Montana 1948 - Text Response

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"In standing up for justice, Wes Hayden, more than any other character in the novel, pays the highest price. Discuss." Justice is defined as conformity to moral rightness in action or attitude. Throughout the novel “Montana 1948”, written by Larry Watson, themes such as truth, loyalty and most prominently justice are explored. It can be argued that throughout the novel Wesley Hayden, Sheriff of the Bentrock, pays the highest price in standing up for justice, when in reality most characters in the novel are forced to pay a high price when justice is served, with each character “paying their price” in different ways, effecting characters emotionally, physically and/or mentally. The Indian’s of Bentrock were deemed inferior among the community, and therefore their concerns were ignored by the superior white society in Bentrock. Most members of the community held the Indians in low regard, especially Frank Hayden who exploited the Indian women sexually. He abused his authority as a doctor by using his job to get closer to these women. These Indian women were hesitant to expose Frank because the white people of Bentrock were ignorant of the opinion’s of an indian, this is supported when David says ‘I knew what he was thinking; she’s an Indian – why would she tell the truth?’. It was not until Marie Little Soldier refused to be examined by him and spoke up by saying something to Gail Hayden that the true nature of Frank was revealed. It was this courage that Marie displayed that allowed justice to be served. Although she lost her life because of it, she was a huge part of the reason he was stopped from molesting any more of his patients. From the beginning Wesley Hayden has the odds stacked against him, he is introduced as a weak and oblivious character, who lived under the shadow of his brother Frank and felt the pressure put on him by his overpowering father.
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