Essay on Family and Mother

Submitted By Marotta1
Words: 908
Pages: 4

Society placed high importance and many expectations on behavior at home, as well as in the public, back in the late 1940's and early 1950's (Coob). In the book Montana 1948 by Larry Watson, David, the main character, talks about the roles of his mother and father in the community, as well as the home. Certain things in the story depict real life back in the 1940's. David's mom works, something women typically did not do. Women were supposed to fulfill certain roles, such as a caring mother, a diligent homemaker, and an obedient wife. The perfect mother was supposed to stay home and nurture, so society would accept them (Coob). The time of World War II brought change to genders. Since men went off to war, woman, were needed to replace the men in the work place (Goodwin). The way the book portrays the roles of men and women depicts the reality of how life most likely was in that day in age. Ever since then, the role of woman has changed. Women have both a dominant and dominated role in the book. Gail is a very independent woman who says what she feels, the grandma is extremely quiet, and David's dad is both the man of the house yet, takes orders from his wife, the grandpa on the other hand does not take orders from his wife. The gender roles in this book are very contradicting. First, Gail is a very independent and bold woman. She knows her rights as a woman in society and opts to change the stereotype of women. Throughout the story there are references to things that back in the 1940's people would not see as a normal role of a woman. “How naive I was! Until that moment I believed that we had hired Marie to care for our house, to keep it clean and prepare the meals since my mother, unlike most mothers, worked all day outside our home” (Watson 33). This proves that most women in this time did not work outside of the home. In the prologue of Montana 1948 the narrator also talks of an image he remembers of his mother, holding his father's twelve gauge shotgun. Something a woman does not typically do,“Mother holds my father's Ithaca twelve-gauge shotgun, and since she is a small, slender woman, she has trouble finding the balance point of it's heavy length" (Watson 11). This shows Gail's strength as a woman living in Montana. David knows his mother has a lot of power in the household even though his father is sheriff of Mercer County. In the Hayden household the mother is the speaker and what she says goes. She seems like a powerful woman especially if her word can go against the sheriff's own brother. "Frank looked at my father. If my mother said it, it was so, yet my father's confirmation was still necessary” (Watson 43). David talks about the dominance his mother, Gail, has in the household. She plays the role of a father in that aspect. Most woman could not speak their mind and take control like she does. Second, although Gail is a powerful and bold woman, David's grandmother, Enid, is not. She is a quiet and kept to herself kind of character. In their household the grandpa, Julian, seems to be the more dominant one. Enid seems like the typical American housewife who cooks, cleans and does everything for her husband. She has no say in anything that goes on in or outside the home. David talks about his…