Montana 1948 Essay

803 Words Mar 2nd, 2011 4 Pages

TOPIC 2: Racism is the perception the colour of one’s skin determines how they can live. Indian are mistreated and misunderstood in the novel Montana 1948? Discuss

In Larry Watson’s Montana 1948, Indians are misunderstood and wrongly judged.
The main theme in Montana is racism and how strongly it played its part in society back in 1948
The book is based on twelve year old David Hayden’s memories of the events of his life in Montana. David is the son of Wesley Hayden, town sheriff and Gail Hayden. When the Hayden’s Indian housekeeper Marie Little Solider falls severely ill, Gail and Wesley suggest calling Wesley’s brother Frank, their close family member and local doctor. When Marie hears this she falls
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So instead of taking responsibility and arresting his brother, he tried to turn the situation on Marie. Wesley acts surprised that Gail believes Marie’s accusation of Frank.
“She’s Indian. - Why would she tell the truth?” He asks her on page 46. Wesley then goes on about the fact that maybe Marie thought she was being abused, but because she’s never been to a doctor before simply got confused. This was a pathetic excuse made by Wesley. He is talking about the Indian women like they are stupid animals. They are human; of course they will know when a doctor is being inappropriate. The worst thing of all is that deep down Wesley Hayden knew his brother was guilty, but he just couldn’t face the facts and take charge.

The main message portrayed in Montana 1948 is how excluded Indians where back in those years. In the book Frank Hayden was raping these girls just to prove to them how little society actually cared. He was confident that he could go on committing these crimes without anybody speaking up. The facts are that people in Montana knew, or at least suspected that Frank was abusing his patients. When the town deputy’s wife Daisy and Gail discussed Marie’s accusations, Daisy revealed she has heard rumours about it happening. This shows that word was going around but no one was willing to stand up for the Indians or investigate. Nobody said a word. The events of this book prove just how racist white people were.

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