L. Watson, Montana, 1948: Pre-reading Questions



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L. Watson, Montana, 1948: Pre-reading Questions
Those questions are designed to focus your reading of the novel and to get you thinking about your final essay about this text, even before you start reading.

You will be given additional handouts to help the discussions and to move you toward a thesis/argument and evidence (specific examples/ good quotes) for your final essay.

It’s helpful to start formulating questions, opinions, hypotheses as you read along.

The worksheets are HW assignments. We will also refer to them in our class discussions.


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  1. Read the back of the book. Study the cover. What do you think this book is likely to be about?



  1. Take a few minutes to look through the book. Look at how long the chapters are, as well as parts 1-3. Skim a few paragraphs. How challenging would you predict the reading of this book will be, compared to our other texts? What specifically might make this novel easy or difficult to read?

Look at the reading/discussion schedule. Be sure to budget enough time to read the assigned pages.



  1. Have you read a similar book in English? (similar in topic, length, style, time

period, themes/issues?)



  1. What are some of the larger themes/issues you think are likely to emerge in this

book? Check out the useful links attached. They may provide some context (background information) for understanding the novel. What information did you find most interesting based on this quick research?



  1. Based on your overview of the text and your quick research into the context, write

questions about things you would like to know about the author, this novel, or this

historical context. Write at least two questions here:



  1. At this early stage in your reading process, what can you assume or predict about

this novel? Write at least three assumptions/predictions/hypotheses about either its content or its style:
Montana 1948
Useful Literary Terms and Usage Notes
Point of view/Perspective (first-person point of view)

Dialogue


Foreshadowing

Flashback

Digression

Plot


Setting

Characters

*Characteristics

The protagonist

Major/minor characters

The narrator

The author

THEMES
Start your list here and add more as we discuss the novel.

Montana 1948

Part Two (pp.47- 93)


  1. Is there anything in these pages that you do not understand well? (For example, vocabulary, sentence structure, historical/cultural references, confusing information).


  1. Do you notice any images or symbols in this section? If so, what large themes

or issues might these images or symbols represent?


  1. How would you describe Grandpa Hayden’s character? What words/details

stand out in the narrator’s description? (Note page numbers)

Pick another character to analyze in the same way.




  1. How would you describe Grandpa Hayden’s house? What words/details stand

out in the narrator’s description? (Note page numbers.) Does the house reflect

anything about Grandpa, David, or about themes/issues in the novel?





  1. Write at least two discussion questions that are focused on the text.




  1. Write at least two hypotheses (possible arguments) about the content/style of

the novel so far. Try to write one of them as a potential thesis statement about a theme we identified. Pretend that you must write a paper about this novel tonight – what argument could you make so far? Could the hypothesis be a possible answer to the questions you wrote in #5?

WR097 Montana 1948



Do you see any promising ideas for an analytical essay about the novel? Do you see potential arguments for thesis or evidence to support arguments? Do you disagree with anything here? Do you strongly agree with anything here?
Any grammar/word usage errors that should be corrected?

Part One

How author got to be interested in Native American’s problem?

How real is this story? Is the novel based on reality?

Why Montana? Why 1948? What happened during that time? What is, historically, the role of Indians in Montana?

Is the father’s choice correct as a sheriff? What about as a father?

What is the life on a small town like?

What make the issue in the book so “hopelessly complex”?


Part Two

Everyone, including Frank’s father and wife, knows Frank’s crimes, but why no one says anything?

What kind of effect did the author expected by telling the story through twelve-

year-old David?


Do you think Grandpa raise his children the right way?

Is Wesley Hayden’s position in justice affected only by his knowledge about law, as he went to law school?

What did Marie’s and Frank’s deaths mean: justice, truth, or regret?

Analyze as potential thesis statements:

1. Watson’s style is simple and vivid. And, this writing style helps us understand

the novel’s content easily.

2. Morality is influenced by many factors.

3. Life experience influences moral choice.

4. Honesty and love are the only way to connect family members.

5. Overprotection does not mean love.

6. This novel is about David’s growing up. He is taught about both good and dark sides of human nature.

7. In the novel, David does not fully understand the relationship between adults, especially his father, Frank, and Grandpa Hayden.

8. Because David, who is only twelve years old, is directing the readers through the story, there lies a possibility of some unseen facts or misunderstanding and bias.

9. David’s grandfather affects his family deeply.

10. The overpowering character of Grandpa Hayden contributed in building the characteristics of both sons.

11. People’s reactions to the moral dilemma are different in the small town.

12. Native Americans are judged as less important people by whites.

13. The novel is about loss of innocence.

Montana 1948 Discussion Questions
Any grammar/word usage errors that should be corrected?

Part One
How author got to be interested in Native American’s problem?

How real is this story? Is the novel based on reality?

Why Montana? Why 1948? What happened during that time? What is, historically, the role of Indians in Montana?

Is the father’s role correct as a sheriff? What about as a father?

What is the life on a small town like?

What make the issue in the book so “hopelessly complex”?



Part Two
Everyone, including Frank’s father and wife, knows Frank’s crimes, but why no one says anything?

What kind of effect did the author expected by telling the story through twelve-

year-old David?
Do you think Grandpa raise his children the right way?

Is Wesley Hayden’s position in justice affected only by his knowledge about law, as he went to law school?



What did Marie’s and Frank’s deaths mean: justice, truth, or regret?


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