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Essay editing- Montana 1948(English essay)
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
March 24, 2012
8:52 am
Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
March 23, 2012
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I am having trouble making the second paragraph flow.


Task 4: written Production

Question 7: Point of view is a powerful device used in positioning the reader. Discuss with reference to one or more works of fiction.

The novel Montana 1948, by Larry Watson tells the story of the struggles of a family torn between loyalty and justice. Ideas about racism and identity are explored in the novel through the use of point of view. Point of view is the mental positioning from which a story is observed or narrated and in Montana Watson has chosen to write in first person through the eyes of a 52 year old man telling of events which happened 40 years before. The complexity of the point of view adds depth to the story and encourages the reader to think about how different point of views can change the perception of a story.

The point of view has complicated the way in which we interpret different characters. An example of this is the way David influences my views on Wesley and Frank. He used distinct phrases to position my view on Wesley such as when he says “My father didn’t fit my idea of what he should be in his occupation”. Disappointment can be felt when reading the phrase “didn’t fit my idea” and this positions me to feel pity for Wesley. This pity which I felt forced me to like his character more than Uncle Franks. We are also persuaded to like Marie more than Frank. Watson does this my introducing Marie before Frank and making David view on her very memorable. “ And I love her” was the most unforgettable quote David Says about Marie. Watson has used David’s love for Marie to propagandise the reader to believe everything she says. After we are positioned to love Marie, Frank is introduced into the story in a very distressing situation. “If you’re not feeling better we’ll give Dr. Hayden a call” “ NO! I don’t need a doctor”. The way in which Frank has been bought into the story has forced me to dislike the character. I had already been deliberately been given a positive view on Marie and this has made me conclude that Frank is not a normal doctor rather than Marie being Psychotic. The reason why I think the previous is likely because we are only given David’s memories of Frank. This also suggests that we don’t know the full story and only know what David has told us.  


David’s memories of the events consist mainly of conversations between his parents and other involved adults. Just by thinking about this I have come to the conclusion that the events could be misinterpreted or misheard by David as a twelve year old boy. Watson has chosen to leave out certain conversations so he can manipulate the reader into believing that David knows the whole story. “For a moment I thought about changing my station…. the conversation in the living room promised to be more revealing”. David doesn’t know what could have been revealed in the other conversation but he has convinced himself and the majority of the audience that the conversation in the living room is more important. Watson has used point of view to make the reader disregard the other conversation and assume the living room conversation to be the most revealing. Similar situations occur in other sections of the novel. David begins to make suggestions about what “could” have happened rather than what actually happened. “Uncle Frank might have been doing exactly what I was doing”. This quote made me rethink what I thought of David’s telling of events. David might have added other “suggestions” into the book without confirming them. Since the only point of view we are given is David’s we are positioned to believe all of what he has to say.

Through point of view Watson has expressed ideas about Racism in Montana in 1948. He has given us a few different views on racism. By giving David a positive view on Indians Watson has persuaded the reader to dislike any character with opposing views. “Liked Ronnie? I worshipped him”. The idea of David looking up to an Indian as a role model and not showing racism positions the reader not only like David but have respect for Indians as well. The character of Julian Hayden has racist views on Indians, so as a reader we tend to dislike his character. “What the hell am I supposed to think? Screwing an Indian”. Julian’s old western values and attitudes give the impression that he believes he is superior to Indians and has no remorse for Frank’s actions. Due to Julian’s way of thinking he gains a dislike from the reader. Watson wants the reader to dislike Julian and what he represents

The Identity of the Haydens is expressed through the use of point of view. What David tells us about the Haydens creates an identity for them. ‘’ I was a Hayden” David identifies himself as being a Hayden but after the events he doesn’t want to be associated with being one. Through David we are given a very negative view on the Hayden Identity. “Then being a Hayden would mean having an identity I didn’t want but could do nothing to disown or deny.” This gives a bad impression of the Hayden’s. We are positioned to believe If a member of the family doesn’t want to be a Hayden then there must be a good reason to not want to be one. I also get the impression that the Hayden identity is based on lies. Most of the men in the family don’t obey the laws of which they apply to others. Frank really shouldn’t be considered a “war hero” and wouldn’t be if the community knew the criminal acts he committed.

