haunts them.

The coming of age for the narrator is also a coming of age for America in 1948. Ordinary people had experienced firsthand humankind’s new capability for evil and atrocity, the Holocaust and the nuclear bombing of Japan coming to mind. Both America and David are maturing, asking difficult questions about what it means to be an American, and grappling with new and unfamiliar realities. It’s assumed that nothing is happening in Smalltown, USA. But under the facade of white picket fences, evil, prejudice, and corruption exist commonly and without restraint or acknowledgment. Uncle Frank was a hero to David, but now he can only be seen as a murderer. David’s perception of what it means to be an American is altered forever.

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Role Models: The Relationship Between David and Wesley

March 19, 2019 by Essay Writer

In the novel Montana 1948, the relationship between David and his father is complex and distant, and leads us to better understand the struggles that they both face, and their development throughout the novel. Their relationship also helps the reader to understand the importance of positive role models for young children, and the conflict between justice and family loyalty, both of which are difficult themes that they face. Though, as the reader we don’t see into Wesley’s thoughts and emotions, (like we do David’s) through their relationship and the manner at which David views his father, we can develop a good understanding of both characters throughout the novel.

Although David and his father love each other, their relationship in the novel is generally tense and distant as they struggle to relate with one another, and fail to recognise the trials that the other faces during Montana 1948. One of the most notable difficulties that impedes on their relationship is Wesley’s profession as a sheriff. Frank’s crimes and Wesley’s inaction to them, drives a wedge into his father-son relationship, as David fails to appreciate the moral dilemmas that come with Wesley’s job, and can’t understand why his father doesn’t enjoy being a sheriff. He expresses his disappointment at the beginning of the novel, “My father was…a sheriff, a position with so much potential for excitement, danger, and bravery, why couldn’t some of that promise be fulfilled?” This puts a strain on their relationship, as not only does Wesley physically and aesthetically fail to compete with David’s opinion of a county sheriff, but also morally he doesn’t either. Wesley’s struggle between family loyalty and the law is one that David doesn’t ever fully appreciate. Though as the novel progresses, he begins to better understand how difficult it was for Wesley to grow up under Julian and Frank, “I suddenly felt sorry for my father… what must it have been like to have a father capable of speaking to you like that?” David never truly understands his father’s struggles. From Wesley’s side of the relationship, his failure to realise that his son knows about Frank’s crimes, also makes it difficult for them to connect. This is one of the main reasons behind their tense relationship, as Wesley is too preoccupied with his job and the choices that he is being forced to make, to notice his son or realise the guidance that David needs. As David struggles to make sense of the adult themes surrounding him, he doesn’t have the aid of his father. Again this makes it difficult for them to be close.

The relationship between David and his father helps the reader to understand the importance of positive male role models for a child’s development, and more importantly the need for a solid father/son relationship. A major theme for this novel is the difficult journey from innocence to adulthood. For David, he struggles through most of this journey alone, without the guidance of his father as he explores unmapped territory such as sexual urges, mortality and suicide. An example of David’s struggle to process all of these new emotions and feelings can be seen in the magpie scene. As he tries to sift through these complexities of adulthood, (by shooting things), he kills a magpie. “I realised that these strange, unthought-of connections – sex and death, lust and violence, desire and degradation – are there, deep in even a good heart’s chambers”. With the recent events that have occurred, he struggles to process them, without the aid of his father, he can’t navigate these new thoughts. As his father is unaware of his sons recent awareness towards sex and death. As a reader we can understand how being left out and his fathers refusal to explain the situation to him leaves him feeling frustrated. The experience also links David’s sexuality to violence at a subconscious level that demonstrates even further his inability to understand these new urges. It also helps us to understand that without his father’s guidance, David is only able to associate his normal sexual attraction, with Frank’s perverse actions, forcing David into seeing sex and himself as evil and discussing. When David is put it in a situation where he is aroused by a girl, he quotes that he felt “At once dizzy and ashamed and sick” with himself. This reinforces the idea that though David is thrust into many situations where he is forced to make adult situations, that he is still just a young boy, and struggling to shift through all of these emotions. He is not only facing the normal difficulties of adolesce, but also very serious themes like rape, murder and suicide. Concluding that David’s journey from innocence to adulthood is problematic, but it is even harder with a lack of positive role models.

Another way that this relationship helps me to understand the characters is through the conflict of family loyalty verses justice, which is the main struggle, that Wesley’s faces during this novel. Though we never see Wesley’s point of view in Montana 1948, we can come to understand him through the eyes of his son David. As David develops in the novel, he comes to better understand the trials that his father faces, and the implications that arresting Frank would have on his family. “Grief…I hadn’t realised until that moment how large a part of my father’s job this was” We come to understand how growing up under power hungry Julian made Wesley quite a weak and pliable man. He spent his life abiding to his father. Even when he is forced to make a decision between justice and family loyalty, he chooses his family. “He could not sufficiently fear, love, trust obey and honour God…because he had nothing left for his Heavenly Father after declaring absolute fealty to his earthly one” At the end of the novel, Wesley interactions with David give us insight into how difficult pursuing justice, had been for Wesley, with the golf ball scene. It shows how even though Wesley knew his brother was a bad man who had done some terrible things, he was still his brother, whom he admired and up loved for most of his life. The relationship between David and his father gives us insight into Wesley’s character and his emotions throughout the novel.

Montana 1948 explores the difficult relationship between Wesley and his son, to help us understand them better and mark their development throughout the novel. Their relationship brings up complex themes such as family loyalty verse justice, and the importance of good role models for children going through difficult times. Through their relationship we gain insight into both characters, their emotions and struggles. Without this, the readers would miss out on important lessons and themes.

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