Filling in the Blanks of Montana 1948

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Filling in the Blanks of Montana 1948
In Montana 1948 by Larry Watson, David’s father believes that all Indians are “ignorant, lazy, superstitious, and irresponsible,”(22) all qualities that through Jackson’s quest to restore his grandmother’s regalia in What You Pawn I Will Redeem by Sherman Alexie, are proven to be obscured from the truth. Even though the Haydens are so respected in Mercer County, while Native American Jackson Jackson lives a life of homelessness, the kind, generous qualities of Jackson make him a more likeable character than the Hayden family. When these two pieces of literature are compared to each other, it is clear that Jackson Jackson fills in the blanks of Montana 1948 with redemption for the Native Americans that reveals their true character and proves the wrongness of bigotry. When in disbelief of Marie’s accusation of Frank for his sinful reputation, Wes defends his brother saying, “She’s an Indian – why would she tell the truth?” (46). One of the common misconceptions of Native Americans in Montana 1948 is that they can’t be trusted, and in extension, that what they say doesn’t matter. In What You Pawn I Will Redeem, Jackson is faced with the same skepticism when he tells the pawnbroker that the regalia belonged to his grandmother, and the pawnbroker “looked at [him] like [he] was a liar.” (3) However, Jackson is able to prove him wrong with a yellow bead that was hidden beneath the armpit of the regalia. Just like Jackson, Marie’s accusations are proven to be true in Montana 1948, showing that the true intent of Native Americans is often overlooked.

Another false impression of Native Americans by the Haydens relates to their spiritual beliefs and culture. When Frank was asked to treat Marie’s illness, he mockingly said that he’d do a “little dance around the bed,” and “[beat] some drums.” (35) Here, Frank makes fun of their rituals and beliefs, showing his little respect and naïve opinion towards the culture of Native...