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Point Of View Is A Powerful Device Used To Position The Reader And To Establish Characterisation In "Montana 1948" By Larry Watson

1264 words - 5 pages

The establishing of characters and the positioning of a reader to respond to the characters and the issues presented is greatly influence by a certain point of view. "Montana 1948" by Larry Watson employs the use of a first person point of view to successfully establish the characters and shape the readers' response towards the individual characters and issues within the novel. Through the use of both the naive 12 year old and the intrusions of 52 year old David Hayden, Montana 1948 purports to reconstruct the events of summer in 1948. During this summer, David finds out that the adult world is very complex and not always fair or righteous to anyone. Through finding out that his uncle, Frank Hayden has been misusing his position of trust and power as a doctor, David's point of view positions the reader to respond in a particular way towards the characters and also to the issues presented which include loyalty, justice, racism, misuse of power, prejudice, rape, and suicide. Throughout the text, David's point of view not only effectively establishes the characters but the use of both the child and adult David's point of view also shapes the readers' response towards the presented characters and issues.The intertwining of the child and the adult David's point of view, effectively establishes one of the main characters, Wesley Hayden. Wesley, who is David's father, is a very intelligent, serious, introverted, tolerant and sensitive man. The first insight of Wesley that the reader gets in Montana 1948 is of the naïve David's disappointment at the lack of excitement, danger and bravery in Wesley's role as sheriff, "And that disappointed me at the time. As long as my father was going to be sheriff... why couldn't some of that promise be fulfilled?" David later presents Wesley to the reader as a very dependable, ethical and loyal man. The reader is then positioned to sympathize with Wesley not because of his permanent leg affliction but because of the naïve David's harsh and cruel comments about Wesley's inability to provide a masculine role in his life. Through Wesley trying his best to uphold the law and arrest his brother Frank for the rape of numerous American Indian women and the murder of Marie Little Soldier, David begins to realize that his father may be physically weak, but he is morally strong. The tough battle that Wesley faces in having to choose whether to uphold justice or stay loyal to his family allows David to position the reader to now view Wesley as a morally right and strong man who is a shining example to the local residents. Through the battle between loyalty and justice the reader is positioned to view upholding justice as the most important thing that a human being should do. The importance of David's eavesdropping is highlighted in the fact that if David did not eavesdrop, the reader would have continued perceiving Wesley as a weak man, and would not find out that Wesley is really a good man.In the first part of Montana...

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