Books and Movies Reviews

montana 1948

QUESTION 1: "'In Montana 1948' the Indians become the good guys, and the cowboys become the villains". Discuss.
In the novel Montana 1948, David Hayden remembers the events from his twelfth summer that changed his view of his family forever. It was the summer he was coming of age, from a young twelve year old boy, playing in the backyard and fishing with his friends, to realizing the reality of racismtowards Native Americans, by these so called'cowboys', the big, white, superior,self important heroes.
Summer, 1948, in Montana, was the beginning of a new era.
Julian, Frank and by implication, other members of the community, predominantly white, not Native American, all believed they were the cowboys of the county, and to some extent, they were. But this perspective of how life operated was the past, not the future.
They lived every day of their life, acting like the macho men they thought they were, especially the retired sheriff,Julian Hayden, who'smokes, drinks, curses, carries a gun, and lets no one stand in his way'. In his mind he thinks that he owns the Mercer County.
Yet in the novel, he nearly ends up as much of a villain as his son Frank.
His abuse of power, his disregard for the rights of the powerless (The Native Americans), and his shameless attempts to manipulate his other son Wes, to think that the cowboy attitude was the way to live, all amount to a serious undercutting of the traditional hero image.
This is what the novel is all about, it is not the usual made up staunch man western novel or video, it is a real picture of life in Montana 1948, portrayed through the eyes of a twelve year old boy.
Indians were not the bad guys, in which the racist white community saw them to be, realistically, they were just normal people going about their lives in an ordinary manner.


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