Growing into Adulthood During Tragic Events in Montana 1948
The narrator of Montana 1948, David Hayden, recounts tragic set of events of summer 1948. These events compel David’s journey from innocence to experience. ‘From the summer of my twelfth year I carry a series of images more vivid and lasting than any others of my boyhood and indelible beyond all attempts the years make to erase or fade them’, through these order of events this allows the audience to understand David’s twelve-year-old perspective of Montana. David’s journey is about adolescence and enlightening to maturity. He realises the adult world has complex realities and is not always civil. At the age of 12, David discovers his beloved Uncle Frank murdered his babysitter Marie and sexually assaults his Native Indian women patients. Moral conflict arises when David overhears his mother’s conversation with his father, ‘Wesley, your brother is raping these women. These girls. These Indian girls’. However, Wesley thinks differently, ‘She’s an Indian- why would she tell the truth?’, this passage amplifies how racist Wesley is towards Native Indians. After overhearing his parents conversation this traumatises David, he states ‘I flinched as a part of me said leave, get away, run, now before it’s too late, before you hear something you can’t hear’, this destructs he’s innocence. He recognises the prejudice in his father and how he classifies Native Indians to lower class. David’s perspective of Uncle Frank has also changed, he is now a ‘criminal’.
As the novel progresses, David matures and learns to deal with this situation. The immoral actions of Uncle Franks’ behaviour has affected the Hayden name. David’s perspective of how the public view the ‘Hayden’ family is ‘not of power, wealth [or] rule of law’ but of ‘perversion, scandal family decision, and decay’. His virtue changes, as he discovers shocking facts of Montana’s secrets on pg. 128. ‘The curtain stuck tight to the screen as if the wind was in the house blowing out’, this means secrets have been released and David soon realises the ‘citizens in Montana tolerated all kinds of behaviour’. He finally realises things won’t ever be the same again and change is inevitable. These traumatic experiences help David grow into sense of morals and adulthood.
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