Montana 1948 Essay, Research Paper
In the Novel “Montana 1948″ by Larry Watson, there are many points in the book that we find Wes in a situation that requires a decision. The actions and choices that he makes reflect upon him and the story. Things like what gun he carries, when to look away from a crime, and when to turn in your own brother make the reader learn more about him. In turn we percieve him to be the type of person that cannot turn in his own brother and is not the hero that a steriotypical western town should have. This view is changed when close to the end of the novel he makes a decision that qualifies him as a respectable and noble officer of the law.
In the beginning of the book we get a visual picture of Wes from the eyes of his son David. “He wore a shirt and tie, as many of the men in town did, but at least they wore boots and Stetsons; my father brogans and a fedora. He had a gun but he never carried it, on duty or off.” This quote shows us what David thinks of his father. The reader gets the impression that Was is not the stereotypical cop, and probably not one who likes to get into conflict, as we can see by his choice not to carry a sidearm. When David talks about his father, the reader gets an image of a son who loves his father but does not respect him as the Sherrif.
As the book progresses the way we view Wes gets worse. After al lthe drama surrounding Wes’s brother Frank, we learn that Wes is not always the upstanding and noble sherrif. Wes is faced with the decision of charging his brother with sexual assault or turning his head. When Wes chooses to look away at the crimes despite overwhelming evidence and moral values, the view of Wes is smeared into a picture of a coward. He is a coward because he couldnt say no to his father, his brother and to himself. Wes didnt have the courage to stand up for what was right and what he believed in.
Shortly after Wes’s image is shattered, most of the pieces are put back together by the ending of the novel. The pieces are all put back into the image of a honarable sherrif when Wes makes a revolution in his self esteem. When Frank is the main suspect for the murder of Marie, Wes interogates Frank and finds out the truth. The truth of his brother being a murderer must have been overwhelming emotionaly, but when he was faced with having to put his brother to jail, the emotions must have been running higher than I could ever imagine. His decision was the right one, Wes’s decision to finally convict Frank with sexual assault, even though hard, was the one that Wes had to make. Unfortuneatly he didnt have the evidence for murder charges, but the decision Wes made revives what the reader thinks of Wes as a person. It turns Wes into a noble man, who does what is right.
In this novel Wes was confronted with many challenging and difficult choices. Wes is a decent man because of his actions. He cant be called a honorable person, or a brave person. He made mistakes in the beggingin, like any person could do. And the mistakes he makes were under overwhelming circumstances. Its hard to go agaisnt family and friends, but Wes held back too long. His choice not to turn his brother in in the first place was a mistake. The sexual assault of one person is enough to go to jail, but Frank was known for sexually assaulting many women, this was even more cause for alarm. Wes’s hesitance lead to the death of Marie. He made a mistake that he cant be blamed for because he didnt know and that doesnt make him less than a decent person.