Growing up in Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
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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