David’s View on Frank’s begins positively “But Frank was all this and more” and ends negatively “How could she act normal when she is married to uncle frank? How could she not know?” Throughout the novel the reader is never meant to like Frank and the reason for this is that David doesn’t like Frank himself. He may see Frank as a role model but also dislikes Frank for being thought of as superior to his father. The quote ‘’ I’d like to bring my son up hear” is evidence of this. David’s grandfather speaks as if he only has one son. This brings up the subject of sibling rivalry and even as grown men it still affects the Hayden Family. David dislikes Frank for being seen as a stronger man then his father and we despise of Frank for being seen as superior to a character we have been positioned to like. Wesley deals with this brotherly conflict by resorting to picking up paper instead of listening to his brother’s speech. Due to Wesley’s actions we see him as weak and unimportant in the family. The picking of the paper symbolises his irrelevance.

Larry Watson Has successfully positioned the reader to believe all of what David says. He has manipulated us by using a complex point of view not to see plot holes in the story. We are not given any alternative point of views so we have to believe all of what is told to allow the story to be enjoyable and simple. The story is not meant to be simple and if you are able to read the story and pick up on certain conventions used in the text the story becomes more and more complex. A good novel has a good plot but an excellent novel has more. An excellent novel is able to position the reader to see the characters in a particular way. 

March 24, 2012
10:29 am

Hello Yoshirama

OK, I'm now completely out of my depth here. I don't do literature. I read it, but don't analyze it.

I suggest you wander on over to the very nice people in http://www.essayforum.com and post in their term paper or essay section. It's designed mainly for native speakers or people already in college. You will get feedback from other students who will have read the same paper or who have been asked similar questions. It's an amazing website with moderators who work 48 hours a day (and they have a great IELTS section too, although I probably shouldn't mention that here).

Having said that...

I see what you mean by flow in Paragraph 2. For me there are just too many characters. In one short paragraph, you have given us Frank, Marie, David, Wesley, Dr Hayden, Uncle Frank, and Watson. In addition, we have the personae of the author and the reader, and the device of point of view. Plus we have your voice, as one reader - a voice that may be totally different to mine or someone else's. That is just waaaaaaaaaaay too many people for me to absorb in one paragraph. It's like one of those Russian novels where you have to read the entire genealogy first and three different names for each character BEFORE you read the story.

I'd suggest (your teacher will probably run screaming out of the room) splitting this paragraph up into several shorter paragraphs, each focusing on one character or one use of point of view. Be more academic: "Watson uses...", "Watson introduces...", "In portraying Marie as X, Watson forces us to...",

Be careful with your voice. In Paragraph 1 there is no Yoshirama - there is no "I", no "in my opinion", no "I felt", etc. Suddenly she pops up all over the place in Paragraph 2, AND she brings a friend or two: "We" appears. It's quite a party.

So I'm going to hand you over the experts in essayforum.com, but I would just recommend the old guidelines of having one central idea for each paragraph (perhaps Marie, perhaps Frank, perhaps Watson's use of X or Y) and of having shorter paragraphs.

March 24, 2012
4:52 pm
Forum Posts: 5
Member Since:
March 23, 2012
sp_UserOfflineSmall Offline

The changing of English teachers has really confused me, they like different things, Lats year my teacher liked short paragraphs and the open this year like long. I get so confused. I might just split the second paragraph into 2, One comparing Frank and Wesley and one Frank and Marie. 


p.s Frank , uncle frank and Dr Hayden are the same character, Dr. Hayden was in the quote so should I change all of them to Dr. Hayden? 

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