Montana 1948 Novel Essay on Growing Up

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David’s childish and idealistic view of Montana and the adults who inhabit it are stripped away by the events of Montana, 1948. Discuss. The novel Montana 1948, by Larry Watson, is about the tragic story of the protagonist, David Hayden, a young boy aged 12. David Hayden’s life changes in several ways, both good and bad. The novel is written from the point of view of David, the son of the Mercer County’s Sheriff, Wesley Hayden and features many events which are indelible from his memory. Young David Hayden has a traumatic experience. He discovers that his uncle has been sexually assaulting Native American women in his town. This is hard to believe for a 12 year old boy, especially since it reveals that his dearly loved Uncle Frank has turned out to be a bad guy. Frank, Wes’ brother and David’s uncle, has a great influence on David’s growing up. Frank shows his great bravery and successfulness and this makes David “envy” his uncle Frank. Uncle Frank used to be David’s idol and David adored him. However, David changes his mind about Uncle Frank through the traumatic experiences regarding the discovery of Frank’s secret actions. The innocence of his childhood is shattered by the knowledge that his uncle exploited his position as a doctor to assault Indian women. After the truth about Frank and what he did to his patients, David didn’t like being alone with him. He started to “think of uncle Frank as a criminal”. After hearing the accusations against Frank, he laments the fact that “charming, affable Uncle Frank was gone for good”. When it comes to the most important point at issue, David cannot betray Marie and cannot lie about Frank’s visit. When Frank kills Marie, David becomes a witness. He notifies his father that shortly before Marie’s death, Frank had visited her. This proved that David has fully lost trust in his Uncle Frank, the uncle he used to treat

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