authorial intent - Montana 1948 Essay example

1007 Words Mar 19th, 2014 5 Pages
Discuss the themes and authorial intent of Larry Watson in writing Montana 1948

In the novel, Montana 1948, written by Larry Watson, a story of a young boy named David and the events of a cataclysmic summer holidays are recounted. Set in the heart of North America in the 19th century, when Native Americans were considered B class citizens and persecution was inevitable ever since the Europeans first arrived on the continent. David matures in a short span throughout the text from naivety to maturity as a result of the series of horrendous events he experiences. The murder and sexual assault of Marie Little Soldier evokes a case in which Wes, David’s father and sheriff of the county must re-moralise his choices as his brother Frank is to
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Wes realises that Frank’s crimes outweigh the reasons to stay loyal to his brother. The seriousness of Wes’s tone when he decides to arrest his brother proves to the readers what Watson is saying, moral choices are not something to be played with. Furthermore, that there are a lot of attributing factors to someone making the ‘right’ decision and what is right in the mind of one may also be wrong or immoral in the mind of another.

Directly linked to this is the theme justice. Justice to the powerful system that Wes works in, the law. As sheriff of Bentrock County, Wes has a responsibility to punish those who commit unlawful crimes. Julian, Wes’s father treats Frank’s crimes as a joke and David notices this ‘Now he’s got himself a good looking white woman for a wife… that better keep him off the reservation’. Julian treats Frank’s occurrences lightly and this disgusts not only David but the rest of the family. Justice would tell Wes that Frank’s actions deserved punishment in return, without Justice Frank would not stop ‘That’s not the way it works. You know that sins – crimes, are not supposed to go unpunished.’ Around this time however, America was quite an unjust place to live in. The Sioux were treated as a lower class to the white Americans and their opinion was not respected. Therefore the

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